On February 26th, following months of preparation, our cameras, our Tricaster, and our incredible crew loaded into the Culture Project
, an 0ff-broadway theater on Mott Street to live-stream the spectacular Bedlam’s Hamlet
In case you don’t know Bedlam’s work, this is a company that doesn’t use text or characters, or even theater spaces in any kind of traditional way. Each act of Hamlet occurred in a different part of the theater, sometimes in the actual audience, sometimes in the round, sometimes in a thrust – so we had 16 different camera set-ups for the show and literally thousands of shots. But, even so, to create a thrilling intimate live-stream of the show, we didn’t change a light, a set piece a moment of blocking. We pride ourselves on translating the actual theater experience into a authentic lean forward online experience – and that means embracing the shows creative vision. The only thing we added was live sub-titles in the scenes that were literally lit with flashlights.
We are a small company that took on a mighty task – but Bedlams’ work is so thrilling, and working with the cast and the lead producer Meredith Lucio was so great, that the weeks of planning were worth every minute. Maybe most exciting to us (theater people who have wholeheartedly embraced technology as a wonderful way to bring live theatrical experiences to audiences far and wide but who know that many theater people don’t share our enthusiasm) was the response from the actors themselves. Mid-show one of the producers came out and said the actors were coming backstage and telling the other actors they had to come out to the control room to see how great it looked. And then, even better – an actor emailed me later to tell me that “Your shooting of “Hamlet” was the best representation of a play on “film” that I have ever seen.”
We are so passionate about the opportunities that live-streaming presents for theater artists, and we can’t say enough what a wonderful experience it was to live-stream Bedlam’s Hamlet. This particular production was geared toward schools but since then we have streamed off-off broadway, a premiere of a new musical by Broadway producers, a concert reading of a play that went on to it’s first full production… We can’t wait for more….