OurView: Technology at play

AT ISSUE: ICOMMUNICATIONS PROJECT FUNDS QUESTIONABLE ADDITION OF TECHNOLOGY TO THEATER

Whether the use of technology is appropriate or not in an art form such as theatre is in question.

Some performers faced adjustments and worries as production began on "Blood Relations," Sharon Pollock's re-telling of a 110 year-old folk tale.

The question of whether or not Lizzie Borden murdered her father and stepmother has been on the minds of some Americans for decades. In fact, it even became the subject of a nursery rhyme.

"Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother 40 whacks," the rhyme says. "And when the job was nicely done, she gave her father 41."

Despite history's variances on phrasing, the concept remains the same. Borden was found guilty by society despite being acquitted at her trial.

The play does not answer the question of guilt or innocence, but instead incorporates the use of technology to let the audience decide for themselves.

Ball State senior Melissa Blue, who plays Borden's stepmother in the play, said the technology provided an entirely new acting experience.

"Originally, I was very wary," Blue said. "I felt almost threatened that maybe the audience wouldn't pay attention."

At least one audience member found the technology bothersome.

Scott Robinson, a graduate of Butler University who attended the show, said the screens "were not right to have in a play of this time period, but there were times I did like it because I could see the faces of the actors better."

Rodger Smith, professor of theater and director of the play, said the technology is used to enhance the performances.

"This is an experiment," Smith said. "We may find out we never want to use it again."

Nonetheless, whether or not this experiment succeeds, why not continue to use technology in theatre?

Even Blue said she is accommodating to the technological differences.

"It is a very big growing experience," Blue said. "I would love to do it again."

Here's hoping that this kind of theatre continues. By allowing more audience interaction, theatre can only benefit.


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