Christina and I are currently engaged in an artistic experiment, which the actors involved keep referring to as: theatre on a TV schedule.
Why? Here are the details:
- 5 days of rehearsal. 3 hours a day.
- The scenes are 30 minutes. (that ratio of rehearsal to length is not near the theatre regular)
- They are fully memorized and staged.
- In two rooms of an apartment. Close quarters with the audience.
- When your audience is two feet away, acting is a little different (more like TV, less like theatre)
It is a huge experiment for the actors but also in what an audience can handle. Things are turned on their head. The audience is standing and the actors are sittin’ (some times). The space is cramped. The scenes are not… safe. There is a baby, physical violence, drugs, sex, guns, etc – like, in your lap.
And my favorite part, it is not just about theatre. It is a party, with beer and mingling. It is an art gallery, the walls are lined with background information on the region the play takes place (Serbia), the creatives involved and information on the event. Finally, there is theatre, at specific intervals the theatre punctuates the evening – a little surprise to the party.
One of the hardest parts of the entire experiment – the logistics. We have spent weeks mulling over the best way to allow the audience to move around, to enter the party, to follow a path-do they choose or do we choose for them, do they get a menu, do they have a… some many things to think about.
What we decided on – the timeline (letters are groups of guests, R# aligns with a room of the apartment):
- 7:00 – the first group (A) arrives (10 people). They mingle for 30 minutes (R3).
- 7:30 – the second group (B) arrives (10 people).
- 7:45 – both scenes (R1&R2) run simultaneously (A@R1, B@R2)
- 8:15 – scenes are finished, there is mingling
- 8:30 – the third group (C) arrives (10 people).
- 8:45 – both scenes (R1&R2) run simultaneously (A@R2, B@R3, C@R1)
- 9:15 – both scenes complete – A has followed the journey, can leave or not
- 9:45 – both scenes (R1&R2) run simultaneously (A@R3, B@R1, C@R2).
- 10:15 – the theatre is finished, but the party continues until…