Uses of Theatre as Model: Discussing Computers as Theatre — Some Additional Perspectives

  • Torunn Kjølner
  • Niels Lehmann


For more than two thousand years, humanity has seen theatre as a powerful means of dealing with life. Not only has the staged drama been seen as a representation of human action since Aristotle defined theatre as mimesis, theatre has also proved an intriguing image of the world. One famous example of the use of theatre as an image of the world is, of course, Plato’s idea that human beings are puppets on a stage, attached by strings to the hands of the gods. The Theatrum Mundi metaphor also drew a lot of philosophical interest throughout the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. When William Shakespeare in 1601 wrote As You Like It, and let one of his characters start a monologue with “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…”, he made use of a metaphor that was already a commonplace. It should perhaps be remembered that Shakespeare was well aware of this, so he gave his famous monologue to a rather displaced character in the play, Jaques, an extreme melancholic who constantly mourns about his inability to be a real fool. His desire is to be a quick-witted clown who can tell the truth through creative lies. Unfortunately, he neither sees the world from a position where this is possible nor does he have the command of language and wit to invent good puns and striking images.


Role Theory Additional Perspective Text Program Ontological Mode Improvisational Theatre 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bolton, G. (1979) Towards a Theory of Drama in Education. Longman: Burnt Mill.Google Scholar
  2. Bolton, G. (1984) Drama as Education Longman: Burnt Mill.Google Scholar
  3. Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1991) Qu’est-ce que la Philosophie? Paris: Les éditions de minuit.Google Scholar
  4. Derrida, J. (1972) La mythologie blanche. In Marges de la Philosophie,Paris: Les éditions de minuit. Goffman, E. (1969) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  5. Johnstone, K. (1981) Impro. Improvisation and the Theatre. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  6. Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors We Live By, London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Landow, G. P. (1997) Hypertext 2.0. The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology, London: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Laurel, B. (1991) Computers as Theatre. New York, Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  9. Linton, R. (1936) The Study of Man. New York: Appleton-Century.Google Scholar
  10. O’Neill, C. and Lambert, A. (1982) Drama Structures. A Practical Handbook for Teachers. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  11. Rorty, R. (1989) Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. New York: Cambridge University Press. Sontag, S. (1988) AIDS and Its Metaphors. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.Google Scholar
  12. Spolin, V. (1983) Improvisation for the Theater. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Szatkowski, J. et al. (1999) Dramaturgy in virtual theatre. Part of Puppet. The Educational Puppet Theatre of Virtual Worlds,Periodic Progress Report, unpublished.Google Scholar
  13. Wilshire, B. (1982) Role Playing and Identity. The Limits of Theatre as Metaphor. Bloomington, IL: Indiana Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Torunn Kjølner
  • Niels Lehmann

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations