This morning my plans got slightly out of whack after being slow. I had a webinar to attend on zoom – a rare occasion for, me using zoom as nature intended it. Normally I either use it with all greenscreen bells and whistles, like a child picking up a stick and flying it as if it’s a plane or I use it reluctantly where I’d sooner be in the room with people so I’ve got the camera pointing any old where. I don’t really like the meeting side of zoom. Zoom meetings about talking immediately wake up the ADHD part of me. Zoom meetings about creative potential wake up the Jackson Pollock bit.

It’s funny to remember : Zoom belongs in the world of corporations and meetings and all that silly stuff where we all have to play the game of pretending it’s important so as not to bruise the delicate egos of the personality vacuums that thrive in that world.

I think of Zoom almost entirely in the frame of a plaything. But then that’s how I think of most things. Half cat?

Last night, I was in the audience for Macbeth on zoom – it’s the latest Big Telly / Creation Theatre entity in this digital playground. Lou had made the dress for Lady Macbeth and a fair bit of extra costume as well.

(pre-recorded, not live. I chose it for the dress.)

She had a free ticket and I was with her. We sat in a dark room in Brighton and enjoyed Shakespeare together. Like a theatre date. Just without leaving the house.

We had a lovely time. I knocked a candle over and got wax on the Persian rug during perhaps the greatest verse scene in Shakespeare. (“That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold”). It didn’t take away from our enjoyment. (And thank fuck it comes out with an iron and brown paper – I didn’t do it though. I just got the photos this morning.)

Terrific use of the medium once again, Macbeth, and a very fun telling of the story. I like being allowed to laugh at tragedies, and then have the knife twisted. Once again they were pushing the boundaries of what I thought was possible in this live digital medium. I had a few “how the hell did you do that?” moments and a few “Oooh I see how they did that” moments. I have a feeling Sinead will evolve into an octopus in order to cope with the demands of her job behind the scenes. They cut frequently, fucked with colour, faded in and out, added silly digital touches, put multiple characters on screen at once in the same scene, integrated backgrounds, fiddled perspective. There’s much that’s still to be explored in this rather odd medium of digital live storytelling that I fell into at the start of lockdown, but zoom is at full stretch already due to the size of the PLAY in these makers. There’s something about showing the cracks and bringing the craic. There’s a sweet spot. In these days of HD it is useful to see that it doesn’t have to be highly produced to be successful and fun.

This is what the webinar was to be about. This new digital live medium.

My alarm went off somewhere near Kingston, flashing up as I was driving : “Webinar in ten minutes”. Glad I set the alarm.

It was pouring with rain. I pulled into Sainsbury’s car park. With the London driver’s instinctive fear of fines for technicalities I rushed into Sainsbury’s with only a minute or two to go and *purchased something* so I wouldn’t get a letter saying I had been seen on camera using their customer carpark without being a customer. Then I sat in the rainy car and listened to Lucy and Crissy talking about their wonderful crazy plans. By some miracle, The Arts Council has given them a decent grant to develop an online platform actually designed to make things like the beautiful crazy happysad fun Tempest thing we did. It’s a fine idea and could be really interesting. They’ll be looking for a small number of consistent collaborators next year. I’ll throw my hat into the ring. I’ll be up against the whole world but you gotta be in it to win it and this is interesting and edgy.

Now I’m back in London, happy and warm in my flat with the heating cranked higher than I should, and a comfy bed waiting.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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