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NELLI A. KOGUT
Russian Institute of Theatre Arts—GITIS
FRAMED THEATRE: THEATRE HD AS A HYBRID FORM OF MEDIA
Abstract. Modern art relies increasingly on recording technologies and is directly dependent on them: first cinema, then television, video, and finally digital recording. Much attention has been paid to the impact of these technologies on the creation of a live theatre performance and its perception, but not enough research has been devoted so far to analyzing the use of recording technologies for unifying the aesthetics of theatre and cinema.
Meanwhile, moving images on the screen have become the dominant mode of information consumption in contemporary medialized culture.
From stationary video projectors to iPads and smartphones, modern culture interacts with people by means of the screen. In this report the author attempts to consider the impact of recording technology on the creation of new forms of the existence of theater and offer critical tools for analyzing and evaluating the phenomenon of filmed, i.e. medialized, theatre. Medialized theatre is broadly understood as a theatrical performance originally created for a live performance (the actors are in direct interaction with the audience) and subsequently recorded on any type of audio-visual-reproducible medium and presented in two-dimensional space on the screen.
By the example of the “Theatre HD” project, namely, online broadcasts of theatrical performances on cinema screens, it is possible to trace certain characteristics of the construction of the image and the specifics of the formation of time and space of the mediated, “framed” theatre.
Theatre presented on a large screen can, in accordance with the intentions of the director of the filmed version, eliminate all the most scenic theatrical aspects of the performance (as in the records of the Royal Shakespeare Company) in order to achieve a true cinematic effect, as well as intentionally emphasize theatrical conventionality (The Globe Theater). The more complex the recording of the performance, the more transparent the boundary between performance and media becomes, taking up a position between presence and absence.
Recording a performance always represents a distortion of the live event, radically reorganizing space, composition and time. Practically this is realized through the setting up optical equipment and editing. The most successful recordings are those versions which take into account both the structure of the stage space and the direction of the audience’s eye, developing the imagery of the performance. The intervention of the camera into the theatrical performance leads us to an understanding of its position, in particular, framing the action and the accent that it creates in the play.
Keywords: theatre on screen, filming, digitalization, Theatre HD, new media, adaptation, documentation, editing, audience presence