Andrew Starner is a performance theorist and theatre artist whose research and teaching interests include media and cultural studies, psychoanalysis, textual theory, and postcolonial theory. His writing has appeared in Theatre Survey, Scene, The New Inquiry, and The American Scholar. He is the recipient of several awards, including a fellowship at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, a grant from the Creative Arts Council, and a residency at the Bergmann Estate in Fårö, Sweden. Production credits include plays with undergraduate and graduate students in the Northeast (Production Workshop, 95 Empire Street Theatre) as well as professional theatre in the Mid-Atlantic region (LiveArts Theatre). He teaches courses on the writing of ritual and rituals of writing at New York University Abu Dhabi.
Starner’s dissertation looks at how theatre and television are intimately related. Normally, they are thought of as different modes or genres, and even as diametrically opposed. In this study, what Starner is proposing is that theatre and television are one and the same.Theatre as (is!) Television analyses the theatre-like qualities of television and the television-like qualities of theatre. In the process of this analysis, he also looks at how all theatre and television negotiate the twin poles of immersion and anti-immersion, with special emphasis on US practices in the period 1960 to 2015. Theatre may have a unidirectional flow, but this does not mean that there is no congress between audience and stage; only, those flows work differently, and are differently directed, so that a performance is not geared to a solipsistic gathering of intelligences “in” the theatre. Acknowledging and underscoring this potential outcome of traditional theatre-going is ever more important in the opening decades of the 21st century when so-called immersive theatre predominates as the form of avant-garde theatre par excellence, and new technologies are paradoxically employed to close the gap opened by theatre’s ambiguous anti-immersiveness.