Written by Will Eno, Thom Pain (based on nothing) is a solo tour de force takes us into the mind of a man desperately searching for some meaning.
The play will be performed by Toby Schmitz and captured for live streaming by nine cameras.
“You can stand at stage door and watch on your phone if you like,” says Andrew Henry, Red Line’s artistic director.
Schmitz says Thom Pain is a play he’s been “obsessing over” for the last 15 years.
“I read it and wept,” he says. “It has incredible theatricality and all those themes of fear, boyhood and the nature of performance. I’ve been going over and over it for years. In my head, I’m performing it for people in rows sitting just in front of me, but this time, it will be down the barrel of the camera for the people at home.
“I can employ micro-expressions that you might not see in the theatre,” he says. “But I strongly believe theatre acting and screen acting is 99 per cent the same. The other 1 per cent is technical. A screen audience is the same except it’s shrunk down to the size of a postcard or the camera lens.”
Schmitz says they are rehearsing with cameras right from the start. “When I did Measure for Measure at Belvoir with Benno [director Benedict Andrews], he insisted on the cameras in the room from day one to ensure the AV is excellent. That’s how you make it great.”
In the final week of rehearsals, Red Line will bring in four or five people to watch so Schmitz can “feel that indescribable extra feeling of doing it live to an audience.”
“I am incredibly excited about this production,” Schmitz says. “We have hustled something out of nothing. It’s not perfectly suited to cameras but it’s pretty bloody close. This is a fourth wall-deleter play.”
Thom Pain will stream live nightly from Monday Monday June 29 to – Friday July 3 at 7:30pm at this link.