The Medium

January 1996
Anne Bogart
Out There Festival
90 minutes
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."

The SARATOGA INTERNATIONAL THEATER INSTITUTE (SITI) is an ensemble-based company whose three ongoing components are the creation of new work, the training of young theatre artists, and a commitment to forming partnerships with international collaborators. The SITI company is comprised of J. Ed Araiza, Will Bond, Leon lngulsrud, Ellen Lauren, Kelly Maurer, Jefferson Mays, Tom Nelis, Barney (.; 'Hanlon, Karenjune Sanchez, Megan Wanlass, Stephen Webber, and Darron L. West. SITI was founded in 1992 by Anne Bogart and T adashi Suzuki to redefine and revitalize contemporary theater in thP United States through an emphasis on international cultural exchange and collaboration. Originally envisioned as a summer institute in Saratoga Springs, New York, SITI has expanded to encompass a year-round program based in New York City with a summer season in Saratoga. SITI believes that contemporary American theatre must necessarily incorporate artists from around the world and learn from the resulting cross-cultural exchange of dance, music, art, and performance experiences. THE MEDIUM was voted best visiting production at the 199 5 Irish Life Dublin Theatre Festival. SITI 1s SMALL LIVES/BIG DREAMS will be featured in this summer1s Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta. For more information on SITI performances, Viewpoint training, Suzuki training, the summer institute at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, or the recently published book Anne Bogart: Viewpoints, contact Managing Director Ruth Ann Nightengale at the SITI office (212) 873-2155 or write to SITI at 236 West 78th Street, New York, NY 10024, USA. E-mail:

The New York City premiere of THE MEDIUM was presented by New York Theatre Workshop. The development of THE MEDIUM was made possible in part by the generous support of Arts International, the AT&T Foundation, and the Japan-U.S. Freindship Commission. SITI also receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council On the Arts. Tonight's production is made possible through the generous support of the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation
"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