Playing for and against the microphone : the theatrical soundstage, the cinematic meeting interface

Název: Playing for and against the microphone : the theatrical soundstage, the cinematic meeting interface
Zdrojový dokument: Theatralia. 2023, roč. 26, č. 1, s. 11-28
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
Type: Článek

Upozornění: Tyto citace jsou generovány automaticky. Nemusí být zcela správně podle citačních pravidel.

This article argues for an analogy between the early talkies and the video telephony software-based theatre productions that have proliferated since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic: both the crude sound equipment employed for the late 1920s films and the static streaming and recording devices used to make online theatre/theatre online productions require the performer's close proximity to the microphone. The latter kind of artwork's 'user interface stage' is the site of a paradox, simultaneously fragmenting the spacetime of a written scene and reconstituting the fragments in alternately theatrical and cinematic fashions. I use Mint Theatre's The Gin Chronicles in New York (2020) as a source of examples of this innate contradiction's potential to transcend the notion of medium specificity (and its 'betrayal') that surrounded the emergence of the talkie and to help forge a new model for the Foucauldian heterotopia.
[1] AEBISCHER, Pascale, Susanne GREENHALGH and Laurie E. OSBORNE (eds.). 2018. Shakespeare and the 'Live' Theatre Broadcast Experience. London: The Arden Shakespeare, 2018.

[2] ALTER, Nora M. 2011. Screening Out Sound: Arnheim and Cinema's Silence. In Scott Higgins (ed.). Arnheim for Film and Media Studies. New York/London: Routledge, 2001: 69–87.

[3] ALTMAN, Rick. 1992a. Introduction: Sound/History. In Rick Altman (ed.). Sound Theory/Sound Space. New York/London: Routledge, 1992: 113–125.

[4] ALTMAN, Rick. 1992b. Sound Space. In Rick Altman (ed.). Sound Theory/Sound Space. New York/London: Routledge, 1992: 46–64.

[5] ARISTOTLE. 1962 [5th century BCE]. Poetics. New York: Hill and Wang, 1962.

[6] ARNHEIM, Rudolf. 1957 [1938]. A New Laocoön: Artistic Composites and the Talking Film. In Rudolf Arnheim. Film as Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957: 199–230.

[7] AUSLANDER, Philip. 1999. Liveness. London: Routledge, 1999. DOI:

[8] BALÁZS, Béla. 2010a [1930]. The Sound Film. In Erica Carter (ed.). Béla Balázs: Early Film Theory. Transl. by Rodney Livingstone. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2010: 183–210.

[9] BALÁZS, Béla. 2010b [1924]. The Substance of Film. In Erica Carter (ed.). Béla Balázs: Early Film Theory. Transl. by Rodney Livingstone. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2010: 17–25.

[10] BALÁZS, Béla. 1952 [1945]. Theory of the Film: Character and Growth of a New Art. Transl. by Edith Bone. London: Dennis Dobson Ltd., 1952.

[11] BARKER, Martin. 2013. Live to Your Local Cinema: The Remarkable Rise of Livecasting. London/ New York: Palgrave, 2013.

[12] BRECHT, Bertolt. 2014 [1930]. Notes on the Opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. In Marc Silberman, Steve Giles and Tom Kuhn (eds.). Brecht on Theatre. London: Bloomsbury, 2014: 61–71.

[13] BRECHT, Bertolt. 1988. Werke: Grosse kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe. Vol. 21. Berlin/Frankfurt: Aufbau-Verlag and Suhrkamp, 1988.

[14] BRUŠÁK, Karel. 2016 [1991]. Imaginary Action Space in Drama. In David Drozd, Tomáš Kačer and Don Sparling (eds.). Theatre Theory Reader. Prague School Writings. Prague: Karolinum, 2016: 303–319.

[15] Canary Murder Case [motion picture]. 1928. Dir. Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle, United States, 82 min., 1929.

[16] Citizen Kane [motion picture]. 1941. Dir. Orson Welles, United States, 119 min., 1941.

[17] COLLINS, Tom. 2009. Cities and Urban Life. In Rodney Carlisle (ed.). The Roaring Twenties: 1920–1929. New York: Facts on File, 2009: 63–76.

[18] CORNEILLE, Pierre. 1960 [1660]. Of the Three Unities. In Scott Elledge and Donald Schier (eds.). The Continental Model: Selected French Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century in English Translation. Transl. by Donald Schier. Minneapolis: Carleton College and University of Minnesota Press, 1960: 117–131.

[19] DALEY, Liz. 2020. The Gin Chronicles in New York 2020. Performed Mint Theatre Society. Performance: Theatre. [accessed 27.6.2022]. Available online at

[20] Death's Marathon [motion picture]. Dir. D. W. Griffith, United States, 17 min., 1913.

