up close and personal… #PlatShift blogpost

15 Jun

Last week I discovered a new thing, a new idea maybe? one that allows two different acting styles, to be incorporated into one piece of theatre that also allows better performance capture and subsequent livestream delivery across a range of devices.

Jamie Shelton rehearsing

We were working in Portugal, in a converted pig farm near Palmela, the home of the internationally acclaimed theatre company, Teatro O Bando. We were there as part of our Platform Shift project with 11 other companies from 9 different European countries. This particular piece of work was part of a scratch performance as part of our research and development.

We were developing a piece called / Green / Amber / Red / which focused on a young woman called Amber, and her relationships with the people she knows outside the world she now finds herself in.

As part of our work we created a dual sectioned performing space, with Jamie Shelton (Max) playing directly into a camera lens, which projected his image into the other section of the space onto a wall, right in front of Natalie Davies (Amber) who was sorting out clothes on the floor.

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This played with the idea of ‘FaceTime intimacy’ where we reveal our thoughts and personal information directly to each other via our socially connected devices. The filmic and televisual performance style of Jamie existed in the space that Natalie was working in. Her direct and real time interaction with him across the distance, whilst the audience were watching on either side of her created a really moving and electric connection.

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The projection was in the same space as the actor playing the character. So we could watch and hear both live, but for Natalie she was focused on the image on the wall as if on her phone and it was in that gap that we, as an audience were included into that space of intimate conversation between both protagonists.

The performance to camera was appropriate for that medium and as such would translate really well across to a live-streamed capture version for an on screen delivery.  This existed in the theatre world for Natalie and her performance was geared to that space. Both co-existed and connected in a way that opens up new possibilities and ideas for future work in this area for this new piece of work.

Marcus Romer June 15th 2015

Big thanks also to Ben Pugh for his photos and his video capture work as part of this, and to Natalie Davies and Jamie Shelton, and the rest of the Pilot Theatre team.

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