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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter revisits debates regarding the use of technology to enhance or remediate performances in the light of Emmanuel Levinas’s understanding of the ethical encounter as a face-to-face encounter between a subject and her/his other. Building on these debates and Robert Weimann’s distinction between locus and platea, it suggests that performance theory’s emphasis on the physical co-presence of spectator and performer undervalues the experience of the spectator. Using three productions that use digital media as examples, the chapter demonstrates how online live streaming (in Cheek by Jowl’s Measure for Measure), digital hologram projection (in the McGuires’ Ophelia’s Ghost), and the use of an online stage (in the RSC’s collaboration with Google+ on #dream40) each harness the affordances of digital media to create conceptual spaces in which spectators can experience ethical encounters. Digital media thus open up distinct ways of experiencing dilemmas explored by Shakespeare’s plays.

Keywords: Spectators, ethical encounters, Levinas, Weimann, digital media, live streaming, digital hologram projection, Cheek by Jowl, RSC, Google+.

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