GUEST POST: Kill the Cat Theatre on the making of their live, online theatre-game The House Never Wins
It’s 6pm on the 8th May. We log into Zoom to chat to our producer. She’s asked us to do a tech run- normally a tech run in a theatre lasts ages but we’re expecting this to be wrapped up in about 45 minutes, an hour tops- after all we can’t really do a tech run properly when we have no theatre, no ‘script per se’ and we’re hosting an interactive game experience over zoom- surely the only bit of tech is ‘log into zoom’?
5 hours later we are finished and our to-do list for the next day has got larger.
Turns out there is quite a lot you can do in a tech run. Even when you’re not in a theatre.
But normally when doing a tech run by this point I’m a bit frustrated, or grumpy because let’s face it tech runs are HELL.
But this time I’m not.
Because it turns out that despite tech runs being HELL they’re actually everything I didn’t realise I missed about theatre. And it’s this more than anything else on this project that has cemented this as theatre.
Because the familiar ritual of painstakingly going through the script cue to cue, tweaking the lights and sound level reminds us of the theatricality in the piece which separates it from just another zoom call.
But more importantly than that, it’s the ability to creatively spend time with another person whilst doing that. Because it’s people who make up theatres and amongst all of the discussing lights, and screen-shares of videos we then get distracted and end up gossiping about cancelled weddings and sharing photos from a friend who has just bought a dog only to find out within a week that they’d bought a pregnant dog and now they have many many doggos.
And this has been so necessary! Because performing from home is just weird.
We do a show and then come out of the dining room where we’ve bundled ourselves away and there’s Mads’ parents (who have very kindly allowed us to take over their house to rehearse and perform in) finishing an episode of Masterchef, it’s not the same as coming out into the theatre bar, pumped up on adrenaline, chatting and laughing to everyone about how well/badly the performance has just gone.
Instead, we’re still full of adrenaline but we make a cup of tea and start cooking dinner.
So whilst we’re all out there, creating work from our homes that can be made and enjoyed online, let’s remember to not lose that sense of community along the way- so if you ever want people to sit through a tech run, or work in progress or meet up for a virtual coffee to chat through ideas, then feel free to get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Also, livestreams are great and all, but can we set up Zoom after-show bars, please?
The House Never Wins will be performed as part of Plymouth Fringe Online on Wednesday 19th August and Wednesday 26th August. Book your slot (for FREE!) by heading to plymouthfringe.com/whats-on/category/plymouth-fringe-online-2020/the-house-never-wins