Tag Archives: Online Performance

The Importance of Empathy: The Container

Everyone knows the three essentials for survival: water, food, and shelter. But people always seem to forget about our human need for warmth whether it is literal warmth, heat, or a more figurative warmth through relationships with other people. The Container shows us all four of these necessities during its run time but the main takeaway I got from the performance was that having warmth will let people feel safer than water, food, or shelter will.

By Grace Chen

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Dance Constrained: Virago-Man Dem

The performers of Virago-Man Dem did an amazing job at depicting the layers of masculinity, however, they were constrained by their medium of communication: video. Of course, when their performance was filmed, they were dancing for a live audience but for everyone else who wants to watch the show, the audience loses a lot of the experience just because they are viewing through a screen.

 Virago-Man Dem at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. October 2017  Pictured: Jonathan Gonzalez, Duane Cyrus, Ni’Ja Whitson, Niall Noel Jones. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
From https://www.cynthiaoliver.com/virago-man-dem during the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.

By Grace Chen

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“What if you turn into a bug”: The Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis is an ironic adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel directed by Steven Berkoff. It depicts a fantastic tale that a salesman turned into a bug one day, and his life is changed dramatically.

Written by Bingchen Li

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug” is the opening sentence from Franz Kafka’s masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. The director Steven Berkoff is a good storyteller that he successfully transforms the original into a show. As the curtain rises at the very beginning of the play, the whole stage is showed to the audience directly. There is only a framed structure at the center and 3 actors sit on the chairs. Those are all props used in the play. The main character is Gregor Samsa, a salesman who needs to travel a lot and around the nation to get more orders. He lives with his parents and his little sister, Greta. After a long day of hardworking, as usual, Gregor felt uncomfortable and went to the bed. However, when he waked up, he found that he turned into a bug. His life dramatically changed because of the metamorphosis.

Minimalist stage, only a framed stucture and chairs

Audiences could know the background from the beginning of the play that the Samsa family’s living expenses rely on Gregor’s work. Gregor needs to work hard to feed his families, such as his father’s cigar, his mother’s clothes, and his sister’s violin classes. Gregor does not show up for breakfast and late for work because he turns into a bug. We can notice that when Chief Clerk comes to his home, his parents and sister treat Chief like he is the dearest guest. It all because Gregor’s salary is the only income for his family, and that is why his boss is so arrogant.

Good use of light and shadow to express depressed atmosphere

In addition, people’s attitudes are other details that we should pay attention to. Before his transformation, his father is proud of his son, and his sister thinks he is the best brother in the world. Gregor’s boss treats him like cattle. However, after his transformation, people’s attitudes changed hugely. His father hits Gregor by an apple. His mother does not want to feed him and is fear to face him. Greta loved his brother at the beginning, but when she found Gregor was worthless to her, she suggested her parents expel Gregor. The reason behind the attitude changing is the Samsa family and his boss only care about their own benefit so that ignore the sympathy and relationship between people.

The actor tries to perform an insect with vivid body language

Compare to watch the play in person, I prefer a recorded online performance. Audiences could notice more details through close-ups, such as facial expressions and body language. Gregor’s fingers trembled just like antennas of an insect. There are no props in the show but three chairs, so actors pretend their hands are forks and knives to eat. In addition, Gregor’s room is a framed structure, or from my perspective, more like a cage. It is a metaphor to express Gregor’s life. Before the transformation, he worked to feed his family. He was chained by the family. After becoming a bug, he was locked in the room, waiting to be fed.

All in all, this is a really impressive performance, I highly recommend you to watch it during the time the whole world turned upside down. Be safe!

A play of humanity and kindness: The Container

The Container, directed by Tom Wright, tells a story about five poor refugees who try to smuggling to England in a container. The whole performance, produced by Digital Theatre, is performed in a real shipping container parked outside London’s Young Vic Theatre

Written By Bingchen Li

It is a real container! All the performers play in a real container. Yes, a metal box like those on the back of trucks to transport cargos. Also, as we can see in the news, the container is often used to transport illegal immigrants. The Contain depicts a story around 5 illegal immigrants or refugees and one agent who help them smuggling to England. However, during the trip, the agent denies the contract between him and the refugees, and those refugees have to pay an extra 50 dollars to stay in the container.

The only light in the show are the flashlights held by characters.
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The Merchant of Venice: A Comedy About Humanity (make-up event)

The Merchant of Venice is an adaptation from William Shakespeare’s famous comedy of the same name. It tells a story about an antisemitic merchant in Venice named Antonio who could repay the loan he took from a Jewish moneylender named Shylock. The production was about 130 minutes in total and was captured live in Stratford-upon-Avon. I watched this online via Digital Theatre Plus.

Antonio, Shylock, and Bassanio (A screenshot from Act I)

Written by: Yushan Guo

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Metamorphosis: A Story of Bizarreness

Metamorphosis is a theatrical production based on a novella of the same name written by Franz Kafka. It tells a bizarre story which was about a salesman who was transformed into a huge insect and his struggles to adjust to the new conditions. The production was directed by Steven Berkoff and was captured live at the Parco Theatre in Tokyo. I watched this with English subtitles on the Digital Theatre Plus.

The title of the production, including the director and the year of production
A screenshot of the production

Written by: Yushan Guo

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The Container: A Clash of Humanities

The Container is a play written by Clare Bayley. It tells a story about 5 asylum-seekers hiding in the container of a truck and their conflicts on the way to England. It’s a great story that discusses a lot of relevant social and political issues. The production was captured by Digital Theatre Plus.

The title of the play, as well as the author and the year of production

Written by: Yushan Guo

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As You Like It: Online Makeup

As You Like It is a famous comedy by William Shakespeare. It conveys a story portraying love and disguise and was performed at the Royal Shakespear Company’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford pon Avon. The performance was captured and is available to view online on Digital Theatre Plus.

Written By Weon Taek Na

Capture 1 of As You Like It performance, available to view online on Digital Theatre Plus.
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As You Like It (Makeup)

As You Like It, is one of Shakespeare’s famous pastoral comedies of love and disguise, and it was captured by Digital Theatre live at Royal Shakespear Company’s temporary space, the Courtyard Theatre, in Stratford pon Avon. You can enjoy and watch it online by Digital Theatre +

Written By Bingchen Li

The main story of As You Like It is that Sir Rowland de Bois had 3 sons and he wanted his elder son to take care of his young brothers after his death. But his elder son Olive did not follow his father’s will, instead, he treated his brothers rudely and restricted his brother Orlando’s education and freedom. Olive arranged a wresting battle between Orlando and the royal wrestler Charles to let Olive leave him without taking any heritage. Duke Frederick has usurped the duchy and exiled his older brother, Duke Senior. Because Duke Senior’s daughter Rosalind had a good relationship with Celia, Duke Frederick’s daughter, she could still live in the court. During the battel, Rosalind fell in love with Orlando and try to skip from the court. After lots of suffering, at the end of the show, they all find their love.

Duke and his courtiers formed in a square (Screenshot from As You Like It)
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