Research Repository

Headphone Theatre (performances & experiences): a practitioner’s manipulation of proximity, aural attention and the resulting effect of paranoia.

Todd, Finn E A (2019) Headphone Theatre (performances & experiences): a practitioner’s manipulation of proximity, aural attention and the resulting effect of paranoia. Masters thesis, University of Essex.

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Headphone theatre is a continuously growing branch of digital theatre and one which demands new thinking to decipher the medium’s potential as an artistic form. This dissertation explores the methods in which headphone theatre practitioners curate and control their work, harnessing the tools at their disposal, specifically proximity and aural attention, to create an effective immersion and subsequent narrative in their production. This study hypothesises around the role that paranoia plays within ‘headphone theatre’ and exploring how it operates in response to the manipulation of a participants’ aural attention and proximity. I will be exploring and providing analysis of my own practical work; investigating a variety of case studies and conducting interviews with professionals such as Practitioners and Sound Designers to help inform the discussion. This dissertation is divided into three chapters with each exploring a participant’s tool and its relationship with the effect of paranoia. Each chapter engages with key theorists such as Lynne Kendrick, George Home-Cook and Tim Crook across a variety of related subjects such as aural attention, theatre aurality and theory behind radio drama. I discuss how the manipulation of proximity and paranoia within Darkfield’s Séance in Chapter One, exploring how the pair operates within sound design and space to intensify and heighten drama. I explore how ‘guided’ works in Chapter Two are manipulated by the practitioner, exploring the variety of positions the participant is placed in within the productions, whether as a protagonist relying on instruction or as an eavesdropper observing from afar. Most importantly I analyse how paranoia has a key role in both roles. Finally, in Chapter Three, I discuss my two practical pieces Beached and Surprise Party in length and do so within the context of how Aural Attention is implemented. This chapter is led by my research questions surrounding how practitioners can deploy tools of manipulation and why they are effective in order to contribute new critical thinking to the growing discourse surrounding headphone theatre.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Finn Todd
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2019 16:25
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2019 16:30

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