Zoom Theatre closed it's first production and audience feedback included “blown away”, “superb", "highly recommend”, “inspired”, "absorbing! Don’t miss it”, "a new way to tell stories". It was great weekend of live performance over the web!
Not all feedback was positive. Some audience members were distracted by sound coming from other audience microphones. Matching lighting looks was not acheived, even though we used the same instruments in both actor locations. Spotty internet caused a few sound cues to misfire. Something was tweaked every night (especially audience instructions) and every night got better and more solid as the cast and crew grew more confident with this new medium.
Overall though, it was great weekend of live performance over the web!
Three critical components are core to Zoom Theatre.
- First is that every performance is live for a limited, pre-registered audience.
- Second is that shows are staged specifically for webcam presentation to take advantage of strengths and minimize the weaknesses of this medium.
- Third is the audience can choose to fully participate in the show by opening their mics. This brings the audience into the event so that the actors can hear them laugh and cry and clap right along with them.
While there are many technical and aesthetic challenges, there have also been some pleasant surprises. Being able to work with actors in different states, low cost to produce and a 3 week production calendar are just a few.
The next Zoom Theatre production will be Duncan Mcmillian's LUNGS staring Amber Collins Crane and Gregory Crane. This will be a case of two actors in the same room (since they are married and sheltering together) with the director, crew and audience all remote.
I’m sensing that this may be one of the few ways to present live theatre for many months to come.