Performance Arts and AI (final project)

Peterson, Grant Tyler

* : “I consider the actor as a useless element in theatrical action, and, moreover, dangerous to the future of theatre. The actor is the element of interpretation that presents the greatest unknowns and the smallest guarantees [...] I consider that the intervention of the actor in the theatre as an element of interpretation is one of the most absurd compromises in the art of theatre. (Enrico Prampolini, in Kirby, 230).” The above quote sounds as if it came from one of the recent debates over an actor’s rightful place in the entertainment industry especially in the face of such recent technological progress. The quote however comes from a theatrical manifesto written in 1924. Prampolini, an Italian futurist artist, who ardently believed in the righteousness of technology, also wrote (in 1915), that “in the final synthesis, human actors will no longer be tolerated” (Kirby, 89). Prampolini believed that technical features such as objects, lights, sounds and even smells could replace the human actor and would evoke a more predictable and measurable reaction from an audience. He believed in achieving the highest efficiency and that “the unknown quality of the actor is what deforms and determines the significance of a theatrical production, endangering the efficiency of the result” (Kirby, 230).

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