– Setting up a digital theater is very different from traditional theater. It forces us to find new ways of involving the audience since they are not present in the room. It can be challenging now that we are all tired of digital meetings, says Heidi Dahlsveen, associate professor at OsloMet.
Together with colleagues Anne Bryhn and Randi Veiteberg Kvellestad from Department of art, design and drama they are participating in the EU-project Virtual Reality/OnLife. This is a part of their R&D work, and their contribution was the performance «Embroidery and storytelling” combined with a workshop.
Dahlsveen explains that the audience was asked to have a cup of tea, spices and pen and paper ready while watching.
– We wanted to make them feel that they were present, so I tried to have communication with the audience by asking if they were drinking their tea, smelling the spices and taking notes, says Dahlsveen.
The audience was asked to smell the spices and imagine they were in Greece, where the story took place.
Play with the cameras
Anne Bryhn, also associate professor at OsloMet was in charge of the choreography. She says it was a necessity to have three cameras recording the performance.
– It is a lot for the eyes to pay attention to, so it’s important to find the balance and give the three different artists equal attention. If the visuals get too strong, you lose the story, says Bryhn.
By not having a live audience, we had to use the energy of the people present in the room and develop it to the camera.
Embroidery as a part of the story
Randi Veiteberg Kvellestad was in charge of the embroidery part of the performance.
– A lot of the work was done beforehand, so we could continue the work during the performance. The pace followed the story, which gave a new effect for the audience.
Bryhn, Dahlsveen and Veiteberg Kvellestad thinks digital theatre is here to stay.
– We get to play with close-ups and other different effects which you don’t get during a live performance. By having digital theatre, you can also reach people who wouldn’t go to the theatre normally, says Bryhn.
However, it will never be the same as regular theatre, it is something different, the trio says.
Evaluating the different methods
Hester Tammes from Holland is leading the project.
– I was interested in exploring the different ways we could work online and evaluate the best methods. The call came after covid had been there for a year, so we already had some experience with it, says Tammes.
She was visiting OsloMet in beginning of December together with the other partners in the project.
– It was exiting to hear how this group have worked with the performance on zoom, and storytelling and performance are strongly connected, she says.
About the project
The project is divided into four steps, so called intellectual outputs (IO) to explore and evaluate the digital work.
In the first step we investigate everything that has been done online already. What sort of platforms have been used for what so far. Every partner was supposed to bring in ten examples, examples of exercised you could do online, examples of platforms, performances, all sorts of information, but all related to online work.
In this stage, every partner chooses a platform and exercise and evaluate with the people they work with.
This is the step where we evaluate, what worked well and what didn’t work.
In this stage a toolkit is created, which contains platforms, exercises, examples of training and courses.