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  • Justin Cliffe

LIFE COACH - Making a show online

Updated: May 20

The-maybe-new-normal.


When NTW put the Network call out they said that making theatre in quarantine would be exactly like making theatre normally, only different in every way, and they weren't wrong.


How so? Well, there's still a team. Still a process. A schedule and in some respects a set. Still an idea at the core and an audience it's all moving towards.


However, it is also completely different. The audience are invisible and silent. Too often during lockdown have I performed spoken word or something short and held for the applause, to have those moments pierces through and remind me I'm still just in my living room. So then for me when performing live the connection is drastically dimmer. It's live but delayed. You're not able to touch anyone, move through space, manage the temperature of the room, or work closely with your audience. It's all only a pattern of volumes and symbols.


That being said, I have enjoyed the adaptation of the theatre makers lexicon. For LIFE COACH there is a digital-set, there's a front row and back row audience. There's a visual pre-show, a digital-stage manager and comms. You can 'spotlight' an actor. The rehearsal room is a rehearsal Zoom and the theatre is your chosen digital platform. We call the screen, the stage, and in a Webinar it's possible to bring an audience member on stage with you. I've also gotten some sort of a thrill out of examining and exploring the performance methodology. When we consider who we perform to in a room filled with people; the front row, the middle space, xyzzy circle, behind the fourth wall, back etc. It is really interesting to explore what is the most useful and meaningful performance method is when you acknowledge and accept that most audiences will be viewing you on a 4inch screen. Who should we perform for? This supposed and invisible audience who linger somewhere out there in the ether, or possibly for the tiny black-dot lens of our web cameras... after all it is the only real eye in the room.


It's weird, but there's something thrilling about it. It's daunting but there's something expansive about it. It's a challenge, and for me that's probably helpful.


When I applied for LIFE COACH to become a thing, it was about sharing something that the internet was continually telling me, and has been telling me a whole lot more during lockdown. In brief; GET BETTER, DO MORE, THE TIME IS NOW, CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Regardless of the fact that my life is changing, and all our lives are changing, it seemed the efficacy of social media had become to sell me an idea; the idea I'm not good enough. So I thought, fuck that. Let's burn these ideas to the ground.


Working with National Theatre Wales team has been ABSOLUTELY f*%king AMAZING and working with the mentorship of Nigel and Louise (of Nigel & Louise and SHUNT) has been a match made in heaven.


This is a blog from a process that is still on-going. Watch this space. Theres more to come.


JTC





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