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Shaping History – interaction and its re-enactment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Spencer Hazel


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With our fancy for repackaging historical moments as contemporary drama, what dangers are there for our recollections being reshaped by watching actors portraying these real-world events? However talented actors are in impersonating their real-life counterparts, they are not called on to study and simulate the events in every interactional detail. Simulated interaction of any kind has been shown to be profoundly different from equivalent encounters in non-simulated settings. Although aiming for an air of authenticity, the often-subliminal choices made in how actors speak, move and interact can differ subtly but substantially from their real-life counterparts, even where they have recordings of the actual events they are re-enacting. These small differences in performance, which can be studied side-by-side the original documentary footage, give us insight into how the creative team behind the dramatizations shape a viewer’s understanding of the initial historical event and the people involved. The presentation discusses a number of cases, and considers whether in the process, history becomes reimagined, and re-remembered.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hazel S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: ECLS Seminar Series

Year of Conference: 2017

Online publication date: 09/05/2017

Acceptance date: 09/05/2017

Publisher: School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University