Dr. Jon Croose’s professional output

Ear Trumpet: investigations in ‘sonic geology.’

– Published 7th Dec 16

Gobbledegook Theatre’s Ear Trumpet is a site-responsive outdoor theatre performance in which a team of “sonic investigators” have discovered pockets of sound, trapped in the Earth beneath our feet.

The show allows audiences to listen, using “ear trumpets”, a collection of recycled trumpets, trombones and gramophone horns that have been re-purposed as listening devices.

In this paper, Dr Jon Croose describes the aurality of Ear Trumpet through a qualitative, practice-led methodology of first-person performance-as-research, interviews with the artists, and analysis of audience response.

The essay considers Augoyard & Torgue’s notion of ‘sharawadji’ in Ear Trumpet in terms of ‘sonic effect’ (2006, xv; 8) arising, the author argues, from its encouragement of ‘the consciousness of early listening,’ (2006, 13) and through a combination of the sonic effects of anamnesis, de-contextualisation, de-localisation, attraction, phototonie and quotation.

The paper considers how Ear Trumpet positions the relationship between ‘physical environment, the socio-cultural milieu, and the individual listener’ (2006, xiii) and reveals how participants’ suspension of disbelief in the pseudo-science of ‘sonic geology’ allows them to posit the possibility of multiple ‘historic dimensions of sound’, in a way that reframes their everyday soundscape and ‘magically and suddenly transports [them] elsewhere’ (2006, xv).

Finally, it raises questions about the effect of sharawadji in terms of the tension between theatrical illusion, “belief” and critical distance among audiences, and considers a possible politics of aurality in performance contexts.

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Publication details

Publication status Published
Refereed 1
Publication title Theatre and Performance Design
Publishers name Routledge
Volume Vol. 2 , Iss. 3-4, 2016
Number of pages 17
Page range 233–250
ISSN ISSN 2332 2551