The eighth colloquium in the series features Natalia Plagmann, Ph.D Candidate, Princeton University. She will present on “The (Not So) Lonely Human Voice: Sound in Contemporary Russian Documentary Theater.”
Register for virtual event: http://bit.ly/REEES-NataliaPlagmann
In my talk, I approach contemporary documentary theater in Russia primarily through examination of sound. I discuss two documentary productions directed by Yurii Pogrebnitchko and Andrei Stadnikov in Moscow in the 2010s. My analysis privileges sound as a structural element of a documentary work, taking as a point of departure the emphasized importance of a sounding voice in documentary theater. In documentary theater, which usually engages with themes of high political, social, and ideological resonance, it is the sounding voice of actors that occupies front stage. Either by means of reenactment and embodiment, or using techniques of estrangement, or even by projecting recorded interviews and testimonies, documentary theater relies on multiplicity of human voices in order to produce the reality effect that it seeks. To create an opening for a more complex understanding of documentary and shift the emphasis away from “giving a voice to the voiceless” as the dominant modus operandi of the genre, I suggest an alternative concept - “voice leading.” I argue that voice leading operates at the level of sonic organization and composition of documentary works and affects the audience’s perception of the documentary as representation of the real.
Bio: Natalia Plagmann is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Her dissertation, Human Documents on Screen and Stage: A Contrapuntal Reading of Post-Soviet Documentary, explores documentary films and theatrical productions in Russia in the 1990s-2010s. Her research is informed by performance studies and film studies; and she is interested more broadly in Post-Soviet culture, cinema and theater, and digital media.