Social Media and Online Performances: Online liveness through social media dramaturgy in the time of pandemic
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This thesis wants to claim the term “social media performance,” part of the wider genre of digital theatre, by discovering social media’s dramaturgical strategies. This exploration derived from the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown, and its huge impact on the sector of arts. Since theatres, cinemas, and cultural institutions remained closed, canceling and postponing scheduled events, some artists turned their focus on online platforms. Therefore, the starting point of this phenomenon of online theatre, during the time of the pandemic, is trying to discover how the social media platforms have the potential to produce online theatre, and how they can enable a sense of liveness in online performances. Thus, this thesis explores how theatre functions in moments of crisis, the role of social media in theatre-making in this context, and how this influences the experience of the spectator. The analysis is based on existing literature on concepts about liveness as Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture (2008) by Philip Auslander, intermediality in theatre by Sarah Bay Chang, Chiel Kattenbelt, Andy Lavender, and Robin Nelson in their book Mapping Intermediality in Performance (2010), interwoven with more recent publications about theatre and social media, like Theatre, Social Media, and Meaning Making (2017) by Hadley Bree and Theatre and Social Media (2016) by Lonergan Patrick. I examine the social media use and the video-sharing platforms in the current Social Media Culture, in order to elaborate on their use in the creation of online performances. In this thesis, I offer a dramaturgical analysis of two case studies, that use the same broadcasting platform Zoom, Digital Silence by Building Conversation, and Enter Full Screen by Nowy Theatr directed by Wojtek Ziemilski. Through this analysis, I explore the dramaturgical strategies of this video-sharing platform in the creation of at-home performances and examine under which pattern can this kind of social media theatre operate.