The Merchant of Venice
Shakespeare’s majestic depiction of the struggle between greed and evil was put on a mediated performance that runs for 2 hours and 52 minutes. The show was displayed on monitors as opposed to live shows that are carried out on stage with the audience watching. Live shows happen in real time while the mediated performance employed the use of digital media technology that recorded the show and aired it later. The story telling was similar to what could be carried out on a live performance. However, camera angles were adjusted to include close-up shots, wide angle shots, and other cinematic effects that added to the visual appeal. It was a first time attending the performance. I expected the use of cinematic effects to facilitate the play. My expectations were met.
Seeing the performance in this manner had the advantage that camera angles could be adjusted to get a closer look at the action. The actors, in particular, Shylock; Antonio and Bassanio had facial expressions that were instrumental in bringing out their act. In addition, the type of performance has been edited to provide a near flawless action. Mediated performance has no ephemerality. Ephemerality means that the activities are transitory. Mediated performances can be rewound and forwarded meaning the same scene or action can exists for the future. Live performances exist only for a brief duration since after the act, the actions or words of the performer become history.
Live performances have no feedback to the performer from the audience. The audience is separated from the performer in a mediated performance. Theatre has a life like appeal that is not present in mediated performance. Mediated performance is separated from the audience by the nature of the display that is unlike reality. In addition, mediated performance has no immediacy. The action does not take place in front of the audience in real time as it is the case in theater.
The response to the mediated performance would be different to a live performance but similar to watching the performance on television or watching a movie. In a live performance, the audience and the performers exist in the same space at the same time and the actors can see or hear the reactions of the audience. Subsequently, in live performance, feedback can be provided such as by clapping or standing ovation. However, the mediated performance has no avenue for immediate feedback. Mediated performance is similar to watching a movie or television because the actors are not in the same space as the audience. Subsequently, mediated performance does not have the same feedback as live performances.
The relationship between the audience and the performer is a critical aspect of theater. Mediated Performances take this aspect into consideration by its use of additional cue not present in live theater. Camera angles are shifted to suit the storytelling. Use of stage lights and camera angles combined provides additional support to storytelling and captures the focus of the audience. However, mediated performances change the relationship of the actors and the performance by separating the actors form the audience in time and space thus creating a gap in the relationship. The gap is essential for audience to fill it with their reflection on the theatrical performance.