“In three months, we raised more funds to give to worthy causes than we did in doing three years of performing in Kolkata. Geography is now history, as far as [email protected] goes,” Dr Paul Lopez, Festival Co-Director, Atlanta, USA quipped. Did they find the quality of live theatre in online shows?
“Body language is a crucial part of theatre as it is with [email protected] The audience and the actor must be able to sense each other for it to be genuine theatre. The Festival that we’ve put together showcases [email protected] from around the world. The audience can sense the actor and the actor can sense the audience. All performances are in real-time, though they will be happening from different parts of the world. More than 90 per cent of the performance is not pre-recorded. It is as genuine as the theatre that the Greeks pioneered. The actors feed off the audience’s reactions. [email protected] does not shut the audience out,” Roy adds from Kolkata.
What about the digital divide? “Online [email protected], we feel, is more accessible than proscenium theatre but less accessible than street theatre. There is already a divide in theatre. Those who can afford to hire halls with sophisticated lights, sound and acoustics. And those who can’t,” he explains.
One of the finalists, from India, has actors who will be performing in Tamil, but the world will be able to understand them for two reasons. Body language is the primary language of [email protected] And Zoom allows for subtitles (called Closed Captioning) to be done live. These four actors from Tamil Nadu, from marginalized sections of society, will now have a global audience, without the costs of travel, Roy points out.