[21] EYMAN, Scott. 1997. The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926–1930. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

[22] FISCHER-LICHTE, Erika and Benjamin WIHSTUTZ (eds.). 2013. Performance and the Politics of Space: Theatre and Topology. New York/London: Routledge, 2013.

[23] Freedom for Us [motion picture]. 1931. Dir. René Clair. France, 104 min., 1931.

[24] FOUCAULT, Michel. 1986. Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias. Transl. by Jay Miskowiec. Diacritics 16 (1986): 2: 22–27.

[25] FOUCAULT, Michel. 2005 [1966]. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York/London: Routledge, 2013.

[26] GEDULD, Harry. 1975. The Birth of the Talkies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975.

[27] The Great Gabbo [motion picture]. 1929. Dir. James Cruze, United States, 106 min., 1929.

[28] In Old Arizona [motion picture]. 1928. Dir. Raoul Walsh and Irving Cummings, United States, 95 min., 1928.

[29] Interference [motion picture]. 1928. Dir. Roy J. Pomeroy, United States, 83 min., 1928.

[30] JOVANOVIC, Nenad. 2017. Brechtian Cinemas: Montage and Theatricality in Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Peter Watkins and Lars von Trier. Albany: SUNY Press, 2017.

[31] KENNEDY, John. 2018. The Gin Chronicles: A Scottish Adventure – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham [online]. The Review Hub – Central (26. 1. 2018). [accessed on 26.6.2022]. Available online at

[32] KUHN, Annette. 2004. Heterotopia, Heterochronia: Place and Time in Cinema Memory. Screen, 45 (2004): 2: 106–114. DOI:

[33] LEPAGE, Robert. 2009. The Nightingale and Other Short Fables. Performed Toronto, Canadian Opera Company: Ex Machina. Performance: Theatre. (viewed 5. 11. 2009).

[34] M [motion picture]. 1931. Dir. Fritz Lang, Germany, 111 min., 1931.

[35] Mint Theatre Society [online]. [accessed on 2.1.2023]. Available online at

[36] Man With a Movie Camera [motion picture]. 1929. Dir. Dziga Vertov, Soviet Union, 68 min., 1929.

[37] MARINETTI, Filippo Tommaso. 2013 [1909]. Fondazione e manifesto del Futurismo [The Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism]. In Guido Davico Bonino (ed.). Manifesti Futuristi [Futurist Manifestos]. Milano: Rizzoli Libri, 2013: 37–44.

[38] MYLES, Robert. 2020–2021. The Show Must Go Online [online]. Writ. William Shakespeare. Performed online: Rob Myles. Performance: Theatre. Available online at

[39] PAPAGIANNOULI, Christina and Verónica RODRÍGUEZ. 2021. Online Theatre/Theatre Online: What Can Theatre Learn from the COVID-19 Pandemic? In Feryal Çubukçu (ed.). Toward Digitalism. Ankara: Nobel, 2021: 113–143.

[40] PARMALEE, Patty Lee. 1981. Brecht's America. Miami: Ohio State University Press, 1981.

[41] PHELAN, Peggy. 1993. Unmarked: The Politics of Performance. London: Routledge, 1993. DOI:

[42] Roaring. 2022. Dictionary. [accessed on 16.6.2022]. Available online at

[43] SALT, Barry. 2009. Film Style and Technology: History and Analysis. London: Starword, 2009.

[44] SMITH, Jeffrey P. 1991. 'It Does Something to a Girl. I Don't Know What': The Problem of Female Sexuality in 'Applause'. Cinema Journal 30 (1991): 2: 47–60.

[45] The Squall [motion picture]. 1929. Dir. Alexander Korda, United States, 102 min., 1929.

[46] SPADONI, Robert. 2007. Uncanny Bodies: The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins of the Horror Genre. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

[47] SOLGA, Kim. 2019. Space. London: Methuen, 2019.

[48] SULLIVAN, Erin. 2020. Live to Your Living Room: Streamed Theatre, Audience Experience, and the Globe's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies 17 (May 2020): 1: 92–119.

[49] The Telephone Girl and the Lady [motion picture]. Dir. D. W. Griffith, United States, 17 min., 1913.

[50] THOMPSON, Kristin and David BORDWELL. 2003. Film History: An Introduction. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2003.

[51] TOMPKINS, Joanne. 2014. Theatre's Heterotopias: Performance and the Cultural Politics of Space. London: Palgrave, 2014.

[52] VIEIRA, Mark. A. 2010. Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.

[53] WILSON, Robert et al. 1972. Ka Mountain and Guardenia Terrace. Performed Haft Tan Mountain, Shiraz: Robert Wilson and The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds. Performance: Theatre.