The new concept of live fully interactive plays and shows we are now producing is interesting not just in the fact that the concept is a new way of presenting live entertainment but in that it opens up a whole new way of acting. Anyone familiar with the acting world will know that there is a huge difference in acting styles when performing on a stage and acting on TV or in film. We have discovered that when performing in a live show that is broadcast over the internet and when your audience are as much live as the cast, it is an odd experience as it feels like being on stage and in a TV studio at the same time and the acting techniques of both mediums begin to blur at the edges and create a new performing art technique.
An example is that one does not project their voice or performance as one would on a live stage but rather bring the performance level down to suit the camera, but unlike when acting to camera, in this instance one has to be still very much aware of the audience and play to them. The actor needs to be aware of the audiences reactions and adjust depending on reactions. Here we perform as if in a TV studio, whilst at the same time performing as if we were live on stage. Another example is that in a TV scenario the director may insert a close up to emphasise a given point but on stage there is no such thing as a close up. The audience watching on a screen are well used to watching a film where there are multiple shots of a given scene but on stage the same view remains constant throughout. It is therefore important when performing on our stage that the actor physically creates the impression of multiple shots. This is achieved by the actor going close up to the camera in order to achieve a close-up effect. This in turn can be described as the actor walking down stage to communicate and emphasis a given point with the audience. Sometimes multiple cameras are used but here, they are not merely cameras but another member of the audience. On a film set we ignore the camera and instead let the camera "intrude" on our performance, but with live online performances those cameras become other members of the same audience the actor is aware of on the huge monitor in front of the stage. It may well seem that such performances are heavily weighed down with the actor requiring to be overly technical in their performance, but this is not true. In fact this makes the actor more aware of the audience and gives loads of new avenues to explore in communicating the narrative in perhaps a more convincing and believable way. One could say it is like having the audience actually on stage with you as part of the play and you have to include them in everything you just as you do with the other actors on the stage.
We are only at the beginning of this new concept in live online shows but already the possibilities for the future and opportunities, challenges and discovery in performance are very much there waiting to be explored. This can only be an exiting adventure for us just waiting to happen.