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Sacrifice Nothing

Jacob Coakley • Answer Box • November 1, 2009

Gabriel Luna as Orestes and Smaranda Ciceu as Helen in Cambiare’s Orestes

Cambiare Productions builds their shows and audience in unconventional ways 

Cambiare Productions from Austin, Texas, came online to TheatreFace.com to talk about their lightning-fast development of a new adaptation of the Orestes myth, which cadges from Sophocles’ Elektra, Aeschylus' Oresteia and Euripides' Iphigenia at Aulis, Iphigenia Among the Taurians in addition to his Orestes. The resulting work ended up reflecting all those different sources in a “fractured fever dream” of a narrative. The production was nominated for several Austin Circle of Theatres B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Production of a Drama.

Cambiare Artistic Director Travis Bedard and Producing Director Will Hollis Snider came on TheatreFace.com and talked about how they kept the audience situated in time and space throughout the feverish production as well how they streamed their production over the Internet, and why. You can read the full transcript at www.theatreface.com/cambiare

Jacob Coakley: How did your production process help keep the audience situated?

 

 

 

Will Hollis Snider: We spent the first week of rehearsals letting our actors serve as an audience. They offered advice and changes, and we spent the first week workshopping and doing rewrites.

 

 

Travis Bedard: We handed them the script and asked them point blank what worked and what didn't.

 

 

Jacob Coakley: That's one way to do a trust building exercise. 🙂

 

 

 

Travis Bedard: And to build cast ownership of a new work. It went from being something that Will and I owned to being OURS.

 

 

Will Hollis Snider: There were significant changes to the script in that first week that really helped shape the play.

 

 

Jacob Coakley:  You guys streamed at least one performance of the play on the Internet, and still have the video archived online (http://www.cambiareproductions.com/video/orestes.html ). Could you talk about how you set that up?    

 

 

Will Hollis Snider: It's actually pretty easy to do. There are various companies out there that offer streaming services. The one we used was ustream.tv. I don't know ALL the technical details, but it's Web-based and takes the feed from any camera or mic connected to a computer, and broadcasts that feed to the internet. So it's almost just like using a webcam and mic in front of your computer for a video chat. We, however, wanted slightly higher quality, so we used an Canon XL2 connected via Firewire to a PC.

 

Jacob Coakley:  Did the camera influence design?

 

 

 

 

Will Hollis Snider: The camera didn't influence design one bit. We always knew we were going to livestream the show, but it was never a consideration when I was directing or for any of our designers.

 

Michelle Moore: How many cameras did you use?

 

 

 

Travis Bedard: Just the single XL2 on a tripod.

 

 

 

Will Hollis Snider: Set up all the way in the back of the theatre so we could get a wide shot, and also zoom in for any intimate moments.

   

 

Travis Bedard: For us the livestreaming isn't meant to be a replacement for being there, but an opportunity for those who didn't reach the tipping point to have an opportunity to have a flavor. There was a lot of valid feedback that I was able to get on Orestes that we never would have gotten without having it broadcast and archived—from Chicago and Vancouver and Australia.

 UPDATE: This article has been corrected to give the correct titles for A.D. Bedard and Producing Director Snider. We also corrected the name of the actress in the photo to  Stephanie Ngo-Hatchie. 

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