Streaming Theatre

Started by scenicdesign71, May 07, 2020, 12:27 am

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DiveMilw

Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jun 30, 2020, 12:35 pmI suppose it's worth buying a month's worth of access to check this out; compared to theatre tickets, it's not too shabby a deal.
Plus, you get lots of Muppets and The Mandalorian and Forky Asks a Question and so much more!
I no longer long for the old view!

scenicdesign71

Jul 01, 2020, 08:07 am #16 Last Edit: Jul 01, 2020, 08:37 am by scenicdesign71
Sorry for any tonal whiplash, swiveling from Muppets to Covid Ground Zero, but I just read the email blast for this and it does look interesting:

Coming from the Public, a week from today (click the link for details):

https://publictheater.org/productions/season/1920/the-line

"THE LINE is a new play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen created in the award-winning documentary style that brought you The Exonerated, Aftermath, and Coal Country.  Crafted from firsthand interviews with New York City medical first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, THE LINE cuts through the media and political noise to reveal the lived experiences of frontline medical workers in New York and their battle to save lives in a system built to serve the bottom line."

Just to belabor a point, as I'm always fond of doing: the play's title, and the pivot from "frontline" to "bottom line," strike me as elegant, especially for a work that can only just have been developed over the past two or three months at most.  Blank and Jensen (and/or the Public's marketing copywriters) surely aren't the first to have thought of this particular formulation, in one context or another -- corporate jargon has linked the two terms as part of its standard self-justifying blather for at least a decade -- but still.


DiveMilw

Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jul 01, 2020, 08:07 amSorry for any tonal whiplash, swiveling from Muppets to Covid Ground Zero, but I just read the email blast for this and it does look interesting:

Coming from the Public, a week from today (click the link for details):

https://publictheater.org/productions/season/1920/the-line

"THE LINE is a new play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen created in the award-winning documentary style that brought you The Exonerated, Aftermath, and Coal Country.  Crafted from firsthand interviews with New York City medical first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, THE LINE cuts through the media and political noise to reveal the lived experiences of frontline medical workers in New York and their battle to save lives in a system built to serve the bottom line."

Just to belabor a point, as I'm always fond of doing: the play's title, and the pivot from "frontline" to "bottom line," strike me as elegant, especially for a work that can only just have been developed over the past two or three months at most.  Blank and Jensen (and/or the Public's marketing copywriters) surely aren't the first to have thought of this particular formulation, in one context or another -- corporate jargon has linked the two terms as part of its standard self-justifying blather for at least a decade -- but still.


original music composition by Aimee Mann!!!!



I no longer long for the old view!

DiveMilw

I think some historical show started streaming today but I'm fining it difficult to find out any details.    ;D
I no longer long for the old view!

scenicdesign71

Jul 05, 2020, 09:21 pm #19 Last Edit: Jul 05, 2020, 10:19 pm by scenicdesign71
Quote from: DiveMilw on Jul 03, 2020, 05:17 pmI think some historical show started streaming today but I'm fining it difficult to find out any details.    ;D

I think I know the one you mean -- it is a pity they haven't publicized it better.  ;)

I'll admit I stayed up Thursday night to watch the Hamilfilm almost as soon as it began streaming.  And I'm sure I'll watch it several more times over the next four weeks.  Uniquely for me, among filmed-theatre performances, this one captures the show at a point in time very close to when I saw it live: in the month or so between Hamilton's Tony sweep and the beginnings of its original B'way cast's dispersal.  It's just as I remember -- or better, since even the house seat I lucked into can't compare with Kail's roaming camera, tight close-ups and occasional Busby Berkeley aerial views of David Korins's nested revolves.  The chemistry of that original cast is captured beautifully, and I look forward to geeking out on staging details that I haven't until now had the chance to study closely.

In other news, Tartuffe is now staying online until July 12.


scenicdesign71


scenicdesign71

Jul 23, 2020, 05:40 am #21 Last Edit: Jul 29, 2020, 09:56 am by scenicdesign71
I missed the Irish Rep's Molly Sweeney back in May, but I very much enjoyed their "performance on screen" of The Weir last night, currently scheduled to run through Saturday (donation is "suggested," but registration is required regardless; click the link for details).

