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Palgrave Macmillan

Theatre, Performance and Analogue Technology

Historical Interfaces and Intermedialities

ISBN 9781137319661
Publication Date October 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Palgrave Studies in Performance and Technology

This trans-historical essay collection explores spectacular analogue performance technologies from Ancient Greece to before the Second World War in a study that is the first of its kind. From Heron of Alexandria's mechanical theatres to the fin de siècle théâtre phone, from ancient mechanical elephants to early modern automata, from Enlightenment electrical experiments to Victorian spectral illusions, this volume offers an original examination of the precursors of contemporary digital performance. Featuring essays by contributors including Johannes Birringer, Odai Johnson, Kate Newey and Richard Beacham amongst others, the volume is the first book to offer key insights on analogue precursors to contemporary digital performance.

Kara Reilly is Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter, UK. Her previous book Automata and Mimesis on the Stage of Theatre History (Palgrave, 2011) focuses on automata or self-moving mechanical puppets and their influence upon theatre history from the Renaissance to the end of the First World War.

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
1. Heron of Alexandria's 'Toy Theatre' Automaton: Reality and Illusion; Richard Beacham
2. Manufacturing Elephants: the Mythic, the Mechanical and the Credible in Theatre History; Odai Johnson
3. Performing Technology, Performing Reality: Steele MacKaye's Actors and Machines; Victor Holtcamp
4. Forgotten Wizard: The Scenographic Innovations of Mariano Fortuny; Brandin Barón-Nusbaum
5. Pantomime and Modernity: The Fairy and The Navvy; Kate Newey
6. The Tiller Girls: Mass Ornament and Modern Girl; Kara Reilly
7. Retro-Engineering; Johannes Birringer
8. Shocks and Sparks: Participatory Electrical Performances in the Enlightenment Period'; Ciara Murphy
9. Modern Nation and Rural Idyll: Reconciling Progress and Purity through Performance; Naomi J. Stubbs
10. Spectres and Spectators: The Poly-Technologies of the Pepper's Ghost Illusion; Beth Kattelman
11. Recalling the Theatre Phone; Adrian Curtin
12. 'Like Unto A Lively Thing': Early Modern Performance of Artificial Intelligence; Michael Chemers

Odai Johnson, University of Washington, USA
Richard Beacham, King's College, UK
Victor Holtcamp, Tulane University, USA
Brandin Barón-Nusbaum, University of California, USA
Katherine Newey, University of Exeter, UK
Kara Reilly, University of Exeter, UK
Johannes Birringer, Brunel University, UK
Ciara Murphy, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Beth A. Kattelman, Ohio State University, USA
Naomi J. Stubbs, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, USA
Adrian Curtin, University of Exeter, UK
Michael M. Chemers, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA


'These explorations of intriguing oddities of performance history, interspersed by 46 illustrations, covers projects ranging from Richard Beacham's minutely re-created Roman-era toy theatre with mechanized movable parts to Michael Chemers's ongoing work with robots whose artificial intelligences lack (to date) what is understood as empathy… Recommended [for] graduate students, researchers, faculty, technical students, professionals, general readers.' – CHOICE
'Reilly's collection is important in challenging technology's tendency to impose a "hegemony of the new" through extending con - versations about the interrelation ship between performance and technology to a long and rich pre-digital past.'- Maria Chatzichristodoulou, New Theatre Quarterly
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