( English / 繁體中文 )
As our wise teacher Stephen once said, one of the best ways to figure out what to do is to know what the questions are. Here is a list of preliminary questions I felt the need to answer them before anything else:
我睿智的教授 Stephen 曾經說過，要知道下一步該怎麼走之前要先知道眼前面對的問題是什麼？於是我列了一串我覺得在轉換演出形式時必須優先回答的問題：
Is there any model I can look at?
What resources do I have at hand?
What do those resources enable me to do?
What form am I planning to take? Who is my audience?
How do I adapt my vision accordingly? How does this world look like?
How am I planning to rehearse? How long would it take?
How am I planning to structure the whole event?
The first thing I did was reaching out to a college friend who had been playing online games for years and knows a lot about the gaming world. He introduced OBS and Twitch to me, which helps me immensely.
我所做的第一件事是在停課前一天私訊一個常常在打線上遊戲的大學同學，畢竟他對線上世界的了解比我廣太多了。他介紹我一個叫做 OBS 的直播軟體（下一章會介紹）和一個線上直播平台 Twitch。要不是他的幫助我肯定會多花非常多時間在網路文章間泅泳。
I spent a night watching all kinds of live-streaming events on Twitch and then began to look at OBS. The interface is simpler than I thought it would be. The bummer of this software is that there’s no redo- it’s very frustrating for people like me who rely on that a lot.
我花了一個晚上的時間在觀看 Twitch 上各式各樣的直播活動和研究 OBS 的基本功能。OBS 的介面其實蠻簡單易懂的，但這個軟體有點雷的地方是他沒有「復原」和「重做」，常用的「複製」、「貼上」之類的快捷也不是預設，剛開始用的時候會有點小挫折。
I then tried out the online conference software I knew of with OBS to see what worked best (google meet/handout, skype, and zoom.) The reasons why I choose zoom is first for its resolution and second for all online classes at New School are conducted via Zoom, there’s no way my actors would not know how to use it. I was fully aware of the privacy concerns of Zoom and I had my files that weren’t related to the show or classes in another external hard drive and taped all the cameras on my devices when not in use.
接下來我測試我已知的所有網路會議軟體看哪個比較適合搭配 OBS 一起用。我最後選擇 zoom 的主要原因是我們學校所有的線上課程都是使用 zoom 所以我不需要遠端教演員們使用這個軟體。對於使用這個中國軟體隨之而來的隱私問題，我選擇以將所有重要檔案另存在外接硬碟和不使用裝置時鏡頭貼好貼滿這樣半逃避的方式面對。便捷總是有代價的。
OBS allows me to arrange the configuration of the scenes, insert images or videos, and even put on simple animations. By that it almost allows me to do everything. However! I couldn’t pin down any participants’ window in Zoom, which makes it very difficult to capture the displays. I resolved this problem by arranged the Cues in OBS accordingly- I’ll further explain this in 04 Setting up the Cues.
OBS 讓我可以自由地調整不同場景間演員視窗的擺放位置、插入圖片、影片和簡單的動畫。然而 zoom 沒有讓使用者自由擺放會議參與者視窗的功能這件事讓我在擷取畫面上遇到很大的困擾- 這對我作 cue 的邏輯產生很大的影響。詳細作 cue 相關請參考 04 喲。
The most frustrating thing in this realm is the inevitable delay during the live stream. If we’re lucky, the delay could be as short as 1 second, however, from the tests I did, it could be over 1 minute, which is deadly for a live performance. With the help of my roommates, we made the wifi in our place the fastest, which is 1000G? The internet speed test I just did is 30 Mbps.
I stopped thinking about this since there was nothing more I could do. By the way, if one is planning to live stream on YouTube, setting the live stream as "Low Latency Mode" can also shorten the delay.
最大的魔王就是無可避免的延遲。如果我們幸運的話直播的延遲可能只有 1 秒，但我之前實測最多甚至可以超過 1 分鐘。1 分鐘的延遲完全可以摧毀掉整個直播的演出吧。在我的室友的幫助之下，我們將住處的網路升級到 30 Mbps 。之後我就再也不想延遲這件事了，反正這題我無法解決。順便一提，如果是用 YouTube 直播的話，設定成 Low Latency 模式可以幫助縮短延遲喔（雖然即時的畫質會變差就是了）。
What I miss so much about the in-person theater experience is that “happening at the moment” vibe and thus I decided to do it on a live stream. My audience would mostly be my colleges and faculty at New School Drama (NSD) and their friends and family, which would mostly be (theater) artists. I also understood that I could never ignore the stakes we’re taking as a society- being at our place all day for quarantine and not knowing when all this would end. Thus, the audience would mostly be slightly depressed, if not immensely, under this status quo.
