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Am I living in the dark ages?

January 16, 2014

I’ve recently started thinking about how the world is becoming obsessed with technology. It’s all around us and yes I know it is for the better but is it making us lose the skills that used to mean so much. And of course, being a theatre blog, how is it changing how we do our jobs, concentrating on two main areas; writing and communicating.

Computers. Laptops. Netbooks. Macbooks. I love them I do. I’m typing on one right now. But whatever happened to the writing on paper. Having a pile of organised (or unorganised) notes used to help me get my mind in order. I could scribble down what I liked, where I liked and that let me link ideas together. Nowadays most people start using the word software on their computer and notes are made directly onto that. I guess you can insert text wherever you like and it doesn’t matter if your thoughts don’t come out in order but how creative is typing onto a keyboard. I know that lighting and sound find it much easier with the new technology as there’s always new software being produced that makes even the most difficult tasks fairly simple. But what about stage management? Tutors have told us recently that having a laptop open in the rehearsal room creates a barrier so you seem unapproachable, and I have to agree. Why should actors feel like they can approach you when you’re clearly staring into a screen? What is wrong about writing rehearsal notes onto paper – the prompt book has to be paper anyway so a writing into a notepad wouldn’t be that difficult. I agree that typed up paperwork is a lot nicer and I’m not denying that laptops shouldn’t be used by a stage manager but are they always needed or can things be typed up later in the day. That’s how I like to work.

Talking. It’s a simple pleasure that I quite enjoy (and apparently do too much off) but it’s yet another thing that is being changed by technology. Nowadays we rarely talk face to face – we call, text or email. Calling I guess is close but then again a lot of what we understand is based on facial expressions which we clearly don’t get from phone calls. Texting and emailing is worse as we can’t even express emotions very well (I guess we can but there’s always that chance that they would be misunderstood by the other person) and then you’ve lost all hints from their vocal tone or body language. The theatre industry is one of the better for face to face contact once you’re in production week and yet again I’m not saying that emailing isn’t a brilliant thing to happen to theatre as it means that one message can be passed to a large number of people easily and documents can be sent round without killing a million trees. However occasionally what’s wrong with actually talking to the person you need to see – you’ll probably find the point would come across a hell of a lot easier!

Right that’s my rant over. Am I living in the dark ages? Should I just accept that technology is taking over? What do you guys think?

Heather Sig

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2014 2:17 pm

    I completely agree but I am also so conflicted! Recently I have been making an effort to become more aware of the environment, so I actually have my rehearsal (prompt) script on my iPad and only my cue book is printed out. I have this amazing app that lets me draw/ type/ doodle on pdfs and insert all the necessary paperwork onto one document (Plus added bonuses like pictures from costumes or props for what that actor will be wearing for a particular scene for example). My emergency contact sheets are also starting to be digitalised, with actors filling them out over Google Docs and therefore making it easy for me to access via Google Drive. I also caved and downloaded a SM app that, well, was a bit useless BUT provided me with the best show timer I have ever used. I guess I need to now think about making up for all that iPad lovin’ by consciously putting the iPad down, making eye contact and engaging in conversation. Wow, wee ramble there. Brilliant post!

  2. Tattooed Theatre Student permalink
    January 16, 2014 5:04 pm

    To be honest that is the other side of the argument! We do use so much paper in this industry and there must be other ways. But then again paper is safer than computers that can crash etc (apart from if the prompt copy is left on the train like happened to my tutor!) It’s going to be an ongoing debate I think (: Thanks for the ramble I really enjoyed it (:

  3. January 19, 2014 8:25 pm

    I’ve got to agree. Let’s all be a little more green without letting technology create a faux barrier. It’s just a screen, feel free to interrupt me for a hello or a question 🙂

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