Roesner, David P.; Kendrick, Lynne (eds.)
Theatre Noise. The Sound of Performance.
Newcastle: Cambridge University Scholars
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This book is a timely contribution to the emerging field of the aurality of theatre and looks in particular at the interrogation and problematisation of theatre sound(s). Both approaches are represented in the idea of ‘noise’ which we understand both as a concrete sonic entity and a metaphor or theoretical (sometimes even ideological) thrust.
Theatre provides a unique habitat for noise. It is a place where friction can be thematised, explored playfully, even indulged in: friction between signal and receiver, between sound and meaning, between eye and ear, between silence and utterance, between hearing and listening. In an aesthetic world dominated by aesthetic redundancy and ‘aerodynamic’ signs, theatre noise recalls the aesthetic and political power of the grain of performance.
‘Theatre noise’ is a new term which captures a contemporary, agitatory acoustic aesthetic. It expresses the innate theatricality of sound design and performance, articulates the reach of auditory spaces, the art of vocality, the complexity of acts of audience, the political in produced noises. Indeed, one of the key contentions of this book is that noise, in most cases, is to be understood as a plural, as a composite of different noises, as layers or waves of noises. Facing a plethora of possible noises in performance and theatre we sought to collocate a wide range of notions of and approaches to ‘noise’ in this book – by no means an exhaustive list of possible readings and understandings, but a starting point from which scholarship, like sound, could travel in many directions.