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The Erotic Voyeur: Sensorial Spectatorship in Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man

Maples, Holly (2016) 'The Erotic Voyeur: Sensorial Spectatorship in Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man.' Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 4 (1). pp. 119-133. ISSN 2195-0164

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The cultural industries often privilege the use of sight and sound as our main areas of experience. This is especially the case in theatre criticism; but what of taste, smell and touch? Punchdrunk’s manipulation of sensorial experience allows their immersive performance to become both an enticing and destabilizing theatrical arena for the audience. The performance of intimacy constructed through the use of nostalgia triggering aromas, invitations to explore the set and performers bodies through touch, and the inclusion of one-on-one encounters between performers and audience members, all allow the actor/spectator to be seduced by the “story-world” of The Drowned Man. With the hyper-reality achieved through the film noir soundscape and the chaotic dance theatre sequences created by the performers, the spectator can delve into a fantasy world of menace and eroticism. This article examines the role of the spectator as erotic voyeur in Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man. Through an examination of the company’s use of interactive, sensorial experience where audience members are invited to touch, inhabit and investigate the world around them, Punchdrunk invite the audience to become a part of the world and yet remain separate from it, reinforcing the erotically charged voyeuristic realm of the production.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: English literature; theater; 2000-2099; senses; audience perception; <i>The Drowned Man</i>(2013); Punchdrunk (theater company); voyeurism; eroticism
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > East 15 Acting School
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 14:23
Last Modified: 05 May 2022 21:15

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