DAC Home   A theatrical perspective on MUDs
Ragnhild Tronstad, University of Oslo
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Approaching adventure oriented mudding from a theatrical perspective, this paper will focus on the individual experience of inhabiting and exploring a fictional world. Discussing the theories of Nicolas Evreinoff, Josette Féral and J.L. Austin (on theatricality, performance and performatives respectively) I will present the MUD as a world of its own, separated from our world, predominantly theatrical, but also with it's own kind of reality. Historically, Evreinoff's theatricality is part of an anti-realist movement, reacting against the emerging trend of naturalism in the theatre. Considering the spectator's imagination a necessary co-creator of 'theatrical illusions', theatrical aesthetics is not overly concerned with narrative or dramatic coherence, or providing the spectator with a continuous feeling of 'immersion'. In a theatrical perspective, not being able to actually drink the virtual cup of tea is not a problem. On the contrary, not being able to drink it, you can "drink" the best tea you ever had, find a lizard in it, or choose the wine. Provided, of course, that you have the imagination needed to get it down.

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