With the current ongoing situation, you see more and more companies and individuals coming up with new ideas to keep doing what they like to do while keeping the COVID-19 restrictions in mind.
Just think of the Japanese bands and groups that are still want to perform, whose performances have been drastically reduced or even came to a standstill. CFor the concerts that take place, the number of people in the audience is reduced to about a quarter and they have to follow the rules. Think of having their temperature checked before entering, wearing a mask the whole time and having to stand or sit at a certain place in the venue hall. In other cases, the solution has been streaming performances live (as a bonus) or pre-recording them and share the end result through a live stream, with the positive consequence of reaching more people as it can be seen worldwide. It is not at all surprising that this happens with today’s technical developments.
It may work fine for concerts, but not specifically for all performing arts. Nagoya-based dance company Moonlight Mobile Theater (月灯りの移動劇場) showed that it can also be done in a different way, with a little out-of-the-box creativity.
They came up with the idea where the audience still can come to the location to enjoy their performances in a ‘corona proof’ way by maintaining social distancing, but it can also be seen as a wink towards the lockdown that many people around the world have been in or still are in, by looking through an opening and still being behind closed doors. The result is a sort of intimate way of enjoying a dance performance where you can feel safe, where you don’t really sit still in your chair as you have to do your best by moving to see more of the performance as your view (the mailbox opening and peephole) is minimised. In this work, 30 doors with mailboxes and peepholes are arranged in a circle, and the audience can look into the works inside through the partitioned private rooms so that they can necessarily maintain a social distance from each other.
The stage is designed in a way so that the audience and the performers can feel each other’s gaze more strongly than on a normal stage. On the website of the theatrical company, it is explained that they want the audience to experience the problems of modern society, such as the distorted relationship between people who monitor and censor each other due to the economic and social situation and the use of the information such as social media, from the perspective of peeping.
In the video above, by Reuters, you get an insight into how it exactly looks accompanied by some explanation by the artistic director of the theatre, butoh dancer and choreographer, Nobuyoshi Asai. Might it be also an idea for small performances of musical acts? What do you think?
Want to know more about the theatre? Check out the official webpage of Moonlight Mobile Theater (月灯りの移動劇場).