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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tecnologías en escena: Del teatro multimedia al teatro cibernetico

  • Author(s): Villegas-Silva, Claudia
  • Advisor(s): Cortinez, Veronica
  • et al.

"Staged Technologies: From Multimedia Theatre to Cybernetic Theatre in Spain and the Americas" explores the use of new technologies in theatre today and how they are incorporated in Latin American, Spanish and U.S. Latino Theatre productions from 1985-2008. From the wide spectrum of possibilities the dissertation privileges multimedia and cybernetic theatrical practices. The study is based on the analysis of twenty-one theatrical productions from Spain, Chile and U.S. Latinos' within their national as well as international theatrical and historical context. The pieces include staged productions by well-known theatrical groups, new avant-garde groups, street theatre and a religious festival. The aim of this diversity is to demonstrate that multimedia and cybernetic theatrical practices are transnational and transcultural. In this study the main topic of discussion is the use of multimedia and digital techniques as a means of theatrical and performative communication. It also sheds light on the relationship between theatre production and economic trends such as postmodernism, neoliberalism and globalization.

The corpus of study is a multitude of very diverse theatrical forms and expressions. As is common in theatre, Latin American, Spanish and U.S. Latino playwrights search for new aesthetics and avant-garde means by which to communicate with a very large community and multicultural society. The assumption of this research is that the performances with emphasis on technologies coexist with a diversity of theatrical trends and developed parallel to other more canonical theatrical discourses. Yet much of the mode of theatrical communication and techniques by theatre groups today has appropriated a cyber-cultural means of communication.

I argue that these trends in contemporary theatre transcends national boundaries and implements transnational and multimedia codes to reach today's spectator, one whose visual competence is strongly influenced by contemporary visual cultures, cinema, modern art, television, marketing, mass media, digital and cyber-culture. The new technologies allow the contemporary playwright new modes of representation and to include new cultural and social spaces such as women, gay, lesbian, marginal individuals and marginal social groups. The approach I use integrates cultural studies, semiotics of theatre, discourses theories, performance, film and visual studies. In spite of critics who question multimedia, cybernetic and internet theatre, I propose that playwrights have adapted to the new technologies in order to represent singular world visions and social imaginaries. Multimedia, virtual, cyber and internet theatres are the contemporary versions of a long tradition of the interrelationship between technologies and theatre.

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