Sunday, January 18, 2009

This Weekend in the World of Theatre

It's been a surprisingly interesting weekend in the theatresphere. Here are the two things that caught my eye:

#1 - EXIT Stage Left

EXIT Stage Left is a new web-series about the fictional Lowry Theatre Company as they produce a play. On their website it is describe this way: "EXIT Stage left is a look at the men and women behind the curtain, from the auditions to opening night, a series with a bit for everyone, comedy, drama and touch of madness all coming from the stages of The Lowry Theater Company." It's free, online, and has 2 new webispodes a month (available on the 10th & 25th).

There are already two episodes online and you should definitely check them out if you have ever worked on a play or even seen a play, this is a funny (& only slightly exaggerated) look at what happens before the audience enters the theatre for the first time.

#2 - Portland Center Stage Live-Tweets Apollo

As micro-blogging site Twitter grows in popularity (both within the theatre community and the larger population), its application to the world of theatre is continuing to be explored. Personally I've been using Twitter and the #theatre group to connect with theatre artists & theatre lovers around the world, as well as "live-tweeting" shows that I've been working on. This weekend, Portland Center Stage invited a group of their twitter friends to sit in the balcony and tweet their responses to the show.

Looking over the comments from these audience members, a lot of it is criticism of the show, and a lot of it is inside comments - things that unless you've seen the show don't make a whole lot of sense.

But this excersize has certainly gotten the twitter theatre community talking about what role twitter could play in upcoming productions. Is there a way for audiences to live tweet a show & somehow use that as a part of the play? Would guided questions for your live-tweet audience members help the responses to make more sense? One friend suggested using it poll audiences & get fast feedback.


John Earl Robinson said...

Quantum Theatre in Pittsburgh did something like what your talking about. There's an article in LIVE DESIGN magazine about how they incorporated audience comments into a production of Shakespearre's Cymbeline.

SMLois said...

Just read the article you linked there - looks really interesting, but not the kind of thing that could easily be incorporated by multiple companies. I am impressed by their use of technology though.

lindsay said...

Twittering a play in progress is an interesting concept, definitely something a younger viewership might be interested in - they become part of the play in a way.

On the other hand, does it take away from the experience if the focus is on Twitter and not on the stage? Hmmm. I'm for both sides, which is of no help!

SMLois said...

Lindsay - I've thought a lot about how distracting it would be: I know it wouldn't work at my theatre unless the performance was announced to be a "live tweet" show so that everyone in the audience was anticipating it (we are alley style, so you can clearly see what half the audience is doing).

I noticed that some of the comments from Portland's go at thing said things like "It's hard to type in the dark" or "I'm getting too caught up in the play to twitter" or "Whenever I type I miss something."