Noah J Nelson on Friday, Mar. 20th
We focus a lot here at Turnstyle on how digital technology changes the film industry, and how virtual reality is disrupting the entertainment industry as a whole.* Every so often we like to remind ourselves that the Internet has an impact on the traditional channels of culture that go beyond what’s hot in the headlines.
A good example of that is what’s happening this weekend as part of Polish Theatre Month in L.A..
The tradition of international cultural exchange between playhouses is a long one. Translating works and bringing them out of their native countries is a vital part of the theater world. What the immediacy of the ‘net provides is the opportunity for that cultural dialog to happen in real time, and in the dramatic language of the theatre.
On Saturday, March 21st, at 1PM at the Boston Court Theatre in Pasadena, LA’s Stage Raw and Warsaw’s Teatr Studio are presenting a Digital Play Festival where ten playlets–five from local LA playwrights and five from their counterparts in Poland–will be given a concert reading. The five-minute plays will be simulcast between the two theatres, and audiences in both countries will be able to see the event in a hybrid live/projected form. Each playlet is a reaction piece to a full length play from an emerging playwright in the other country, so that both content and form of the exchange are in harmony.
Simulcasts of cultural events fly under the radar here in the United States, but they happen all the time. For a while there the hot ticket was for the London production of Frankenstein that featured Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller switching off in the role of the Monster and the Doctor. Two TV Sherlocks playing another classic role in English literature, directed by Danny Boyle. I still kick myself for never having gone…save for that fact that as a simulcast it was always happening at weird times on a weekday.
If anything the Digital Play Festival is a better use of what is now relatively low-cost streaming technology. We see this kind of collaboration popping up, and it enables something beyond “next best thing to being there” consumption. It connects communities and provides a wider context for the work. That’s what the Internet we were promised in the 90s was all about.
This particular event is open to the public, which I’m going to have to assume translates into “free.” I actually think it would be cool if they had given people the option to just tune into the streams, which would expand the reach…but at the same time I get the desire to bring people to the theatre, and how prohibitive bandwidth costs could get depending on the streaming services the producers are relying on.
See what else is going on as part of Polish Theatre Month in L.A. by checking out this flier from Stage Raw.
Digital Play Festival, Sat. March 21st at 1PM. Boston Court Theatre 70 North Mentor Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106.
*Yes, that’s the Royal We. It’s just me here now. There’s no one to stop us this time. Bwhahaahaha.