Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Kevin Rich

Second Advisor

Oliver Gerland

Third Advisor

Marcos Steuernagel

Abstract

This project asks how the emergence of mobile technologies has affected the evolution of narrative? Tracing the way cognitive capabilities of Internet Natives have rapidly changed, this project identifies how theatre has reacted to incorporate open narratives produced by the massive shifts in culture and cognitive evolution. A multi-stage breakdown of dramatic narrative throughout the late twentieth and early twenty-first century is presented to evaluate ways in which theatre makers attempt to embrace the trends and needs of Internet Natives within performance. Through a discussion of phenomenological perspectives regarding the allocation of agency in immersive theatre, live action game play, and socially activating multi-platform performance projects, I use the lenses of gaming and play theory to evaluate the potential open narratives establish for creating sustainable social change through interactive performance. Within my research, I analyze the ethical responsibilities of immersive theatre makers such as Punchdrunk and Third Rail Projects through an examination of agential allocation in interactive and immersive performance. Using gaming theory, I analyze live action events such as escape rooms and questing through the work of Boda Borg, Meow Wolf and 5 Wits. Finally, through the lens of play theory, I analyze the socially activating, multi-media open narrative project, World Without Oil. In conversation with Frank Rose’s The Art of Immersion and Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken, I argue that narrative has been re-structured in the twenty-first century due to the technological advancement of the Internet and offer possible solutions for contemporary theatre makers in harnessing the power of co-authored narrative in future immersive and interactive multi-media performance.

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