It's the smoothest execution I've seen so far of a certain kind of streaming performance, captured on Zoom (I'm assuming) but pre-recorded and edited, with full costumes and props, scenic backgrounds and blocking all polished to a high-enough sheen that it's possible to forget that these actors (flawless, every one) are not in the same room together.  (The greenscreen work is smoother than usual, too; and the performers' subtle and specific eyelines -- even when imperfectly-framed, in a small handful of instances -- are a blessed improvement on the usual Zoom convention of everyone looking straight into the camera or occasionally peering across the grid at one another, Brady Bunch-style, for a dab of self-conscious humor).  While not literally indistinguishable from a pre-pandemic, studio-shot TV performance, this Weir is a significant step toward that goal, directed, acted and edited with remarkable skill and nuance. The remaining logistical hurdles -- sidestepped here with such unfussy tact and aplomb that one might forget just how substantial they are -- are direct physical interaction with the set (we see people head for the door, but then cut away and hear it close behind them, with the actual visual opening-and-closing left to our imagination) and wide composite shots with two or more performers realistically inhabiting the same visual space at the same time (which this production eschews altogether -- justifiably, on technical grounds and arguably on artistic ones as well; see below).

Under normal circumstances, viewed through the lens of long-established motion-picture convention, these limitations might seem notably awkward.  And from the opposite angle, there's an argument to be made against the singular goal of making Zoom performances indistinguishable from traditional film or TV productions.  Formally speaking, there's nothing groundbreaking or experimental happening here: from the script to the visual language, this Weir's basic impulse is toward cinematic naturalism -- not inappropriately, though even within that realm, this would be a distinctly staid and unshowy example of the form.

But given the givens -- these aren't normal circumstances (and The Weir isn't about formal ground-breaking; it's a beautifully-wrought exploration of the oldest of old-fashioned narrative pleasures: direct first-person storytelling) -- this is by far the deftest example I've yet seen of Zoom-performance-making-you-forget-that-it's-Zoom-performance. The production does an impressive job of mapping out the form's current limitations and working diligently within them to convert potential liabilities into virtues.  McPherson's savor-able script, a talky, monologue-y story about lonely people spinning yarns to keep one another company, is both ideal for the current moment and an apt candidate for this kind of treatment: over the course of 110 intermissionless minutes, the characters' literal isolation onscreen (even while dropped convincingly into a shared virtual background) builds a subliminal tension and melancholy which resonate nicely with the play's own structure and atmosphere.  The Rep has done very well by the playwright indeed, with a remarkably sensitive and successful contribution to this new genre -- at any rate, this Weir ranks high among my personal favorites so far.

I remain highly curious as to what others will continue to do with the larger genre (of "Zoom performance") in a less-naturalistic mode.  But I do have a soft spot for both the aesthetic and the technique of naturalism.  And as a theatre person whose bills in recent years have been paid entirely through film and TV work (where naturalism, broadly speaking, is the default), shows like this one interest me especially as teeny-tiny glimpses into how all three disciplines might inform and interact with one other to address the storytelling challenges that now face us all.


scenicdesign71

Jul 29, 2020, 09:28 am #22 Last Edit: Jul 29, 2020, 09:59 am by scenicdesign71
Manual Cinema is back, with a virtual 10-year retrospective running through August 23: four shows streaming for free (a different show each week), plus a live-streamed fundraiser on August 22.  Click the link above for more info.

I sometimes refer to the group as "shadow puppeteers" when I'm trying (on rare occasions) to be succinct, but that label barely scratches the surface of what they do -- puppetry, yes, but blended with theatre, music, animation and live-action film in a delightful 21st-century mashup using mostly 20th-century (and older) technology.

Still not sure what that means?  The NYT did a wonderful feature on them last week, which explains in more detail:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/23/theater/manual-cinema-puppets-retrospective.html

But what it really means is: WATCH.  ;D


scenicdesign71

Jul 29, 2020, 11:28 pm #23 Last Edit: Aug 01, 2020, 05:14 pm by scenicdesign71
There's also been some recent buzz around Manual Cinema's work on the upcoming Candyman sequel produced by Jordan Peele and directed by Nia DaCosta.

