This isn’t a sponsored Post.
BrumHour was invited to a virtual press night with The RSC.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Review: Dream with The RSC
Directed by Robin McNicholas
You enter a clearing,
Somewhere an owl hoots,
A troll hits you with a club
You are dead.
To paraphrase Dawn French in Murder Most Horrid, “Shakespeare really knew what he meant when he wrote that. being as he was, no stranger to Choose Your own Adventure roleplay”.
Our hero Puck (EM Williams) sets off to explore a land inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Puck appears to be several rocks held together like an artists mannequin rather than an actual person with facial features and as Puck takes us through the landscape we hear the voice of Nick Cave and meet other characters including Durassie Kiangangu as Moth, Jamie Morgan as Peaseblossom, Loren O’Dair as Mustardseed and Maggie Bain as Cobweb.
Dream is a virtual world that uses Hollywood superhero movie style live capture filming techniques to present a virtual landscape live to computers, phones and tablets around the world. It is ambitious and confident and bursting with ideas. It borrows quite a lot from virtual reality headsets and immersive fully formed computer games which might normally provide endless exploration.
The music by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jesper Nordin and particularly the instruments sounds used are polite and whimsical and much more what I’d expect to experience in a regular theatre setting but is punctuated by a stunning outdoor soundscape which sits perfectly with this walkthrough experience. I loved listening via my headphones to this experience as it whooshed around me.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of this as a whole and as a research and development project I was left wanting more. Which is probably the point. There is a world of virtual theatre to explore for adults and children alike and creating something that everyone will enjoy will be very hard work. At two points during this production the screen split into two and we were asked to drop fireflies to light Puck’s route we then at the end had a single light to drop to light up the landscape too. I would have preferred a choice about doing this as I was very invested in passively taking part rather than interacting. For the actors, it must be fantastic seeing the final lights drop on the landscape as each represented a viewer.
A bold creation, Dream is an RSC project created in collaboration with philharmonia.co.uk, marshmallowlaserfeast.com and mif.co.uk. It is available to watch at set times until 20th March at dream.online.