I had the an incredible opportunity to join the Elora Community Theatre’s Virtual Playhouse for their Live YouTube rendition of “Jane Eyre” this week.
This was an extremely ambitious virtual production, where each actor not only totally performed their part – each from their own home – but did so in full makeup, full costume, and with having to manage all of their own tech as well. In this production, not only was each actor responsible for their performance, they were also responsible for setting up their lighting and sound in the most clear way possible, and swapping their backgrounds around based on what scene they’re in.
In a regular theatre, there’s someone in a booth whose sole job it is to change the lights, cue scene changes, and run the sound board for music and SFX. There’s a stage manager to oversee everything happening on the boards, and a crew to change the scenes and hand off props, or help with quick costume changes. A regular theatre crew would consist of someone to oversee acquiring props, making or altering costumes, overseeing hair and makeup, and working as an acting coach.
For this production, the actors were in charge of all of that – except for the directing and the sound cues, both of which were run virtually from the home of the co-directors. And while I took the lead in hair design for the cast, it was up to them to make it happen.
It was an extremely ambitious project, with lots and lots of moving parts. My script was so colour-coded with cues for myself that it was like looking at a Pride Parade every time we rehearsed. And speaking of rehearsals, there were only eight!
I am so, so, so proud of what this team and all of these creators achieved. So proud. This is one of the only theatre companies in the world (that I’m aware of) that is doing full-set, full-costume productions of plays virtually via Zoom, streaming live on YouTube. And this is especially incredible because this is an amateur troupe of volunteers.
I hope you enjoy watching what we worked so hard to achieve. (There were some technical glitches in the show, but that’s the joy of live theatre, isn’t it?) Happy watching!