Performing ‘Readings’: The Interplay of Theatre And Digital Comics In Tezuka
The article investigates the intriguing interplay of digital comics and live-action elements in a detailed performance analysis of TeZukA (2011) by choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. This dance theatre production enacts the life story of Osamu Tezuka and some of his famous manga characters, interweaving performers and musicians with large-scale projections of the mangaka’s digitised comics. During the show, the dancers perform different ‘readings’ of the projected manga imagery: e.g. they swipe panels as if using portable touchscreen displays, move synchronously to animated speed lines, and create the illusion of being drawn into the stories depicted on the screen. The main argument is that TeZukA makes visible, demonstrates and reflects upon different ways of delivering, reading and interacting with digital comics. In order to verify this argument, the paper uses ideas developed in comics and theatre studies to draw more specifically on the use of digital comics in this particular performance.