Fusing stage and screen in search of empathy
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Fusing Stage and Screen in Search of Empathy Ross Brannigan Faculty of Design & Creative Technologies, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand The liminal, intermedial space where cinema and theatre come together is still comparatively new territory. This paper specifically explores that space where performance exists, not wholly as stage or screen, for its potential to enhance empathy. The new space affords opportunity to interweave visual aspects – both pre-recorded and of the live performance and to build new practice-centred understanding of how to negotiate the combination of processes involved. An experimental performance was devised to explore the possibilities of combining the cinematically visual and the live. A somewhat constrained version of this is presented here, not just as illustration but as a means of discourse. A heuristic approach has been adopted to allow tacit knowledge to play a substantial role in the shaping of the enquiry. This performance as research exercise is offered as a provocation. It is the first of a series of explorations which will culminate in a full length work. Whether that work will be a piece of theatrical cinema, cinematic theatre or some new form evolving from the experimentation remains to be discovered. The results of the performance experiment indicate that, given the potential to harness the immediacy of theatre with the extreme visual intimacy of the close up, empathetic responses can be enhanced. It highlights also that there are caveats, obstacles and creative constraints to consider. The experiment suggests that the intermedial art form will evolve and that the body of experience and discourse within the community of practitioners and the audience will play a major role in that evolution. Practitioners stand at the threshold of new forms and the liminality of the space is an exciting opportunity to create new types of performance.