Within between : an investigation on intermediality in the Malawian and South African theatre context

Makhumula, Catherine Mayesero (2017-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explores the state of African theatre in the age of new media and digital technology. Through the engagement with current literature, the researcher found that the concept of intermediality provided suitable theoretical and methodological tools for this investigation. Intermediality in this study is defined as the interrelations between media. The study therefore, investigated the interrelations between theatre and other media through the performance analysis of four theatrical performances from festivals in Malawi and South Africa in 2014, in order to unearth how intermediality manifests in these contexts. Specifically, the study investigated the nature of interaction between theatre and other media, how intermediality shapes the conceptualisation of theatre and theatrical presence, and how the creative team creates a mise en scène that incorporates other media. The study formulated a model for the analysis of intermediality theatre. This model was drawn from a variety of semiotic and phenomenological theoretical and methodological frameworks. The resulting model was used in the analysis of the four cases in the study. This model has the capacity to be used for the analysis of other cases of theatrical intermediality. The cases in this study present compelling evidence that theatre practice in these contexts is far more experimental in transcending the boundaries between theatre and other media, in contrast with the picture painted by African theatre scholarship. Of the four performances, two performances incorporated digital and electronic media (and puppetry). One performance resulted from the appropriation of music, while another evoked the experience of other media through its own media-specific means. The study found that the cases reconfigured conventional conceptualisations of and expectations from theatre in their attempts to augment how the audiences experienced theatrical presence, time and space. The study also found that the creation of mise en scène that incorporates other media restructured traditional theatre roles, because it involved working with more than one system of aesthetic conventions, principles of structure, and stylistic procedures, often requiring the collaboration of skills from other media. The study argues that the field of theatre studies in these contexts can no longer afford to be rigid while theatre practice experiments with other media, continually changing how theatre is created, conceptualised and experienced. The four cases should be considered as a starting point in understanding how intermediality manifests in the theatrical performances in the Malawian and South African contexts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie verken die toestand van Afrika-teater in die tyd van nuwe en digitale media. Deur die studie van resente literatuur, het die navorser gevind dat die konsep van intermedialiteit ‘n gepaste teoretiese en metodologiese instrument is om hierdie ondersoek mee uit te voer. Intermedialiteit in hierdie studie word gedefinieër as die verhoudings tussen verskillende media. Hierdie studie het daarom die verhoudings tussen teater en ander media deur middel van performance ontleding van vier teatrale performances by feeste in Malawi en Suid-Afrika gedurende 2014 ondersoek om die verhoudings tussen die verskillende media en hoe dit manifesteer, aan te dui. Hierdie studie het meer spesifiek die aard van die verhoudings tussen teater en ander media ondersoek en hoe intermedialiteit die konsepsualisering van teater en teatrale teenwoordigheid hervorm, sowel as hoe die kreatiewe span ‘n mise en scène ontwikkel wat die verskillende media inkorporeer.Die studie formuleer ‘n analitiese model vir die annalise van intermedialiteit in die teater. Die model trek uit ‘n verskeidenheid semiotiese en phenemonologiese teoretiese en metodologiese raamwerke. Die gevolglike model is gebruik in die analise van die vier gevallestudies en hierdie model is ook geskik vir die studie van intermedialiteit in die teater. Die gevallestudies bied bewyse dat teaterpraktyk in die betrokke kontekste baie meer eksperimenteel omgaan met die verskuiwing van grense tussen teater en ander media. Dit staan in kontras met die prentjie wat oor die algemeen geteken word deur skryfwerk oor Afrika-teater. Twee uit die vier performances het digitale en elektroniese media (sowel as toneelpoppe) ingesluit. Een performance is geskep deur elemente van musiek in te sluit, terwyl die ander stuk die ervaringsvelde van ander media binne die raamwerk van sy eie performance, gekombineer het. Die studie het bevind dat hierdie gevalle die verwagtinge en konvensionele konsepsualisering verskuif het in ‘n poging om die manier hoe die gehoor teatrale teenwoordigheid, tyd en ruimte ervaar, te verander. Daar is ook bevind dat die skepping van ‘n mise en scène wat ander media inkorporeer die tradisionele teatrale rolle herstruktureer, omdat dit die gebruik van meer as een estetiese, konvensionele sisteem en die reëls van struktuur en stilistiese gebruike inkorporeer wat dikwels die vaardighede van ander media kombineer. Die studie argumenteer dat die veld van teaterstudies nie meer kan bekostig om te regied na teatrale praktyke te kyk binne hierdie kontekste nie, terwyl daar met ander media ge-eksperimenteer word en konstant die manier verander hoe teater geskep, gekonsepsualiseer en mee ge-eksperimenteer word. Die vier gevallestudies moet as ‘n wegspringplek gebruik work om te verstaan hoe intermedialiteit manifesteer in die teatrale performances in die Malawiese en Suid-Afrikaanse kontekste.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101306
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