by Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke
Streamed live from the Southwark Playhouse
16th January 2021, 3.15pm performance
“We’re Chesca (Forristal) and Jordan (Paul Clarke), and we’ve spent the last 12 months making Public Domain. Think: a musical Black Mirror about The Social Dilemma. But at an electronica rave, in a teenager’s bedroom. That’s Public Domain.
This show is entirely verbatim. Every word in the show (every song lyric, every line)
is taken from YouTube videos, real tweets, or Instagram posts.
The show follows two teenage influencers; Millie (sporty spice, health guru, buddha bowls – millennial) and Z (GCSEs, existential dread, swag – generation Z), as well as giving you exclusive ‘footage’ of inside Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan’s family home. You’re gonna get their honest, true, authentic selves…but online… with some serious bass, obvs. Authentic, right?
Journey to the Stage So Far
We started the show a year ago, almost to the day, in this exact venue. When COVID-19 hit, there we were: writing a piece about searching for authentic forms of connection online. Next thing we knew, the internet was the only option for connection we had. Six months on, we have an incredibly different show, and we are proud to say that this is the first time this material has ever been sung through in full, put on its feet, and staged for anyone to watch. No workshops, no lab-testing: it’s been Lockdown! There are lyrics and lines in the show taken from events as recent as two weeks ago. It’s been exhilarating writing something that is – through its form, rather than Covid-specific content itself – responding to this moment in time. Working at a distance and entirely online has been… nigh on impossible at times? But we love a challenge. And, bizarrely, it’s been a real gift for helping us engage with the themes of the show. We couldn’t be more excited to give our audiences this first exclusive peek at the dynamic world of Public Domain.
Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars
Over the past 10 months it’s become clear that in addition to film, TV, and live theater is a new genre of entertainment – a streamed recording of live theatre. With the big boys like the National Theatre and Opera House installing television quality broadcast equipment and already streaming into UK Cinemas, how can the smaller fringe theatres step up and continue to provide work for performers in the current climate?
Thankfully, one company provides such a service, Theatrical Solutions. This new company not only provides such a service but they’re willing to work in the smaller Fringe Theatre market. Posted on their website: “theatrical.solutions was established at the start of 2020 to provide a broad range of affordable services to theatrical productions.”
“Founded by sound designer and videographer, Christian Czornyj, and theatre director and producer, Adam Lenson, we wanted to share the broad range of interdisciplinary skills, network of collaborators, and experience we have acquired over our time within the theatre industry.” https://theatrical.solutions/
Well, this production is truly technically outstanding! It’s a wowzer!
What the production may lack in vocal skills and story is way exceeded in technical ability and wow factor provided by Technical Solutions. The Eurovision Song Contest, with their million-dollar budget, could learn a lot from what’s presented here!
Mixing live video is always risky and few would tackle a production of this scale, most preferring to fall back on pre-mixed content of a live performance, similar to what the BBC provide as their standard fodder of shows such as Top of the Pops and allegedly live Concerts. Rarely do you see such outstanding work as seen in Public Domain. Live onstage performance from the show’s performers mixed live into an extensive catalogue of pre-recorded content – sometimes as a bleed through and sometimes to cover a staging change.
This is a stream of a live performance – not a stream of a prior recording of a live performance. This is the real deal!
The backing tracks include many instruments and are just glorious. The lighting (Matt Daw) includes suitable back lighting that works so well on camera. Multiple cues match the pre-arrange camera shots to delicately and accurately provide the correct intensity and contrast. Clearly there is collabroation and extensive planning to integrate the lighting and filming to make this work so brilliantly. Lighting battens fill and add depth to the space with effects matching the rhythm and musical nuances. The Set is functional and interesting even if not particularly relevant to how we view online content. It provides 3 main performance areas with occasional steps off to the side of the 3 platforms – Adam Lenson (director) shows a steady experienced hand in use of the space.
With a safe story that largely avoids Covid, Trump, Black Lives Matter and American Elections, but with a brief nod using Images from the Capitol storming, there could be more punch in the production. The performers are sometimes vocally challenged by their own compositions, however their acting and performance ability are excellent.
This production has set the bar incredibly high for what our new genre of streamed performances from Fringe Theatre need to achieve!
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM
|Music/Lyrics/Orchestrations/Perfomer||Jordan Paul Clarke|
|Technical Producer||Christian Czornyj|
|Set and Costume Design||Libby Todd|
|Lighting Design||Matt Daw|
|Video Design/Associate Director||Matt Powell|
|Movement Director||George Lyons|
|Music Production/Supervision/Additional Arrangements||Joe & Nikki Davison for Auburn Jam Music|
|Stage Manager||Roni Neale|
Vloggers…. Allie Costa, Aislin Evans, Andrea Civera, Alex Lyne, Alex Covell, Alexis McGivern, Chloe Green, Callie Egan, Carmen Law, Dawn Parsonage, Donna Coulling, Eleanor Gardiner, Emma Thrower, Emily Ashbrook, Florence Roberts, Flick Isaac-Chilton, Georgia Davis, Heather Kirk, Holly Lucas, Isaac Forristal Marshall, Jenet Le Lacheur, Jean-Paul Mark Shlom, Jonas Gawe, Jonathan Reid, Joshua Newman, Julia Fu, Kaidyn Hinds, Kara McLean, Kate Cooper, Kelly Damann, Leanne Sedin, Lexi Clare, Lucy Jane Dickson, Mickey Jo Boucher, Neil Bastian, Nora Perone, Peter Parsonage, Ralph Warman and Tim Gilvin.