Banyuhay: The Online Theater Experiment


Blends the disciplines of logic-based computer sciences and the individualist aesthetic of film and theater

What does your group want to come together for? What theme, issue, or subject is at the heart of collaboration? What kinds of questions do you want to explore?

The collaboration present in our group is grounded on the generation of a product that blends the disciplines of logic-based computer sciences and the individualist aesthetic of film and theater. This stems from the fact that the pandemic has greatly and negatively affected the theater industry due to the shutdown of spaces. We aim to discover new platforms for performances in the age of social distancing and physical isolation, as well as push the boundaries of experimental theater.

Our advocacies are the following:

1. Initiate an interaction and collaboration between the different disciplines in computer sciences, theater, and film.

2. Challenge the definition of live performance by creating a product that assumes a digital format.

3. Produce thought-provoking works anchored on underlying issues, and stimulate discourse among the public with regard to these.

Some of the many questions we wish to explore are:

1. What is Digital Theater?

2. What new tools and skill sets do we need to create it?

3. Going beyond pre-recorded media, what digital format is conducive for the performing arts?

4. How can we maintain the spectators’ interest in the product we are about to create?

5. How can each discipline contribute to the creation of digital theater?

6. How can such contributions make themselves known to the spectators and consumers?

7. Is the online medium viable in the post-pandemic world?

Why this combination of minds, talents, and persuasions? What does each member bring to your group in terms of skills, processes, perspectives, and experience? What does each member of the group hope to take away from the collaboration?

The initiative aims to explore a medium that is a conglomeration of different disciplines and techniques of the arts and the sciences, specifically Film, Computer Sciences, and Theater Arts. We view that this interdisciplinary approach is only but necessary in our pursuit for a more streamlined, engaging, and effective mode of digitized theater.

In terms of skills and processes, each member of the group shall contribute in the specialization of their particular organization. The Loyola Film Circle shall advise in ways to effectively frame scenes and will handle the post-processing of videos. Meanwhile, the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science shall handle website development, digital gate-keeping, and the application of interactive media features for each production. Lastly, the Tanghalang Ateneo shall take charge of the major processes of theaterical production including, but not limited to, their direction, production design, marketing, documentation, publication, sales, and distribution.

Additionally, each stakeholder is expected to provide valuable insights and/or perspectives unique to their own respective fields, given that each comes from various socio-economic, political, and professional backgrounds. Every group’s perspectives would be broadened and enriched given the direct interaction that the partnership provides.

What research interests are furthered in this collaboration? How are artistic processes and interventions involved? How will community engagements be incorporated?

This collaboration will allow for a direct investigation related to the research interests below:

1. Tanghalang Ateneo - interested in discovering the potential of Theater as an interactive online media (through forms such as episodic theater, interactive theater, and such), and in understanding how theater is evolving alongside the progress of information technology and media.

2. The Department of Information Systems and Computer Science - interested in discovering how programming can be utilized in providing the audience members (now users) an immersive experience on par with physical presence when watching live performances.

3. The Loyola Film Circle - interested in discovering how film can be presented beyond cinema and streaming services, to create a new form of film that would allow its audience to interact, as well as contribute to the film’s story.

Below are the artistic processes and interventions that each discipline offers:

1. Theater - Theater will need to be able to adjust its methods so that it can harmonize with the new platform and format, and other disciplines. Its artistic processes will include directing, production design, logistics, acting, and the like.

2. Computer Science - When given post-processed input (i.e. clips and videos), computer science shall subject it to programming using softwares such as Python, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and the like, depending on the features that the specific production needs.

3. Film - Film will have to find ways to produce content without needing a large crew to gather for a set because film is a team effort. It will adapt to the new platforms of communicating in order to allow teams to collaborate with the artists, directors, in order to find the angle that best fits the scene, as well as piece together footage for ease of viewing.

Finally, community engagement shall be incorporated within (1) the collaboration and (2) the consumers of the work. For the collaboration, community engagement will come in the form of dialogue. Here, each will be given an opportunity to provide perspectives, suggestions, and recommendations towards the themes, topics, and processes involved in the work. Such will then undergo discourse between those involved. This enriches the work and prevents it from undergoing delimitations.

Discourse will also be present on the side of the consumers. Through it, consumers can provide constructive criticism toward the work, as well as discuss their thoughts and opinions on it. This will allow for each to give and, more importantly, take perspectives coming from contexts not of their own. These dialogues can be initiated by the consumers themselves or the groups involved in the project.

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