Some Brief Afterthoughts from Elaborate Afterthought

03Jun09

Really sorry I couldn’t get to the SL meet-up. There was only one date/time offered and I was already committed then. But the log carried many good points and observations. It was in many ways quite a thorough review. Here are a few more points then to add from me:

The M.A. students were already working at a professional level within their area of expertise and continued to do so throughout the project. The Drama students were a very different group; several had not yet acquired any notion of what it is to work in a professional environment. A few however were ready to meet that challenge and they rose to the demands of the project; without them, we couldn’t have carried it off. Those few really deserve a bonus come Christmas time.

The Drama Department should, in my view, have linked to the project more directly, perhaps by having a member of staff who knew the individual students, maintaining contact with us as a team. This wouldn’t have involved anyone being present necessarily, it would just mean someone taking an interest and assisting with student attendance issues.

It was a great project to be part of and broadly speaking, we met our primary objectives, I think, thanks to the inventiveness and commitment of the core team. However, clearly the scope of the project was compromised a little by certain factors. The two primary factors were the issue of moving from space to space during the preparation, and then the tech breakdown on the performance day. As for the former, this affected things in a way I didn’t anticipate. There’s an example in the scene where the group of RL performers ‘taunt’ and ‘bully’ Barry in SL. The relationship between stage and screen was quite different in the two spaces. This substantially affected the nature of the dialogues improvised. What worked in one space didn’t quite work in the other, and vice versa.

The tech problems obviously meant we lost not just prep time on day three but also two key scenes in the show. Everyone did their best to solve the problems. Luckily we could still perform the majority of the show. It probably follows that in future shows, there needs be a technician on site ready to strategise around any problems such as loss of wireless connection.

The time constraints meant that we could, in a way, take more risks. There simply wasn’t time to try out lots of ideas and make selections. More or less every idea that was proposed and I heard, we included in the show (except possibly one idea where the RL performers had to dance..!). There may have been other ideas that weren’t presented to me or were just too rough in outline, that didn’t get acted on. I think that taking whatever we could from what was happening, leant variety to the final performance although the loss of two scenes with a very strong music/sonic emphasis changed the overall balance a little.

For me it was great to work with Pauline as she brought an artistic sensibility developed over years of work, and I believe she was happy with the collaboration. Chris Chong and the M.A. students did a terrific job, not just technically but in terms of inventiveness and creative input. Franziska and colleagues really held the project together.

It was good to receive the photos although I was disappointed not to see more pictures where RL is juxtaposed with SL. However, I’m told there’s more coming..

Rebecca’s poem was completely unexpected and a real treat.

It was great to work with everyone, a privilege in fact, and I look forward to something else similar but different..

Chris.

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