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Going Old School with New School

The more time I spend working and learning about the theatre, the more excited I get by the possibilities that exist in theatre. The scope of what theatre does, or better yet, can do, is a never-ending journey of discovery that I am happy to be traveling on.

Last week was Election Day in the United States. As we spent time in rehearsal halls, many people had a website loaded to refresh the results of a campaign, be it Congress, Gubernatorial, or Issue Based Initiative. In any case, something that people cared about was being decided, and the results were coming in soon. Though my interest in the nitty-gritty aspects of politics has been slightly disenchanted over the past few years, my interest in the political process remains strong, and every year around Election Day, the jubilation and excitement returns of watching change happen on one day, before my eyes.

And so, one day before the US Midterm elections, an announcement of another show across the pond was announced that really got me excited. The Donmar Warehouse (which is known in my book for doing some really cool stuff) is producing a performance in Conjunction with Channel4 next May, coinciding with the Elections in the UK, about the somewhat archaic form of voting in the United Kingdom. You can read more about it in this Guardian article here.

The show will run for two weeks prior to the election, and the show will be simulcast on Election Night, beaming live into people’s homes across the country.

This is a beautiful amalgamation of so many different areas I am almost unsure where to start. The exciting opportunity of taking a play that is directly relevant, allowing the show to be performed live on stage and then having it being broadcasted for all the world to see, is an amazing opportunity of what the potential for theatre broadcasting can be. A piece of relevant conversation is being provided for all on the political process in which they participate in, and anyone with a television set is invited to join the conversation.

The cultural and societal relevance of theatre for this production is outstanding, and an important trend to observe. Looking toward this concept and the execution, how can other important issues use this format to start or elevate the level of discussion in this country? What would be the result of instead of Christopher Walken playing Captain Hook for a few hours this December, a performance of a show was broadcasted that could continue any of the issues that Americans are polarized are on to attempt to find some common ground and try to reach a consensus? An opportunity to return to the theatrical foundation of community, through the use of technology. I am excited to see where this concept, and this production goes, because I see a whole lot of potential in this one.

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