On Saturday, I participated in the most terrifying and exhilarating acting experience of my life: Bricolage Urban Scrawl (BUS). Bricolage is a Pittsburgh-based theater company, and its annual BUS project is a spin on the play-in-a-day concept. Six playwrights gathered on Friday evening, rode city buses for two hours as inspiration, then spent the night writing 15-minute plays. The following day, a slew of actors, including myself, met at Bricolage's space, were handed our scripts and started rehearsing for that evening's performance. These were full productions... not readings. No scripts, no calling for line. Horrifying.
And what was even more horrifying for me was the fact that I had to learn 12 pages of singing and monologues in a matter of hours. Not to mention the fact that the script called for my character to be in his underwear the entire play. It was like a double-nightmare come true: Standing naked in front of people and forgetting all your lines.
But my point is not that I tore off my clothes or nailed every line of my monologues (which I totally did); rather, my point is that interesting and engaging projects like BUS are made much simpler through technology.
The playwrights were able to write from home and email their scripts to the artistic director, rather than hand delivering them after a sleepless night. Also, the production team was able to send each rehearsal party (director and actors) off to different rehearsal spaces around the city and stay coordinated through mobile text messaging.
Yes, this type of theater has been happening since long before computers and cell phones, but I certainly wouldn't want to try and pull something like this off without them. Maybe I'm just spoiled.
Or maybe an event like this would be even better without all of this technology. Would the acting company grow closer? Would the playwrights gain something by sitting around the same space working out their plots?
Technology also has its limits. When 8 PM hit, it was curtain up and no technology could make me look any leaner in the buff. Also, as far as I know, the brain implant that lets an actor upload lines directly to his/her brain has yet to be invented.