Presumably not coincidentally, MC has been proudly Chicago-based for its entire ten-year existence (though they tour regularly, which is how I encountered them in NYC in 2015, and have seen them here several times since) -- and the 1992 Candyman, though adapted from a Liverpool-set Clive Barker short story, was (like its 2020 sequel) centered around Chicago's storied Cabrini-Green public housing projects.

Their puppet teaser is truly haunting.  Dreamlike, beautifully rendered, pinpoint-topical (which is to say, disturbingly not-topical-at-all: could the idea of systemic racism be any more subtly-yet-sharply conveyed than by keeping the puppeteers' hands visible throughout?), and resourceful not only in terms of the Chicago connection but also in the form's echo of Kara Walker's seminal silhouette-cutouts.  (The film's protagonist is a present-day African-American visual artist whose work likewise deals with race and violence).


scenicdesign71

Jul 31, 2020, 02:08 pm #24 Last Edit: Aug 01, 2020, 05:22 pm by scenicdesign71
Maybe read this before watching:
https://thetheatretimes.com/russian-theatre-stages-the-cherry-orchard-using-minecraft/


Utterly daft, but worth a look if you've got twenty minutes to spare (there's some front-of-house exploration of the meticulously Lego-ized Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater before the performance begins; and it's fun watching the Minecraft cast get carpet-bombed with pixellated flowers during the curtain call afterward).

I recommend turning on YouTube's closed-caption and auto-translate features.  If your memory of Chekov's plot details is as fuzzy as mine... well, the wacky auto-subtitling won't actually help much, but it does add another dimension to the delightful surreality of the experience.

Still... more broadly speaking, I suspect there's an oddly plausible Cherry Orchard lurking under the deadpan japery (and extreme abridgment, obviously).  My admiration for the [diegetic? "onstage"?] set design -- with its towering upstage trees in bloom being steadily razed by workmen to reveal a panorama of newly-built dachas -- is genuine.  And Ranevskaya crying herself a river of tears on which to exit (through the orchestra pit?) is loopily inspired.


scenicdesign71

Aug 02, 2020, 09:56 am #25 Last Edit: Aug 03, 2020, 10:58 am by scenicdesign71
Back to Manual Cinema -- they're hosting Facebook Live talkbacks each Saturday night for the duration of the "retrospectacular", with each conversation centering around whichever show they're streaming that week.

Last night's panel was very interesting indeed, focusing on the first production in the series (Lula Del Rey, streaming through tomorrow afternoon) and featuring four of MC's five co-Artistic Directors shedding light on the elaborately intricate, handmade process by which they make their "movies" live each night before a theatre audience.

I suppose there must be those who could fail to find that process fascinating, though I don't really see how.  Meanwhile, us geeks can wallow in the nitty-gritty details, from puppet-eyelashes to foley effects, nose-acting, and the influence of Wes Anderson.  Well worth 45 minutes of your time.



scenicdesign71

#WhileWeBreathe: A Night of Creative Protest

Featuring (among many other remarkable performers) the sometime regular on my last TV job, and star of the one I was working on when the world shut down (but am hoping to eventually rejoin), Ms. Patina Miller.


DiveMilw

Trifles by Susan Glaspell --Live Audio Production

Peninsula Players and Chicago Radio Theatre present a live audio production. Performed and recorded 100% live from six closets and desks in Chicago! Featuring live foley sounds by Ele Matelan and original music by Christopher Kriz! Stephanie Diaz, Erica Elam, Greg Vinkler, Kevin Christopher Fox and Neil Friedman are the cast in this groundbreaking classic one act mystery from Pulitzer Prize winner Susan Glaspel. Running time: approximately 33 minutes.

It's a little rough at the beginning as they navigate the Zoom platform.  It contains one of my favorite moments when, as we can see them onscreen, someone says they aren't streaming yet.

The Peninsula Players is America's oldest resident summer theater located and is located in Door County, WI,  They have been operating for over 80 years.
I no longer long for the old view!