1st Edition

Aural/Oral Dramaturgies Theatre in the Digital Age

By Duška Radosavljević Copyright 2023
    240 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Aural/Oral Dramaturgies: Theatre in the Digital Age  focuses on the ‘aural turn’ in contemporary theatre-making, examining a number of seemingly disparate trends that foreground speech and sound -- ‘post-verbatim’ theatre, 'amplified storytelling' (works using microphones and headphones), and ‘gig theatre’ that incorporates live music performance.

    Its main argument is that the dramaturgical underpinnings of these works contribute to an understanding of theatre as an extra-literary activity, greater than the centrality of the script that traditionally dominated many historical discussions. This quality is usually expressed in terms of the corporeality in dance and physical theatre, but the aural/oral turn gives an alternative viewpoint on the interplay between text and performance. The book's case studies draw on the ways in which a range of theatre companies engage with the dramaturgy of speech and sound in their work. It is further accompanied by a specially curated collection of digital resources, including interviews, conversations, and presentations from artists and academics.

    This is a key text for scholars, students, and practitioners of contemporary performance, and anyone working with dramaturgies of orality and aurality in today’s performance environment.

    1. Introduction(s): The Difficult Second Album  2. Post-Verbatim  3. Amplified Storytelling  4. Gig Theatre  5. Conclusion(s): Au/o/ralities in the Digital Age


    Duška Radosavljević teaches at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. She is the author of the award-winning monograph, Theatre-Making: Interplay Between Text and Performance in the 21st Century (2013), and editor of Theatre Criticism: Changing Landscapes (2016) and The Contemporary Ensemble: Interviews with Theatre-Makers (2013).

    "How does an audience hear a live performance? What are the relationships between speech and sound, polyphony and counterpoint, that generate meaning for a viewer/listener at the theatre? How is theatre as a form situated within the oral and aural domains? In this book, Radosavljević radicalises and reclaims sound as central to the act of theatre-making, and how its aural contours and shapes have changed and are changing new work in amplified storytelling and gig theatre and post-verbatim theatre. This book is thorough, deeply considered, provocative and alters with whispery and sometimes loud insistence on the material, technological and spiritual dimensions of speech and sound in performance. Animated and situated within interstitial cultural and linguistic spaces, Radosavljevic asks their reader to take into account the effect and affect of text and non-text-centered works and artists that are creating pieces that demand acts of replay, rewind and multi-tracking, taking audiences on journeys through spatial and temporal orientation and disorientations in order to achieve new dramaturgical forms. This book is a complex, symphonic work that demands multiple re-readings!" — Caridad Svich, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, USA


    "Duška Radosavljević’s book gives a critically and creatively rigorous and meta-sensitive analysis of dramaturgical intersections between Post-Verbatim, Amplified Storytelling and Gig Theatre. Operating in-between the disciplinary borderlines – and yet firmly rooted in theatre and performance studies – the book offers a needed discussion on dramaturgical innovations within contemporary sound and speech-based performance-making and its dialogue with digital developments. Radosavljević’s explorations are enriched by her international and multilingual outlook and sensitivity evident in compelling examples, her meta-criticality towards language, and aurality and orality as concepts. The book makes an exemplary case – additionally spelt out in its final section – for interdisciplinarity within theatre research methodology and the ethics of dialogue between oneself, research, artists, and the broad theatre community. It is an academic gift for scholars of all levels. It will also be an invaluable addition to reading lists in modules exploring dramaturgy, digital theatre, contemporary performance making, and research methodologies." — Dr Kasia Lech, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK