Contributed by Carolyn Camoens
I directed a play recently. Well, it was a scene in a play. And I didn’t really direct it so much as I made a few choices from a list of options in an interactive video. But, as of the time of this article, my post about the (not quite a) play I (hadn’t) directed has garnered 50 likes, and four reactions – two friends a piece loved and were wowed by the fact that I had (not so much) directed a (not quite) play. In fact, directing a play is complex enterprise requiring artistic vision, technical capability and lots of patience. Few people will get to experience the magic of it, which explains why so many of my friends chose to acknowledge my virtual accomplishment.
The ongoing war on the fake news is just the latest in the depressing reality of the real digital divide – the one between truth and lies. It reminds us that the internet is the new frontier in the battle between what’s real and what’s been created for the adoring masses. Oh, what a tangled web we’ve woven ourselves into. I personally find it hard to trust anyone who doesn’t have a digital footprint. Then again, I find it hard to trust some who do. You can hide behind many veneers, filters and the careful curation of your settings but the truth will eventually out. Potentially at the devastating cost of a digital downfall. Best to live authentically, I say.
In that spirit, I confess that I did not, in fact, direct a play (well, not in this instance anyway). I partook of what I call a brilliant initiative by the British Council. It’s called Mix The Play and was developed in collaboration with the Old Vic. A theatre director talks you through the process of directing a play, against the context of either a scene from Rome & Juliet or Midsummer Night’s Dream. Then you go through a four-step process of deciding the motif you’ll employ, casting the play, staging and sound design. It all eventually comes together in a short video based on the choices you’ve made. It’s a peek into a world few get to see, and a glimpse into the magic of theatre from the other side of the curtain.
As someone who has an equal passion for things digital and the theatre, this is one of the best online campaigns (yes, I am a marketer after all) I’ve experienced in a while. It shows us the best side of the virtual world – the one that connects us to experiences we’d never otherwise have. The one that allows us to participate in life in extraordinary ways. That’s what the battle is really for.
Oh, look! I’m up to 52 likes now.