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AYLI without notes

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Scott Hayes

on 9 June 2010

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Transcript of AYLI without notes

The Idea Un-Wired The Design The Connection Methods Twitter Examples More
Twitter Problems Conclusion No "refresh"
on laptops No variable
scheduling
options. Problems Carrier Issues Phone Issues "Tweet" Composition
changes Character and "Tweet"
Limits Tweets posted on Ning Response PR Timing and
Difficulties Pre-Show
Announcement "On opening night, the main floor was almost full, but a check of the wired balcony revealed only a handful of patrons. An usher said she saw very little evidence of cell phone or laptop activity. " No reviewers scheduled to come
until press release came out. Double-Edged
Sword
"Being something of a neo-Luddite, this writer cannot remark on either the content or the transmission of that e-commentary, but one does wonder if accessing those messages would not distract the recipient from what happens onstage." "The Regent production is genuinely important as an experiment that needs doing, as live theatre feels its way in the brave new world of electronic communication. Seen conventionally, it's a worthwhile production, if not an outstanding one." Proportion of Time "No one tweets" I love the director's High-Tech-in-techno-limbo concept. It's a fun, creative and contemporary delivery system which enables a young audience to experience and enjoy material which is older than themselves. Scott Hayes (Director) seemed to have great success with aligning his actors with his concept. As a whole, the cast captured, and fully enjoyed, the electro-ethereal world of Shakespeare's updated forest of Arden. And so did the audience. PR Timing Questions and Resources:

