After hearing about the recent research and development that will be going into the role of the internet within theatre, I came to wonder to what extent the internet can be involved.
Is there scope for back-story to be developed through social media sites, ie. characterised twitter pages (thus proving an elaborate online version of a programme that can simultaneously solidify the idea of character and setting to both the potential audience, and the actors)?
Is the presence of a piece online enough to generate more interest? Take Waking Exploits, and their 'Serious Money' performance; they seemed to really hit the marketing on this community site specifically, with online features such as rehearsal videos available for all users to see.
However, these ideas don't challenge the form of theatre itself. So, after some quickly (badly) done research; I stumbled across Better Left Unsaid [betterleftunsaid.tv], a New York-based performance that broadcast live online from the theatre. Now, we've had a few of these 'broadcast' performances in Cardiff over the last few years in the cinemas, but how does the idea of internet streaming contrast with this?
One, you should be able to charge a nominal fee on entry to the allocated site, and from there have access to the live stream. It's like paying to go to the theatre, but with an endless possibility of viewers, and unending audience interaction before, during and after - via social media sites.
Now, with this, my only conundrum is that it may not be defined as theatre. If it is a regular performance, with an audience inside a theatre - but with extra cameras there, that the actors are told to ignore; then in my view it would be 'theatre'.
However, allow televisual influence on the performance (ie. close-ups, direct camera interaction from the actors), and it becomes a live internet television project.
And, for a hybrid, and final quick ponder - what if you were to remove the audience entirely, and perform - saying for pure hypothesis (not that I have a solid idea already or anything!) - on a site-specific location, in a complete and utter realist style of performance?
What do you have? Internet Drama?
Has it been done before? I don't know.
Would it work? I'm going to find out.
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