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Diegetic theatre as a ‘place’ for the theatricalised spectator

Turner, Jane C. (2011) Diegetic theatre as a ‘place’ for the theatricalised spectator. ISSN 1751-0171


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This article explores two theatre events that are considered here as examples of diegetic theatre. The two events, Iris Brunette (2009) by Melanie Wilson and Whisper (2008) by Proto-type Theatre have been selected as they both use narration as a strategy to create an „immersive‟ theatre experience, specifically second person narrative. They are positioned here as examples of diegetic as opposed to mimetic theatre. The „immersive‟ experience is achieved by offering the spectator a position of participant observer, a position whereby the spectator is positioned physically inside the fictional matrix as an active participant as well as critically outside the theatrical event as an active observer. This immersive „place‟ might have the potential to create a sense of interplay and connectedness between spectators and performers that resonates experientially for the spectator, but also has the effect of opening up a critical space where the spectator can evaluate the fictional world and „characters‟ encountered. The article will initially draw on ideas derived from Kristeva, as well as Lehmann and Pavis, to contextualise the theatre events whilst also engaging with ideas drawn from narratology.

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