SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge
Viewing Presence Details
2011
Apr

In the context of the increasing significance of experiential theatre performance, adaptation to stage in the 21st century is no longer solely defined by the dramatisation of text. Its associated spectatorship is similarly undergoing such shifts: away from passive character
identification as necessarily the primary spectator engagement and opening up, instead, a shared experience or event, in which the spectator becomes an active participant and spectatorship, is intermedial in nature.
This presentation examines the aesthetics and spectator experience of an adaptation of a classic drama Medea to an intermedial and multisensory performance event, Hotel Medea. Hotel Medea is advertised as an overnight experience‘ and adapts Medea into an event which incorporates live performance and music, installation and multimedia technology. It is a collaboration between Brazilian collective Zecora Ura Theatre and the Urban Dolls Project based in London and is therefore performed in both English and Portuguese. The choice of this performance is based not only on its intermedial, participatory form but also on the multilingual performance as it enables a primarily monolingual audience to experience full engagement and participation in a bilingual performance.
The main focus of the paper however, is upon the impact of intermedial and interactive spectator engagement to the experience of adaptation. The concept of intermediality draws on Meike Wagner‘s description of mediality in Intermediality in Theatre and Performance (2006) as  ̳transformed corporeal perception‘ (Wagner, 2006: 126) suggesting that mediality is not just made up of the attributes of the technological form, but also the associated mode of spectator interaction. Intermediality is thus an interweaving of medialities which combine technological form and modes of perception.
The paper suggests that the colliding medialities and participation engage the spectator more actively in the process of reconstructing and manipulating their knowledge of the Medea narrative and generating the pleasures of intertextuality. In addition the familiarity of a well known text like Medea not only enables this pleasure of intertextuality associated with adaptation, but facilitates the pleasures of multisensory active spectatorship particular to experiential theatre performance. The familiarity of the adaptation prevents the uncertainties of participation, exploration and an unfamiliar language from becoming overwhelming.