The Era of Live-Streaming Live Theater Has Arrived


There’s no question it will be theater: Joey Brenneman’s play Better Left Unsaid will feature live actors on a real stage playing characters and unfurling a plot before a living, breathing audience here in New York.

There’s no question it will be television: Better Left Unsaid will be captured through multiple cameras, then streamed live to the Internet, therefore allowing anyone, anywhere in the world to watch the play — and, through chat rooms as well as social media, to immediately interact with it.

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There’s no question it will be online video: Better Left Unsaid once captured forever by the camera and streamed, will be available for download by those unable to participate in the action in person or cyberly.

The visionary Kathryn Velvel Jones.

So, when you put all this together, there’s no question that Better Left Unsaid, which is being produced by Kathryn Velvel Jones in tandem with playwright Brenneman — could signify a revolutionary moment in terms of what “live theater” really means — how emerging technology, sooner or later, will not so much force us as encourage us to radically rethink and reimagine the relationship between time, space, art and our computer screens.

No, not all of the funding for Better Left Unsaid is sitting in the bank. That’s why Jones and Brenneman recently kicked off an aggreesive Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource the project and why The Clyde Fitch Report will be doing its part through a series of posts during the next 10 critical days as the final deadline for the campaign nears.

If you can give, please give.

If you can’t give, please tweet, retweet or shout about Better Left Unsaid from your real (or digital) rooftop.

Jones comes to the table with years of experience as an actor and equally substantial work transforming the digital space. For example, she founded and produced, which created 35, the first-ever scripted Web drama to stream live to the Internet. Jones is also a frequent speaker at online video and social media conferences. Her acting work also garnered her acclaim in such legacy-media organs as the L.A. Times and my old gig, Back Stage.

Brenneman, Jones’ business partner and Better Left Unsaid‘s author, directed The Timing of A Day, which ran in this year’s New York International Fringe Festival, capturing an award for best overall ensemble.

And if any of this sounds familiar, yes, you’re right: this is the same Jones who was praised by Virginia Heffernan, the TV and occasional digital-media reporter-critic of the New York Times, in her review of 35. Yes, that does mean you should click on the aforementioned link. After all, if 35 was a video-for-Web effort, then Better Left Unsaid is a brilliant hybrid, intermingling the theatrical with the camera-conscious. And that’s exciting.

Who else is involved with Better Left Unsaid? Well, oneforty, Laura Fitton’s amazing all-things-Twitter site, is an official sponsor.

As the press release for the production states:

Better Left Unsaid will be staged in front of a live audience, shot with multiple cameras, mixed in real time, and streamed live to the internet so that anyone, anywhere in the world can watch the play and interact with it.

Here are some additional bullet points to think about before deciding whether to help me promote Better Left Unsaid:

  • is breaking entirely new ground in the way it merges theater and technology
  • is interactive in ways that few videos, and almost no theater pieces can be
  • combines the excitement of live theater with the community of live streamed video events
  • will allow our audience to literally become a part of the creative community via Facebook, Twitter, chat rooms and video.
  • more deeply engages a 21st century audience
  • is written, directed and produced by women
  • is a funny, smart, play about how our lives are affected by the pieces of information that we choose to share or withhold from the people we love the most
  • is a new dramatic paradigm that could launch an entirely new dramatic form born of today’s technology

So do think about making a donation — or spreading the word. Meantime, watch this video: