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(2016) Reframing immersive theatre, Dordrecht, Springer.

Spectral illusions

ghostly presence in phantasmagoria shows

Nele Wynants

pp. 207-220

Wynants revisits the ghostly presence effects of phantasmagoria shows as historical precursors of immersive theatre. The fantasmagorie was a travelling show in nineteenth-century Europe in which showmen such as the mysterious German Paul Philidor, English lantern lecturer John Henry Pepper, and the Belgian physicist Étienne-Gaspard Robertson performed spectral illusions with terrifying stage effects. With their innovative use of new technologies such as mobile magic lanterns and mirrors and their emphasis on interaction between performers and public, phantasmagoria are a mid-nineteenth-century form of immersion and intermediality in performance. Wynants offers an imaginative, historical genealogy and contextualisation of contemporary notions of intermedial theatre, such as liveness, presence, and interactivity.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-36604-7_16

Full citation:

Wynants, N. (2016)., Spectral illusions: ghostly presence in phantasmagoria shows, in J. Frieze (ed.), Reframing immersive theatre, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 207-220.

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