Hypermediacy and credibility in documentary theatre: The craft of make-believe in Théâtre du Soleil’s Le Dernier Caravansérail (2005)
Author: HAZOU, RAND T.
Source: Studies in Theatre & Performance, Volume 31, Number 3, October 2011 , pp. 293-304(12)
Abstract:This article examines the potential role that media technology can play in the presentation of documentary material onstage. Using Théâtre du Soleil’s Le Dernier Caravansérail/The Last Caravanserai (2005) as a case study, this article focuses on the ‘intermediality’ of the production and on the various media and digital technologies that are used in performance to both mediate and mediatize the accounts of asylum seekers that are transposed to the stage. By situating Le Dernier Caravansérail as an ‘intermedial’ performance, I am hoping to open up an interdisciplinary framework that draws on concepts from media studies and communication theory in order to provide a more nuanced discussion and analysis. Two concepts emerging from these fields that I focus on are the notions of ‘hypermediacy’ and ‘credibility’. Focusing on Théâtre du Soleil’s anti-realist aesthetic, I argue that the digital technologies used in the production not only work to highlight the artifice of the theatrical event by foregrounding the production’s own processes of representation and mediation, but they can also procure ‘hypermedial’ effects of propinquity and engagement. While ‘credibility’ has been theorized in the fields of media studies and communications for more than 50 years, it remains a particularly neglected concept in the fields of performance and theatre studies. Discussing credibility as a combination of trustworthiness and expertise, I argue that by engendering hypermediacy and credibility in the production, Théâtre du Soleil enlists the craft of make-believe, persuading audiences to take a closer look at those excluded and silenced by the state.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 6, 2011
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