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Multimedia Possibilities for Live and Lesbian Performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2009


Our sequence of features on the use of the new technology in the creation as well as the re-creation of live performance continues with a consideration of the implications of interactive CD-ROM – with special reference to its potential for liberating multimedia lesbian representation, and for other kinds of live performance which designedly subvert the norm. This article was sparked by Lois Weaver's solo performance of her own Faith and Dancing, which the author, Jan Goulden, saw at Jackson's Lane Theatre, London, on 9 August 1996: and extracts from Goulden's subsequent interview with Weaver intersperse her analysis of the nature and potential of multimedia in performance. Jan Goulden is a writer and teacher who lives in Wales and has taught with the Workers' Educational Association. She is currently writing a postgraduate thesis on ‘Myth and Variation: Lesbian Representation in American Fiction and Film’ with the Open University. Performing under the name Split Britches, Lois Weaver with Peggy Shaw and Deborah Margolin have for the past fifteen years been at the vanguard of lesbian feminist theatre both in the US and in Britain. Their work, which addresses radical issues through its exploration of gender roles and desire in performance, is highly regarded in both theatrical and academic circles.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1998

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Notes and References

1. Stone, Allucquere Rosanne, ‘Will the Real Body Please Stand Up? Boundary Stories and Virtual Cultures’, Cyber Space First Steps, ed. Benedikt, Michael (London: MIT Press, 1994), p. 81Google Scholar.

2. ‘Narratext’ is used to refer to narrative when used on multimedia sites.

3. See Lister, Martin, ed., The Photographic Image in Digital Culture (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 18Google Scholar.

4. ‘Chapter Film Notes’, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, December 1996–January 1997.

5. Chauchard-Stewart, Sophia, The Independent, Tabloid Section, 11 11 1996Google Scholar.

6. For discussion of this CD-ROM, see Goodman, Lizbeth, Coe, Tony, and Williams, Huw, ‘The Multi-media Bard: Plugged and Unplugged’, New Theatre Quarterly, XIV, No. 53 (1998), p. 2042CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7. Baudrillard, Jean, Simulations (New York: Semiotext, Columbia University, 1983), p. 142Google Scholar.

8. Bertland, Jody, ‘Mapping Space’, Technoscience and Cyber Culture, ed. Aronowitz, Stanley, Martinsons, Barbara, and Menser, Micheal (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 127Google Scholar.

9. Thrower, Norman J. W., Maps and Man (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1975), p. 3Google Scholar.

10. Ibid., p. 20.

11. Ibid., p. 136.

12. Baudrillard, op. cit., p. 3.

13. Performing under the name Split Britches, Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw, and Deborah Margolin have been at the vanguard of lesbian feminist theatre for the past fifteen years, both in the US and in Britain. Their work is highly regarded in both theatrical and academic circles, as it addresses radical issues and explores gender roles and desire in performance. Among Spilt Britches' works to be published in anthologies and in play form are: Beauty and the Beast (1982, Upwardly Mobile Home (1984), Patience and Sarah (1987), Dress Suits to Hire (1987), Little Women (1988), Anniversary Waltz (1990), Belle Reprieve (1991), Lesbians Who Kill (1992), and Lust and Comfort (1995).

14. Goodman, Lizbeth, with Gainor, J. Ellen, ‘Gender and Drama: Text and Performance’, Literature and Gender, ed. Goodman, (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 181Google Scholar.

15. By the term ‘electonric text’ I mean the digital form used by CD-ROM. The term is used loosely here to make a point without getting into the technical details of programming languages and possibilities.

16. This refers to a paper given by Gilson-Ellis, Jools, ‘Get Your Feminism off My Floppy: Seedy ROMs and Technical Tales’, 1997Google Scholar.

17. Baudrillard, op cit., p. 53.

18. Mulvey, Laura is a feminist film theorist whose important article, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, in Screen, XIV, No. 3 (1975)Google Scholar, was a keystone in the development of feminist film theory. The part of her article referred to in this paper is: ‘Is the Gaze Male’.

19. These ideas are discussed by Allucqure Rosanne Stone, op. cit., p. 107.

20. On this concept, see Baudrillard, op. cit., p. 55.

21. Weaver, Lois, Faith and Dancing, in Mythic Women, Real Women, ed. Goodman, Lizbeth (London: Faber, 1997)Google Scholar.

22. From a conversation about multimedia impact on creator/audience dynamics with Lizbeth Goodman following a Gay Sweatshop Seminar featuring Leslie Hill, Peter Rose, and Lizbeth Goodman, Jackson's Lane Theatre, London, 30 June 1996.

23. Krzywinska, Tanya, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci?’ A Queer Romance: Lesbians, Gay Men, and Popular Culture, ed. Burston, Paul and Richardson, Colin (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 102Google Scholar.

24. Alan Turning was a British mathematician who devised a computer program that explored the gender of artificial intelligence. Another current debate asks whether the basic structure of screen-based information design is based on cognition of structures which pre-dominantly occur in males rather than females. See Graham, Beryl, ‘The Panic Button (in which Our Heroine Goes back to the Future of Pornography)’, The Photographic Image in Digital Culture, ed. Lister, Martin (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 75Google Scholar.

25. Hothead Paison, lesbian hero, was created by Diane DiMassa, and is published by Cleis, distributed by Airlift. The cartoon character is described in Diva magazine, December 1995–January 1996, as: 'dynamite with the proverbial short fuse, born out of the rage and frustration of her creator. … Shamelessly violent and gloriously OTT, it's a Tom and Jerry terrorism transferred to the street.

26. Beryl Graham, op. cit.

27. From the conversation with Lizbeth Goodman, 30 June 1996, as above.'