gertrude stein repertory theatre
In 1993, with the introduction of video conferencing and Internet technology, GSRT began to explore the use of digital media in live theater. Our goal was to use these new communications tools as a means of breaking through cultural isolation by connecting to performance traditions and collaborators from around the world.
As the technologies have evolved, so has our awareness of their potential not only to impact the rehearsal process, but also to form the foundation of an entire medium of theatrical expression. To that end, our efforts have been focused on using these resources to shape a new body of theatrical literature, develop new performance techniques, and identify new audiences for the theater from around the world. We have also sought new types of partnerships for live theater collaboration.
Our work with computer artists and programmers, in conjunction with our work with artists from diverse cultures has led to the evolution of an entirely new approach to representing characters on stage, which for lack of any pre-existing words to describe it, we refer to as 'digital puppetry.' Digital puppets integrate live, digital, and animated elements into the creation of a single character. They were the focus of the 1998 UBU Project, which was the first phase involved in creating characters using live "layering" techniques. It was also the first step in the extended process we have developed for realizing Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans on stage. These technologies have great potential for application to classics in modern Western theatrical literatures that resist production using traditional theater techniques.
We believe that an entire genre of literature, developed by visionaries of the late 19th and 20th centuries and often referred to as "difficult" or "problematic," was written for stages and production techniques that had not yet been developed at the time that they were conceived. Stein's repetition, Joyce's sentences, Proust's imagery, and Jarry's philosophies not only prompt readers to re-think the function of language, they also demand that the artists who explore them re-examine the very foundations of traditional dramatic communication-including the vehicle for presentation.