It is valid to say that the rapid advancement in technology has subsequently influenced changes in forms of art such as music, literature, film and theatre. Within theatre, technology has affected aspects of sound, costume and set design, have presented machines as an extension of man and even eliminated the human actor in performance. As a future educator who grew up surrounded by theatre and believes that it is necessary for every human to experience, I find it difficult to convince the importance of it to my friends and am interested in finding a way to mend the gap between theatre and our generation. This past fall, I saw a performance of Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, which encouraged the use of social media during the show. In a world where social media can be accessed in almost every situation, I believe that the theatre is one of the only places that still enforces the etiquette to not use technology during a performance. This experience sparked the question in me whether the internet can serve as a medium for live performance in relation to theatre. The attention span of a person is becoming shorter as we gain more accessibility. Theatre is done for the audience, so can social media be integrated into that experience just as it is integrated in practically every part of our daily lives? Would integrating social media and the internet into theatre make the audience more engaged because of the interactive exchange or less engaged because their attention would be divided?
Exploring ways to bring theatre in the virtual space
To create theatre for the 21st century generation where technology is integral in our daily lives
Questions and Ideas
– If we provide a way for the audience to interact with the show and actors (such as with twitter), perhaps their input could change the outcome or the conclusion of the show.
– The internet can serve as a stage through virtual worlds, Skype, chatrooms, twitter, etc.
– What happens if we can record and watch performances online?
– Perhaps making the audience learn about the characters through Facebook, Instagram, etc before a performance and using Soundcloud, Vimeo, Flickr and a virtual chatroom as a performance stage?
There is a theatre company in Philadelphia called New Paradise Laboratories, who is dedicated to bringing theatre to the connected generation. They created a show called Fatebook, where the cast developed Facebook accounts with different identities where the audience can follow their interactions with one another. The finale includes all the characters meeting at a party.
The theatre company also produced Extremely Public Displays of Privacy, which is a three act play all available online. The first act zooms in on how the two main characters first meet on Chatroulette. The actors had to be their characters for a full year, where they had to embody their role through social media accounts. She said that the different forms of social media were just various creative outlets that contributed to her character development. The second act takes place in the Philadelphia Park, so audience members could download a 45 minute Soundcloud file that guides them through the Park or even watch it on Youtube. The third act takes place in a black box theatre, which ultimately brings the audience member physically into a performance (which is the artistic objective of this project).
I find myself going on Facebook and spending hours at a time. It’s amazing how much you can learn about a person you have never met before (on a superficial and deeper level) just by going on their profile. It can even be treated as a game to find out information on someone just based on how well you can navigate through Facebook. I want to explore Facebook specifically as a medium for theatre.