A brand-new experiment marrying live theatre with the internet will take place Aug. 11-19 when The Roman Forum opens at the Side Street Live performance space in downtown Los Angeles. Timed to run concurrently with the Democratic National Convention in L.A., The Roman Forum will tackle the issues of the convention against a backdrop of Imperial Rome.
Director Robert Allen explained in a Playbill On-Line interview how the twin-barrelled assault on the DNC would work. "For some time now, a group of playwrights and artists based around the world has been working on characters and situations having to do with the convention and American politics. They will go on-line with the results of their work each day of the convention. Their on-line material, while not really aimed at the general public, will be interpreted by five live actors here in L.A. who will be costumed after the fashion of ancient Romans. Using improv techniques, the actors will adapt the internet material into a series of stage events before a live audience."
Allen conceived and created the show with Antoinette LaFarge, who is also the digital director. The L.A. cast includes Kevin Keaveney, Daniel Lynch-Millner, David Moo, Elizabeth Nafpaktitis and Helen Wilson. The virtual reality artists are Marlena Corcoran, Jim Ferrari, Richard Foersti, Lise Patt and Richard Smoley.
Segments from each stage event will be videotaped and uploaded to the web during the week of the convention for viewing worldwide, completing the cycle from cyberspace to "real life" and back on-line.
Side Street Live is located at 425 S. Main St. All performances are at 8 PM. For tickets and information call (213) 620-8895. For the schedule of on-line improvisations, log on to the Plaintext Players website: yin.arts.uci.edu/-players or visit www.sidestreet.org -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent