Look at what is new. An App-based show questions the line between flesh-based and digital experience An experimental web-based production allows audiences to pick an avatar and the version of the show they want to ‘play.’
Combining resources from several locations, this work was led by UC Davis professor Margaret Laurena Kemp and Northwestern University professor Roger Ellis, “[re:CLICK] 2.0” and began as an American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) incubator project in the fall of 2020 in collaboration with the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance. The collaborating artists devised a virtual, multimedia production based on the characters and themes of Jacqueline Goldfinger’s play “Click.” Reactivated June 18 to 30 on a reimagined web-based platform, “[re:CLICK] 2.0” is a streaming performance featuring a cast from both universities, four time zones and three countries. Goldfinger’s story of post-traumatic growth, transformation and reclaiming who you are, is a #MeToo era story that has been adapted and gamified for the internet. Among its central questions are: What is the line between flesh-based and digital experience? Online audiences will choose from four avatars and pick the version of the performance they want to ‘play,’ choosing the skin they want to step into. “Our creative inquiry was led by curiosity about ‘what is my body on the internet,’” said Kemp, co-director and co-producer of “[re:CLICK] 2.0.”
“We kept questioning the impact of the anonymous, weaponized and often false voice of the digital chorus. Our cast of digital natives is the first generation for whom the digital experience is more real than the ‘flesh-based experience.’ Our decision to present this material within the digital space invites the audience to experience this dichotomy.” “Welcome to The Platform – part time capsule, part art installation, part speculative fiction, “[re: CLICK]” is an experiment in form and collaboration,” said Ellis, co-director, co-choreographer and co-producer.
“During this era of raised global consciousness, we complicate the temporal and spatial stability of traditional theatre practice. Our process transposes embodied explorations of Goldfinger’s text into an app-based immersive experience.
“Each contributing artist amplifies each other’s voices through their contributions to the work. The experience is one of dialogue across difference,” said Ellis. “By decentralizing the point of view from the lead characters to the fractured lens of the entire cast of characters, audiences are challenged to consider what is the notion of ‘universality’ in the age of the algorithm?” The website experience is designed by Northwestern alumna Jackie Fox (MFA’20), and features performances by Gabrielle Strong (MFA’21), and the undergraduate student cast from Northwestern and UC Davis. The sound score is composed by Richard Chowenhill, Kory Reeder, Bahar Royaee and Ramteen Sazegari. Owen Marshall, postdoctoral associate at Cornell University, serves as the production’s sound ecologist. “[re: CLICK]” will stream June 18 to 30. Admission is free and open to the public. To activate your “[re:CLICK]” experience visit the AMTP website. Warning: “[re: CLICK]” contains strong language and emotionally charged material around the topics of sexual assault, sexual violence and suicidal ideation. The artists encourage audiences to consider making a donation to WOAR-Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence, a non-profit organization dedicated to rape prevention and post-trauma counseling. WOAR provided research materials to playwright Goldfinger when she began writing “Click.”
Photos: Courtesy of CLICK 2,0