Enciclopédia e Hipertexto

Metamorphoses of the mimesis: drama in the electronic age

Eunice Gonçalves Duarte

Aristotle defines mimesis as the representation of human actions, drama's ability to present what could be and not what is (using illusion and imagination instead of imitation). Through mimesis (human action) it is possible to represent universal issues, engaging the spectator in terror and pity. According to Aristotle's point of view, this engagement should happen even if the drama was not set on stage; i. e., the text per se would be enough to produce such feelings.

With this idea in mind and thinking in all the new instruments that the "technologic era" has given to common life, this text intends to analyse what can drama become when associated with computers and other electronic instruments. To that association (between theatre and technology), we have called e-drama, a concept that encloses two categories: hyperdrama and cyberdrama.

Hyperdrama derives from hypertext, the concept coined by Ted Nelson to describe a compilation of texts linked together. Hyperdramatic actions can happen at the same time; the user/spectator is the one who will link actions together, always bearing in mind he has an option. Hyperdrama writers (e. g., Charles Deemer) affirm that through this genre is possible to arrive to a "well made mimeses", the highest pitch of naturalism in theatre.

Cyberdrama is opposed to hyperdrama: it derives from Aarseth's notion of cybertext (when text is mechanically arranged or created by a computer). In this case, the texts abandon the grammatical structure of common language in favour of an algorithmic structure. This is a variant of dramatic text that brings it closer to poetry and surrealism.

To present this notion of e-drama (and its categories), we analyse in this text three different plays: Alletsator XPTO-Kosmos (by Pedro Barbosa), The Last Song of Violeta Parra (by Charles Deemer) and Dielation manifesto: A sliver of the future (by Marie Anne Breeze).