“Traditional theatre” is inconceivable without life performances and immediate contact with the audience, but is there any decent alternative? Is it possible to record a performance and still keep the spirit of theatre?
While theatres have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic since September again in the Czech Republic and the opening has not been planned for this season yet, the NT Drama Prague searches for ways how to respond to the current situation and perform outside theatres. “Traditional theatre” is inconceivable without life performances and immediate contact with the audience, but is there any decent alternative? Is it possible to record a performance and still keep the spirit of theatre?
A play that is to be transformed into another medium must be “reinvented”: we take the stage performance as the basis but try to find a visual or acoustic expression that would communicate with the audience almost like if they were sitting in the theatre. On the other hand, we take it as an opportunity to break through the limits of the stage and create a riveting show outside the theatre building. This is the essence of the “Theatre Outside Theatre” project: new experience, new theatre.
Our successful plays Nightwork (directed by Jan Mikulášek) and For Beauty (directed by Daniel Špinar) has been re-created into specific audio-visual works of art, exceeding mere recorded performances, and are available to the spectators on-line (with English subtitles, naturally). An experimental project Eyewitness by the director Jiří Havelka presents a set of witness testimonies reflecting the historical responsibility of common people for major historic events – English and German subtitles will be available during April. An audio-performance You in My House for two spectators and an apartment by Jiří Austerlitz is online now in Czech and from May 1 also in English version.
Simultaneously, we intend to present a series of audio-walks, sound dramas and other theatrical forms, prepared by Czech artist and Drama students for our theatre.
The spring issue of the Prague Crossroads International Festival also takes a similar form, presenting foreign projects that can be performed under the existing restrictions as eg. one-to-one phone call Distant Thoughts by Dutch company Building Conversations or one-to-one silent performance in cafes Etiquette by Rotozaza.
All the above projects should help us to continue our theatrical work, and in particular to keep in touch with the audience and find out what we can offer them under the current circumstances.