Beta Public Presents at Camden People’s Theatre
“To bring interesting things in front of interested people” is the credo of frontmen Thomas Martin and Pat Ashe. But it is perhaps too gaming-centered to capture the attention of the average theatregoer. The performance lasts for an hour, with each performance focusing on a different theme. Arguably the most interesting part of the night is the audience-driven discussion at the end, which redeems the less successful aspects of the performance.
For this particular performance, the theme centred on perspective in theatre and games. Thomas Martin began with a somewhat lacklustre talk on perspective, in which he read from a script, accompanied by uninspiring Powerpoint. Following this, the audience participated in a game, where different avenues were selected to create a narrative – or at least that seemed to be the aim, it is difficult to be certain. It was amusing, initially, but the jokes soon wore thin.
The next part of the evening improved on the first. Two actors performed a play, whilst at the same time their audience watched a gaming version via drone. The footage was projected in front of them, the camera perspective piloted first by Pat Ashe and then a theatregoer. It was an effective demonstratation of the complexities of perspective as viewers saw both the real actors, the virtual representation and the “driver” creating it, creating the illusion of being in a different time space, where nothing fitted together. Forced to consider how they observed the action before them, it increased the audience’s awareness of dramatic form. The production is about 30 minutes in length and, while Martin seemed pleased to be at the helm of a “live rehearsal”, it would have been more impactful had it been a properly rehearsed play, in which the actors were not just reading from scripts.
What Beta Public Present did do expertly was engage the audience; contributions were not just welcomed but made to feel integral. It is an interesting evening, especially for anyone with a passion for gaming as it provides a novel perspective on theatre and games. But while it is always good to watch live performance, this feels like it crosses the line between impromptu and just unprepared.
Beta Public Presents is on at the Camden People’s Theatre from 19th until 23th April 2016, for further information or to book visit here.