The Medium

January 26 – 29, 1995
Anne Bogart
90 minutes
Actor's Theatre of Louisville (Presenter)
Michitomo Shiohara (Lighting Designer)
Andrew J Kranis (Lighting Designer Assistant)
Gabriel Berry (Costume Designer)
Anita Stewart (Set Designer Assistant)
Darron L. West (Sound Designer)
Kieran Jason Hackett (Stage Manager)
Julie A. Richardson (Stage Manager Assistant/Associate)
P. Jennifer Dana (Producer)
Marshall Mcluhan (1911-1980) gained his reputation as "oracle of the electronic age" by arguing that human societies are influenced more by forms of communication than by content. "All media work us over completely," Mcluhan wrote, "They are so pervasive in their personal, political economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the message. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments." Born in Alberta, Canada, Mcluhan moved from graduate studies in literature in the 1930s to a 1940s post-graduate fascination with American popular culture. In 1963, the University of Toronto acknowledged his ascendance to "guru of communications" by naming him the first director for its Center for Culture and Technology. Mcluhan 's two major works were published in the 1960s: "The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man" and "Understanding Media: The Extension of Man." In these, Mcluhan argued that electronic media of the modern era are reshaping civilization by "moving us out of the age of the visual (brought about by the rise of the printing press) into the age of the aural and tactile." This redistribution of sensory awareness signified, for Mcluhan, a return to our tribal roots. Also, the immediacy of electronic media promised a return to our tribal village, but on a global scale. Hailed as a prophet and dismissed as a charlatan, Mcluhan provoked passionate response with his literary/graphic "probes." One scholar, james P. Carey thought of Mcluhan as a poet whose work "represents a secular prayer to technology, a magical incarnation of the gods, designed to quell one's fears that, after all, the machines may be taking over... Mcluhan himself is a medium and that is his message."
"Since Sputnik put the globe in a 'proscenium arch,' and the global village has been transformed into a global theater, the result, quite literally, is the use of public space for 'doing one's thing."' -Marshall Mcluhan