Bare E-ssentials at Encompass Online
After a two-year hiatus, Encompass Productions’ acclaimed new writing night – Bare E-ssentials – returns to bring us an original form of live theatre from the comfort of our homes. Showcasing international talent paired with live performances via webcam, there is an oddly charming quality to this novel type of drama, hindered only by a series of technical difficulties. Despite unfortunate streaming issues, Bare E-ssentials is an admirable endeavour that demonstrates theatre’s capacity to survive, adapt and overcome these trying times.
Bare E-ssentials strips theatre down to its core. It is a night of low-budget but high-calibre and polished performances, showing that drama in its rawest form is just as compelling as any West End show. With a simple setup of an actor performing in front of a webcam in their own home, it is refreshing to witness actual live performances as opposed to pre-recorded productions during our current lockdown.
The screening is comprised of short plays The big 30! by Teresa Espejo, Vintage and Radio Foreplay by Lucy Kaufman and culminates with Little Boy by John Foster. Despite the evident hard work and high level of professionalism, Bare E-ssentials’ first night suffered from an unfortunate series of technical issues, resulting in the event being cut short with only two watchable pieces.
The Big 30! is a relatable, funny narrative detailing a woman leaving her twenties behind and discussing her life. Radio Foreplay is a standout play, portraying the Commissioning Editor of Drama at Radio 4 trying to negotiate censorship with a writer regarding a script about Tourette’s syndrome. Both pieces are well crafted, unique and brilliantly performed. With such fantastic work shown, it was a shame that not all of it could be seen and viewed as a full experience.
All of the works have now been put up on Encompass’s YouTube and are available to watch as of this morning. However, the unique live atmosphere of the night is difficult to recreate and viewing Vintage and Little boy separately is a disservice to both plays.
Bare E-ssentials, despite its sound issues, is an amazing night that one hopes will become a frequent show and will next time be a smooth and full experience. Not only is it supporting artists, but it is a clear demonstration that theatre is never at a standstill and can thrive, even during our current exceptional circumstances.
Photo: Encompass Productions
Bare E-ssentials is at Encompass Online from 13th May until 1st January 1970. For further information or to watch visit the theatre’s website here.