Theatre is not a thermometer of society; it is the fever. The archive is the aftermath that recalls that fever. In this thesis I theorize about the status of audiovisual documentation, its functionality, and its ontological relation with the performance. I argue that the film of a performance does not constitute evidence per se, but it acquires such status through the concurrence of other documents and archival artifacts existentially related to the theatrical production. I also propose that the audiovisual document becomes a substitute for the performance when it has disappeared from the historical world, becoming the new referent for other documents that also speak of the original performance. In the body of my thesis I introduce the trope of the Model Performance (MP), defined as the epitome of all the shows performed throughout the cycle of a theatrical production, in order to problematize the assumed stable nature of the performance as rather an evolvable entity impossible to document in its whole process. The MP, as a construct, allows me to formulate five orientations the archivist could take into account when deciding which, among the successive shows a production performs, should be audiovisually documented. It is through all these ruminations that finally I arrive to the conclusion of creating a holistic archival model using the new digital technologies, that I think are the best present media to recall and to assess the fever.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Theatre and Media Arts



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film, theater, media, archive, Anna Deveare Smith, Alvin Ailey, Michael Richards, performance, internet, world wide web, audiovisual, audiovisual documentation