"Nothing New Under the Sun:" The Use of Projections in Theatre

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Walter, Stephanie Troise
The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
Projections, a popular form of spectacle seen in live theatrical productions today, have suddenly become a much overused mode of spectacle. Once a specialized form of avant-garde expression, projections can now be found everywhere from rock concerts, to small experimental stages, and large theatrical production houses. Although critics and theatre historians claim that this is the result of a generation of entertainers and designers weaned on television and film, the actual use of some form of projected imagery has been traced back as far as the Paleozoic era. In this thesis, I provide a history of the techniques used to marry the spectacular use of the moving image with live performance in order to enhance wondrous adventures in storytelling. By honoring ancestral techniques, theatre practitioners interested in creating a new language for the stage, move far beyond the use of projections as spectacle in order to actively engage their audience. By illustrating the works of composer John Moran, the performer Robert Lepage, the director Ingmar Bergman, and my own work as a filmmaker and playwright, I will demonstrate how the use of projections can be utilized as a tool to broaden the language of the modern stage.
46 pg.