Traditional theatre keeps actors a safe distance away, preferably on a stage. Barring a serious mishap, nothing is expected to go wrong, and the realms of possibility remain confined. Even better, one may watch a play which was written a few hundred years ago, well ingrained in the public consciousness. This will restrict the number of surprises.
Tin Box Theatre Company take a different tack. They invite the theatregoer to a derelict coffin factory at night with no electricity. They lead them through the eerie vacant space by torchlight, gather them in close, and tell them stories of a dead woman.
The show used a range of theatrical tools to tell the story, stimulating all the senses, from the olfactory assault of the dusty old factory, to snatches of physical theatre, close-up storytelling, and audio overlaid with headphones. It was a really great show from a young company, and not creepy as it might have been, for a show in a coffin factory.
I spent the afternoon sitting behind a desk in mac distributing instructions for Katie’s iPhone app geo-located bandstand experience. In a prominent position in the foyer, I saw all sorts, like the these guys, queuing for a ticket…
The Bandstand show seemed to go well, people downloaded their apps, pointed their cameras at the QR code, and bing, the experience downloaded and ran on their phone. As they walked up to the bandstand in Cannon Hill Park, the audio track started playing automatically, and they were invited to live through a post-war romance.
Bandstand was just part of the First Bite theatre event run by China Plate Theatre. There was quite a mixture of old and new companies performing stuff. The stand out performances that I saw were Theatre Absolute/Naomi Said – “The Wedge”, a one woman show, with great on-stage charisma that drew you in, Little Earthquake – “It’s Only A Paper Moon”, a seamless blending of stories about the moon, and Untied Artists – “For Their Own Good”.