Andrew Haydon asks why theatre is not addressing the world of cyberspace:
But there is a lot of scope left for potential experiment. Just as the internet has opened up whole new avenues of investigation and activity, creating thousands of jobs and revolutionising the way that we consume music, watch films and conduct commerce, so should theatre be finding a new visual and literary language to reflect modern lives which are increasingly lived online inside the belly of a machine.
Haydon’s post gives me an excuse to formally announce the launch of our Internet film project, Sweet Fanny Adams in Hypersapce Eden. Produced by my company Fifty Nine Productions, and joint funded by the Scottish Arts Council and Arts Council England (Yorkshire), the project brings Judith Adams’ play back to its original home on the Internet.
When Judith was commisisoned by Stellar Quines Theatre Company to write a play to be performed in the Scottish Plant Collectors garden, we helped her devise a unique method of writing the text – through HTML. The non-linear nature of web-pages allowed her to create scenes that would overlap and reference each other, and also inspired her to create scenes where one character’s thoughts were echoed, or overheard, in the words of another character. My essay explains the project in much more detail, but my conclusion is that the text is quinessentially of its time and of its medium – the Internet.
Most online films are very short, but this is an early attempt to create something feature length. By December we will have posted over two and a half hours of footage, shot against blue-screen, given CGI make-over, and podcasted on a daily basis.
Haydon’s quote resonates, and not only because this project is an attempt to develop a new “visual and literary language”: Our characters are caged and watched inside the sinister Showman’s Garden, a reality he has constructed to observe and subjugate the other inhabitants. The fiesty Lily and her friends are, in some ways, in the “belly of a machine.” Can they escape?