NIDA’s Digital Theatre Festival comprises six world premieres of works created specifically for the online space.
These often transmedia works will evoke age-old wonder and surprise through farce, horror, sci-fi adventure, love stories, classic characters, and multi-media collage while anticipating what new times might bring as theatre continues to journey into digital realms.
Ghost Lights (August 6-9)
As all performance venues across the world went dark during the COVID-19 crisis, the old tradition of the ghost light was revived – leaving on a single naked bulb on a stand – to ensure that an empty theatre is never left in total darkness.
In Ghost Lights, some of theatre’s great characters perform iconic monologues. Untethered from their plays and plots, they have broken out. They roam the empty theatres, trying to connect once again. But being lost, they are also free… and appear in guises that might surprise as they speak their new-found truths.
Ghost Lights is directed by theatre and new media artist Katy Alexander, who was resident director at California Institute of Arts and trained with Robert Lepage and The Builders Association (NYC).
Lunacy (August 4-9)
Immerse yourself in this epic 1960s pulp sci-fi adventure. A scientist has uncovered a mysterious alien artefact on the surface of the Moon. A daredevil explorer is the only one brave enough to conquer its impossible depths. A driven team race to understand the artefact before it kills them – or they tear each other apart …
Lunacy is written and directed by NIDA Directing alumnus and innovative multi-media writer Pierce Wilcox.
Six (August 5-9)
It’s Saturday night during lockdown. A group of strangers somehow end up in the same Zoom meeting.
Mysteriously, one participant’s window is completely black. While the characters speculate about who is behind the window, their grasp on normality gradually crumbles as a series of strange and frightening phenomena unfolds. Why is the room suddenly so cold? Is something hiding in the closet? Is that a child crying? The audience watches the paranormal forces unleash – anything is possible.
Inspired by horror hits Get Out and The Blair Witch Project, this thriller is directed by Australian experimental film, theatre and virtual reality artist Leticia Cáceres and tackles the urgent themes of grief, racism, and insularity.
Lockdown (August 5-9)
It’s March 2020 and Australia joins the world in lockdown. Five fictitious, final-year acting students meet on Zoom as their worlds and lives fall apart and they make increasingly unsuccessful attempts to hold it all together.
Highlighting a sense of the absurd, the story takes us on an unexpected journey encompassing a virus-filled Ruby Princess, the boot of a car traveling across the Nullarbor, the dark web, an ICU unit, and a myriad of digital and virtual worlds. It looks at the rise of racism and anti-Asian rhetoric, deception, separation, the merging of virtual and real worlds, and love and loss.
Created online through improvisation with the actors and complemented by work from design and technical students, this is a picture of now.
Director Nigel Jamieson directs a multi-media collage about the fragility of our lives and the search for love and comfort in a rapidly collapsing world.
Roundabout (August 4-9)
6 characters. 3 bodies. 1 meddlesome audience. So many things could go wrong.
Science fiction meets comedy in this farce for three actors and audience interaction. Three young school leavers in an awkward love triangle meet on the video platform Twitch. In the chat channel are three skylarking digital humans who yearn to be made flesh for the first time in 13,000 years.
With the help of the audience they possess the actors. The characters play musical chairs, hopping from body to body while interacting with the audience in real time. Will the audience keep up with the speed of change? Will the actors be consumed by the personalities of the digital characters?
Roundabout is live streamed on Twitch. It’s a collaborative piece of storytelling, with the action driven by the audience. This is a brand-new way of doing theatre, a trapeze act that runs no risk of being dull. It’s an interactive farce for the digital age.
Roundabout is written and directed by Primetime Emmy Award-winning storyteller and science fiction writer Sean Stewart.
A Pox on Both Your Houses (August 7-9)
Take your seat at home over three nights as three different love stories, each set in a world of separation, play out in live and pre-recorded scenes.
On the first night, ‘Tis a Zoom Bomber Juliet! revisits the plot of Romeo and Juliet with a tech twist. The world’s most famous lovers use contemporary technology to interact, but it keeps failing and they lose contact. Juliet goes in search of Romeo on various social media platforms.
On night two, Dear Betty transports us to 1918 to follow Betty and Allan in a vivid, sometimes surreal depiction of the impact of the Spanish Flu and the horrors of WW1 on a young Sydney couple.
On the final night, A Dinner for Two is your invitation to join a virtual dinner date with two young men, Conor and Ryan, who have just met online. Audience members will be invited to cook the same meal just before the show and to enjoy it while they watch the date unfold…
Written and directed by performance, theatre and installation artist Deborah Pollard.