In the first draft, I still wanted to strive to make them looked like being physically present in the same space, which was proved impossible in the first rehearsal after spring break (and I was so frustrated.) I then decided to change all the locations into virtual platforms, such as a phone call, zoom chats, live-stream on social media, and online game competition. It was proven the right decision in this case, as that made me feel the stakes and the acting are truthful.
The aesthetic is mostly kept from the studio version, only become more game-like in a way? I chose neon lights signs to stay in that party vibe and also combined the idea of “old story shown in an almost nostalgic but still modern look” (I’m so bad at words. I should probably stop here.)
To sum up, I wanted this performance felt real in a way that we know that could happen NOW.
Before anything, rehearsing online is very exhausting. I felt like spending triple energy but only got one-third of the work done in comparison to the in-person rehearsal. Also, the fact that I have to operate the software in order to make sure the scene was what I wanted them to be. Thus I found myself being the director, stage manager, and operator of both sound and video in every rehearsal. Hopefully, I have a wonderful, thoughtful, and generous cast that offered many exciting ideas when I was frustrated. Someone once said that casting determines 90% of whether a show is going to succeed and I couldn’t agree more.
From March 30th to April 15th, we had 10 rehearsals and I did the location changes on April 5th. The first week was more like a try-out: we read through the whole adaptation and then worked on several scenes to see whether the plan could work. And it turned out it didn’t! Thus I had a meeting with the cast on April 2nd just to talk about what our expectation was and I came up with a new concept and the storyboard for it.
So the tactic for the second phase was, began with a stumble through to inform me what scenes we had to looked closely at and went through them very quickly, with 15-20 minutes per scene. The rest of the rehearsal time was spent on run-throughs. We did 5 run-throughs out of 7 rehearsals before the performance. It’s a fast-and-furious process and again, I have so grateful that my cast went through this with me.
第二週後的排練從直接按照我提出的分鏡腳本硬把整齣戲走完（因為肯定會跌跌撞撞所以我們稱做 stumble through，我其實蠻喜歡這個名詞的），接著列出我們覺得特別卡的場景，再各花費15-20分鐘單獨排練這些場景。剩下的排練時間我們通通拿去順走、畢竟這個階段也只有短短兩週。我們在演出前總共順走了五次。這是一個非常非常緊湊的排練行程，真的非常感謝演員們願意陪我這樣玩。
I didn’t come up with any solid plan until I had a meeting with our wonderful design teacher Irina, who asked so many good questions from a scenographer’s point of view. I’m listing the ones I noted below:
在和我的設計教授 Irina 討論前，我對於整體觀演經驗幾乎是沒什麼規劃的。Irina 問了以下這些相當有幫助的問題：
Before the show begins:
When does the performance begin? Does it happen when the live-stream starts, or it begins when the moment the potential audience learns about the show?
What is the first impression I want to make through the promotional materials?
How do I set up the expectation of how they should behave during the show?
During the show:
What is the role of the audience in this performance?
What kind of interaction does this platform enable that is different from in-person theater space?
What’s the convention of the live-stream platform?
How could I engage the audience in the world of the play? What would be more satisfying?
After the show:
How do I plan to end this event?
How is that different from what I would do in an in-person theater space?
What does the planning on this speak to the performance?
Before the show: the music that fits the atmosphere I was trying to create + flickering neon titles + words that invite people to join the Live Chat.
During the show: Live Chat on the screen during all the blackouts to keep the audience watching and strengthen a sense of participation.
After the show: shown the credit like most movies do and sent out the invitation to a zoom happy half-hour meeting, mirroring the lobby at the theater after the show. By the end of the happy half-hour, I turned the music louder and put "Thanks for joining us!! Take care & have a good rest of the night" on the shared screen.
演出前：符合我理想氛圍的音樂＋閃爍的霓虹標題＋邀請大家參與 Live Chat 的文字
演出中：所有的暗場都有 Live Chat 在直播螢幕上跑，增加觀眾的參與感和想參與的慾望
演出後：跑一般電影後會有的工作人員名單並附上 zoom happy half-hour 的連結，作為一般實體劇場演出後的會客大廳；最後在 happy half-hour 結束前拉高音樂音量並在分享螢幕上分享「感謝參加，祝大家有個愉快的夜晚」的霓虹字樣