Cyberspace vs. Theater Space: Antidote to Anomie
Dr Lydia Alix Gerson.
The great dramas produced for the festivals of Dionysus in Ancient Greece and the Mystery Plays of the Catholic Church dramatized their respective cosmologies. More importantly, however, they offered the individual the opportunity to act as witness to religious revelation in the context of community. Throughout its evolution as an art form, and even after its detachment from a strictly liturgical context, the theater continued to address community; even if, as in the alternative theater experiments if the 1960’s, it had to create them, ad hoc.
Scores of “virtual” theaters now appear online. What is the nature of community in cyberspace as compared to that in theater space? What is the nature of the participation of the digital audience as contrasted with that of the theater? How does the “end-user” experience the online event as compared to that of the audience member? Where is the nexus of human interaction located online? Does this digital application of an ancient art form preserve the humanist value of community; or, does the actual theater event act as a “radar,” in Marshall McLuhan’s words, “...enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in time to prepare for them.” This paper will explore these issues.
Dr Lydia Alix Gerson (United States)
Higher Education Officer
The City College, CUNY
Lydia Gerson has spent over twenty years in The City University of New York, as lecturer, adviser and administrator. She is also a playwright and divides her time between the academy and the world of theater and film.
Currently, she is at work on a screenplay, entitled "The Betrayal of Tom Paine," which focuses on the relationship between the much maligned revolutionary and George Washington.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)