DIRECTORS in the performing arts industry must ‘take it up a notch’ and be creative in their production as they shift from stage to screen.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many performances to ride on the online platform in order to survive.
Move Creativ artistic director Wong Lay Chin said the situation is different now from the way it was in the past, where people could just go to a theatre and enjoy a stage play.
“Times have changed with the ongoing pandemic. There is a limitation of physical audience to observe physical distancing in theatres.
“This is a challenging period. However, we must adapt to the changes and rise above them.
“I often ask myself, how am I going to give my audience a new experience?
“How can I convince my audience that watching a stage play online is equally satisfying? We understand that watching a stage play in a theatre would have a different ‘feel’ as compared with watching the same play on the computer screens.
“I believe that there is a need for directors to include the movie elements in their product to attract a wider range of viewers.
“It is a challenge for us to introduce and combine the various movie elements, such as lighting, sound and camera angles; for our online shows. However, we must adapt to this new format for our online shows to survive,” she said in an interview recently.
One of her upcoming shows which would be available online is the two-hour sentimental and romantic play entitled ‘Love Letters’.
The online shows are slated to be held from Nov 13 to 15, and tickets could be purchased via CloudTheatre.
Wong said her team had just completed the stage play of ‘Love Letters’ at the Now Theatre in Kuala Lumpur, from Oct 9 to 11.
“I had the intention to do it online and on stage when we first produced the show.
“The entire show costs RM15,000 and we did not manage to recover the amount we spent due to the physical capacity limit imposed to observe physical distancing.
“With online, we can reach out to more viewers, even those from other countries” she said.
For those who would like to purchase the tickets for the ‘Love Letters’ online show, visit https://www.cloudtheatres.com/shows/love-letters
Meanwhile, Triple I Production House creative director Jason Ong said he opened his own theatre called iBox in June last year.
“There are only a few locations for people to conduct performance in Penang. Hence, I quit my job as a research and development project manager and opened my own theatre in Sunny Point Complex in Batu Uban.
“My theatre managed to draw in crowd earlier this year, with many used it for their training, shows and workshops.
“Then, the movement control order (MCO) was imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. We had to stop everything and worked from home.
“We conduct online shows during the recovery movement control order (RMCO) period. We had free online workshops to help aspiring performers,” he said.
Ong said it would take some time for people to get use to the online platform.
“Many people are still not familiar with the digital technology.
“As for the performing arts, I believe that there is still a need for performers to showcase their work live to a physical audience.
“I believe that we cannot fully ride on the online platform,” he said, adding that creativity is very important to attract viewers to watch online performance shows.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Alvie Cheng