UPDATE: The Role of the Viewer

In my introduction of the hyperessay, I expressed my belief that theatre should stick to traditional etiquettes and remain one of the only sacred places where social media accessibility is prohibited. Likewise, as I am interested in creating a theatre space on the internet, I think I also want to stick to traditional theatre and not create an innovative  way for two way interactions between the viewers and the actors. With that being said, the audience will still be active in the way they navigate throughout my space. I just want them to not have control over where the plot goes and just “enjoy the show”. Therefore, I am aiming towards a piece that does not require too much of a collaborative component while still encouraging participation from the audience. 

If I follow the route of presenting a narrative through a timeline/“friendship” between two people on Facebook, the role of the viewer would be to navigate through the profiles. In my mind, they would somewhat be detectives in figuring out the story between the two characters in which the ending would lead up to something open to their interpretation. It would be just two profiles that the viewers could explore through pictures, conversations, direct messages, etc. but as a director, I would not lead their explorations towards a specific ending. Therefore, each viewer’s experiences would be very different from each other.

If I follow the route of presenting a narrative through Skype conversations (which I am leaning towards in terms of interest), I think right now the role of the viewer would just be to sit back and watch the final product of the recordings. My next step for the final project right now would be experimenting using Skype. I want to create a narrative script about a long distance relationship and test out a recording of it. I also want to ask people to record their own personal Skype conversations, and see what comes from it. When Skyping with my friends and family lately, there have been many moments where the connection has cut out completely during important parts of the conversation or it lags and freezes at unflattering angles. It might be because this project has made me aware of these hindrances, but I realize that this happens quite a bit on Skype for me in my dorm room and that these moments are often more priceless/valuable than when staged. If I just record conversations between myself and others on Skype, I think there would be enough genuine moments of frustration and connection issues to get my narrative across about the difficulties of a long distance relationship.

I am also interested in testing the relationship between accessibility in technology and the quality of human interactions. Since accessibility is used as a delivery medium, it would be very effective to incorporate accessibility also into the narrative so that the story needs/depends on social media/chat programs in order to exist. With programs such as Skype and Facebook, it becomes so much easier to commit to a long distance relationship with someone. It no longer seems as though it would be a tough thing to have a relationship when all these programs makes it feel like that person is so close to you. Then, with accessibility not being an issue, then it is interesting to look at what other issues/excuses people use to avoid committing themselves in a long adistance relationship. For example, in Noah, when Noah’s girlfriend suddenly reveals her fears of being in a long distance relationship with Noah next year when he is attending a different school, he doubts her because he knows that there must be another reason why she is second guessing their relationship since Skype and Facebook are so integral in how they communicate with one another. In other words, the issue of accessibility can no longer be used to hide behind a reason not to be with another person, which then subsequently reveals the truth in a relationship.

For a while, I was struggling with finding a way to incorporate the viewer into the theatre as more than just an audience member. I definitely want to stray away from a linear narrative piece. Randall suggested one way of making it interactive/involving the viewer is to stray away from the idea of one final project and instead present my piece in a series of mini web-episodes on Youtube that would be put up once a day for a week. This way, the viewer would have the choice/take it upon themselves to go from episode to episode to keep up with the action. It also builds up suspense, keeps the audience engaged and provokes conversation (in a way, it’s the best way for “free advertisement” because you leave it up to the intrigued audience to promote awareness about it). I could also take it a step further and not film the project all at once. Instead, I could film the first few (to establish the characters and the relationship between them) and then encourage viewers to write on the comment section/do polls/give suggestions on what they want to see next.

One thought on “UPDATE: The Role of the Viewer”

  1. I love the idea of bringing theatre space online! being a student intending to minor in drama and theatre, I am excited to see your final project! You talked about recording skype conversations and let the audience watch it. which is interesting because daily conversations between people are private and personal and you are exposing it to the public. I was thinking instead of recording it, (which will become a past events..), how about making it live. the live performance could jump from different places where people are skyping each other, perhaps some talking about real personal or emotional stuffs will really evokes the viewer’s attention. or even random video conferencing with a stranger recording down their reaction will be priceless. (I am just throwing in ideas~~~)

    Anyway, your project reminds me of this artist where he committed (fake) suicide online, showing it to million of viewers online. It really question about the empathy level of people in our society now since only… 1 called the police. Is kinda like a theatre performance where he staged things up, awaiting the audience reactions.

    You can watch it here!

    and read about it here:

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