Production
http://ayliregent.ning.com/
http://twitter.com/
http://www.ning.com/
http://www.easyworship.com/
http://www.surveymonkey.com/
Review:
http://veermag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=222:two-shakes-of-an-old-tale-or-a-tale-of-two-shakespeares&catid=43:stage&Itemid=79
Presentation:
http://prezi.com/5sc6cljw83pm/ Wired Informed Uninformed Found out I was going to direct in Spring 2009. At the same time, I read several articles about churches using Twitter as a sermon aid.
I immediately thought this could be used like a "real-time" footnote for the audience - especially a young audience (the one every theatre company wants). But we didn't want to offend our older season subscribers with buzzing cellphones... I realized we were in essence, creating the same audience division as in Shakespeare's theatre. Two audiences... The "groundlings", standing in the "pit", our orchestra - perhaps illiterate, certainly poorly educated... And sitting in the "stalls" - the covered sections and balconies - were the higher classes. My dramaturg uncovered an interesting piece of Elizabethan history in this text... Shakespeare even references this practice in Merry Wives of Windsor - the Falstaff line below: We decided to make several Elizabethan choices in our "contemporary production. Here is a sketch of the Elizabethan theatre, the "Swan." Here is our design - using the two-leveled stage borrowed from Elizabethan theatres. Our designer, Mike Burnett, and his 1/8 inch scale model. I think you can see a bit more of the Swan in here. Our production used few props, and action flowed quickly from one scene to the next, as most historians believe was the Elizabethan standard. The wall up stage right was used as a projection screen as well. Mike designed everything but costumes - here is his lighting design "magic sheet" Apart from some internal cuts, I only made one text change - starting with Oliver's conversation with Charles. I made Oliver a newscaster, so "What's the news in the new court" became an interview. Mike Burnett designed videos for the newscast - not the Shakespearean trivia at the bottom. When Orlando covers all the trees in Arden with love notes, our contemporary production had him "spam" the audience with instant messages - this appeared on the projection wall. Since our production was contemporary, our costume designer (Judy Holland) created an off-beat look appropriate to the mood of the play. We used a lot of software - of course we used Twitter - more examples to follow... We created our own social network on Ning as a repository for production archives, and this enabled us to control who accessed our information, rather than a randon public website. There are many songs in As You Like It - we thought our younger audience would get a kick if one of our songs was sung while the actors were playing Guitar Hero. One of Shakespeare's lyrics fit perfectly with a contemporary song, so we were also able to mimic the Elizabethan "new lyrics, old song" practice. We used Survey Monkey for immediate feedback from our audience. They could access it from our Ning site. Our first joke for our young "informed" audience was using a song for our wrestling scene that is a favorite of gamers. Here is the tweet we sent - We tweeted them just so they didn't think it was a coincidence. Another song from which we "borrowed" the tune was from an anime series, "Naruto." Here's the tweet - for those that would recognize the tune and those that don't. "Nasuhiboshi" was sung while Orlando tells Senior what brought him into the forest - the two actors are down stage. A moody visualization is projected on the wall with stars behind, while the singer - unseen far stage right, sings on a perch. Right before our show opened, "The Office" parodied the viral wedding video, so we decided to do it, too. At the end of the show, Senior encourages music and dancing, and the Chris Brown song became the music for our curtain call. This one might be hard to see - you can always zoom in with Prezi. We had a "Say Anything" spoof with our lovesick Silvius. Here's John Cusack... And here's Zack, our Silvius. We tweeted this so the younger folk (and older) wouldn't miss the reference. Remember, you can zoom in. Let's look at some more educational uses of Twitter in our production. If you look at these tweets, you'll see a reference to Marlowe, an explanation of Elizabethan language, and a pun. Here we note Biblical and Greek mythology references, plot updates, and links to our Ning site. Here we explain a Brecht connection, our justification for our urbanized setting, and the Latin and mythological significance of our heroines' assumed names. Tweets to remind our audience of our "silent" protocol, plus more music, Biblical, Elizabethan, and mythology references. Twitter doesn't refresh automatically on laptops. We didn't know that before we started...Cell phones worked much better, but more of this anon! We wanted some sort of add-on to Twitter so we could load up tweets in advance and just click "Go" - like a computerized lightboard. There are scheduling add-ons for Twitter, but as of this lecture, all must have an exact time for scheduling - and live theatre cannot be that rigid. So we had our light board operator - Jeff - manually cut and paste the tweets from an Excel file. He enjoyed it - after all, during the run of the show he was just pressing "go" for his primary job! Twitter has a limit on the amount of characters per tweet - sometimes it was hard to explain things with this limitation. We also found out Twitter will only allow you to have so many tweets posted, so we would have to clear out some previous performance tweets to make room for the new ones - we sent out the same 90 tweets each performance. To deal with some of these problems, we posted all of our tweets on our Ning site, accessed under "Blog Posts". Here is a shot of our Ning site - with the blog posts listed. We had no control over how different cell phone providers handled the delivery of texts, or how the reception was in our theatre - this was occasionally maddening... Even within the same carrier, different phone models vary widely. Some phones from Verizon received all of our tweets immediately after we sent them - but one person reported they received all of Act One tweets at intermission... We changed all of our tweets so they could be understood out of context - before or after the fact. We couldn't release PR on our Twitter idea until we could make sure it worked - about three weeks prior to production. Right as we were ready to release our information, another theatre decided to incorporate social media into their Shakepeare production, and we lost another week while I explained to our PR folks that we were not using Ning and Twitter in the same way. I'm sure this affected our "Twitter turn-out". We made a pretty hefty pre-show announcement to explain what we were doing with twitter, allowing people to change seats, explaining we couldn't control cell phone service, and how patrons could follow and unfollow our tweets and access our Ning site. Our local papers had fired their reviewers, but when they heard about our Twitter angle, they sent out their features reporters. Here's what the features reporter said. The reporter didn't talk about the other attributes of the show - acting, directing, design, etc. Also remember how late our PR went out... The second reporter didn't seem to like our idea - I thought it ironic that both reporters were dismissive of our idea, but admitted they never tried the Twitter feed. To be fair, the second reviewer did make the following observation: Here is a comment from someone who posted on our survey. They even mention the other production. Here are two other notes from the survey - the first did not use Twitter:

The second did. I love that the second one wanted to come see the show again. A suprising misconception of our production was the belief we had spent a lot of rehearsal time working on our tweets and execution. We rehearsed the show the way you would with any show, and the twitter work only came in after technical rehearsals. Here's the most complete review we had - from an KC/ACTF respondent (Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival): If anyone out there wants to try this concept - don't underestimate the amount of time necessary for PR. I also came to the conclusion that standard PR will not reach the audience we wanted - the followers in the balcony. Better to use blogs, Facebook, email lists, etc. You may have to convince your PR department that these alternative approaches are important - although it seems this is becoming obvious to all. A high schooler said this to one of our cast members. It is true that this demographic does not follow Twitter like the 20-30 year olds - but they certainly text, and Twitter is really just a way to text to a lot of people. We had a very successful high school matinee, and no one complained about Twitter - they loved the footnotes idea! Since we have many worship-related events on our campus, we had the use of EasyWorship - we used this to schedule our many types of media.
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