Friday, March 19, 2021


19 March 2021

Over the past year live theatre has had to move online. It has been great to watch recordings of a range of stage productions during lockdown, but it has been particularly interesting to see theatre companies starting to explore the potential of streaming video in innovative ways – such as Henry Filloux-Bennett’s online theatre adaptation of Jonathan Coe’s novel ‘What a Carve Up’ (reviewed here in November 2020). The Royal Shakespeare has been piloting the use of digital technology in theatre for some years. Greg Doran’s 2016 production of ‘The Tempest’, in collaboration with Intel and in association with the Imaginarium Studios (reviewed here in November 2016), featured a digital avatar of Ariel, driven by live motion-capture from the body of the actor Mark Quartley, allowing him to appear simultaneously on stage and projected onto a series of moving curtains. Last Sunday we watched the new RSC online production ‘Dream’, directed by Robin McNicholas. ‘Dream’ uses live motion capture to bring the fairies and sprites of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to life. We saw the actors entering a purpose-built studio in Portsmouth Guildhall before seeing their digital projections interacting in an animated dreamscape. The resulting 30-minute performance was beautiful, with some stunning movement (directed by Sarah Perry). But watching it on screen it was hard to see what it gained from being a live motion capture performance: I found myself just thinking of it as an animated film. It’s an interesting addition to the ongoing debate about the definition of ‘theatre’ at a time when almost everything is viewed on a screen. ‘Dream’ is a high quality production (with music by Esa-Pekka Salonen) but it is obviously an experimental piece, demonstrating the potential offered by technology. You can book free tickets for future live performances of ‘Dream’ at:

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home