UPDATE: This post is kind of a train wreck. Fair warning
I'm sitting in the lobby at the Armory waiting for the doors to open at Apollo, Portland Center Stage's new 3.5-hour, multimedia production about Nazis, and outer space, and... stuff. Tonight's the "Twitter and live-blog friendly performance," which means that the balcony is full of new media types on laptops and iphones
It's weird. I'm going to liveblog it. I'm curious about the entire experience: how watching a play while plugged into the internet changes the viewing experience; if it's even possible to pay attention to a 3.5 hour play when the entire, endlessly diverting internet is at my fingertips; if this is a new, possibly improved way of relating to theater, or simply a novel PR hook. I'll post updates after the jump, and I might follow it on Twitter as well: alisonhallett if you're interested.
7:39 Well, we're ten minutes in and I have no idea what's going on because I've spent the past few minutes in setup mode. There's been dancing, and paper airplanes hurled at the audience. Also, it's hard to type in the dark. Oh, and pdx pipeline just rolled in fashionably late. Hi, Julian.
7:50 the lighting is gorgeous, damn. But I'm finding it virtually impossible to both pay attention to the show, and maintain any kind of coherent commentary. So far, this is not working for me: I'd rather just be watching the play, 'cause frankly it looks way more interesting than this computer screen right now. Erik Henriksen, who is sitting next to me, just texted: "You have TRICKED me Apollo isn't in this at all THIS IS NOT BATTLESTAR."
I actually think I'm missing something by trying to divide my attention between the stage and my computer. I'm getting that the show is very visual, very movement-based, very rhythmic, but the inability to focus completely on the show is really undermining all of those elements. I'm gonna close the laptop for a bit.
8:05: Erik says: This is really pretty. The multimedia backdrop stuff is great, and is enough to make me forget that the sets are usually the only reason I like PCS' plays. Or wait, does this count as a set? I guess it does. So things are still the same. All this V2 rocket stuff is like Gravity's Rainbow, if Pynchon had really cool lighting effects and made less sense
8:10 I'm going to give this to Erik for a while because I am on new media strike.
8:19 Okay. Erik here. Alison just kind of crammed her laptop in my face, and even though I was sending her IMs via iPhone throughout the play thus far—there's something novel enough about being "allowed" to text while being all cultural and shit at the theater that it's kind of hard to resist doing so—I'm in the same boat as her, basically. This show is really complex and sprawling (and we haven't even hit the first of TWO intermissions yet), requiring a lot of pieces to be put together by the audience. Frankly, I have limited patience for a lot of avant garde-ish stuff to begin with, but being expected to be able to keep all this stuff straight and/or pay attention, while also being expected to provide color commentary? I am not up to this task, so I'll just describe what's happening onstage right now, and you'll have to believe me I'm not making this shit up, despite the fact I might have taken a bit of codeine cough syrup before coming over here: Walt Disney is talking to a German scientist while some lady in Mickey Mouse ears walks around a Mickey Mouse puppet while she screeches out lines of dialogue in an exceedingly annoying imitation of Mickey's voice. Now they're all singing "When You Wish Upon a Star." I either took too much medicine or not enough.
OK, Alison here. God, the set is just beautiful. What a stunning first-act curtain drop. I don't want to ruin it for you, but it's really fantastic. Unfortunately that's all I got; I'm having a hard time with this little thought experiment. Someone just said, "this is making me all headachey, trying to tweet and watch at the same time." I feel really old media right now, but I have to agree. I am reluctant, too, to actually tweet the show: I don't want to inundate my poor 60 followers or whatever with 100 one-liners about a show they're probably not going to see. Seems like a breach of etiquette. But liveblogging it like is this kinda pointless: I'm equally talking about a show most people aren't going to see, and I'm failing to say anything insightful or even funny. I can't imagine this is the best read. I think a better bet, if PCS repeats this experiment in the future, would be to use the same liveblogging program that we used to liveblog the presidential debates—that way everyone who's up here could be participating in a conversation, if they wanted to, instead of just trying to vomit clever oneliners into the internet.
Wonderful things are happening on the set right now, even during intermission. This show is stunningly designed.
8:34 I heard someone say during the preshow tweetup that watching the show while twittering would be like being a critic: taking notes during a show. I would like to say NOT AT ALL. I jot down notes while watching shows for two reasons: To remind myself of details I'm afraid I might forget (names, dates, etc); and to remind myself of ideas I'm afraid I might forget (jokes, character insights, etc). My notes would make no sense to anyone but me, because they're not written with any thought that anyone but me will see them. They're a tool. This is something different.
Everyone is introducing themselves by their screennames and making friends in the aisles, which is cute. Someone rightly noted that if nothing else, this is creating incredible internet buzz for the show.
8:50 movement based segment, and i'm all, "oh, they're not talking! down time! I better blog!"
This blog post is worthless. I'm sorry. I wasn't sure how this was going to go. Twitter lends itself to little blips of randomness in a way that blog posts don't; but there's definitely a skill involved in formulating compelling Tweets, so it'll be interesting to see how the final transcript of this ends up looking—PCS is going to post it, I think. I'm gonna cut this out, though, 'cause i think it's a waste of time.