Yesterday we had our first rehearsal, together at last in real time, and in real space.
It’s hard to quantify the difference, but I’ll try. We no longer need to rush back to the computer screen when we feel the need to make a strong point to each other, or just remember that the other person can’t see us if we move too far away from the webcam. We don’t have to stop and restart Skype every time the sound or vision goes down. We don’t have a constant whistle in the background!
Most significant of all, is the sense of the unique human presence in the room, and the particular energy emanating from that individual presence. It has an effect, physically, on the performers – and I suspect the director also – that is just not there when working online. This is a challenge for the emerging medium of live, online performance, if it is also to be developed and rehearsed online. It has something to do with the very essence of live theatre.
Of course, it’s possible to compare online performance with film and tv. But in those cases, the performers were present in real time and space when they were filmed. To create performance from scratch, with only the possibility of working online is a whole new ball game, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves – preferably from the inside!