Medieval Theatre For First Internet Play
The ancient art of drama enters the 21st century this week in the world's first Internet theatrical production, which shows live on the web on three nights.
Actor and director Yannick Bressan, 28, adapted for today's Internet audience the 15th century play The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen about the Catholic Church's first martyred saint.
The one-actor show has numerous entrances and exits in order to keep short-attention-span viewers glued to their computer screens.
In a new twist to the term "interactive theater," viewers can criticize the play four times per act by clicking on colorful squares that represent how much they like or dislike the play. Their feedback will influence how Bressan acts out the scenes.
"If I have 80 percent of the viewers with me, I will not recite (the lines) in the same way as if I have 80 percent against me," Bressan said, pointing out that "the text will not change. The martyr will still be martyred."
Although the artistic medium is new, Bressan insisted he wanted to maintain the play's integrity.
"I do not want to add things on the Internet. I prefer to concentrate on the sentiment and on the human race's place on the Internet, to reflect on new forms of the living arts," he said.
Bressan believes the medieval religious play is still relevant to today's audience.
"It is almost sad to see that according to this text, written 500 years ago, telling a story that is 2,000 years old, we are still at the same point, humanly speaking," he stated.
The new medium has given Bressan "another appreciation of play and public space."
Bressan tapes the play at the Fabrique de Theatre in Strasbourg. The tape is then encoded in Karlsruhe, Germany before going out on the Internet.
But even saints cannot overcome the limitations of modern technology: E-toile's modems only allow 60 simultaneous connections for viewers.
"We reach the limits of the medium" with this project, Bressan said.
The Strasbourg association E-toile, co-founded by Bressan, produces the play, which shows on its website November 28, 29 and 30.
E-toile experimented with putting the performing arts on the web in September when it ran a dance production over the Internet with 918 connections. – Albawaba.com.
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