Solving the “digital” conundrum for the Lord and creator of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Netflix has a group of content creators on board with Donald Glover in becoming the first actor to do an entirely digital performance of the classic Shakespearean tale “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – and they have teamed up with a firm that helps individuals preserve the meaning of spoken words.
When everyone is a digital native, the simple act of watching a movie, tv show or play on a screen may be a foreign concept, yet it holds universal significance for all. What is most interesting about that distinction is how often it also translates to the written word – even in a play – perhaps as a way to process all of the events as they are happening in the user’s eyes.
Technology has, of course, been a key part of making that process easier for the modern self. Through audio and visual technology such as smartphones, we are able to hear and see events in live-event applications that we might otherwise never see. Today, one of the latest works of art to become app-accessible to users is Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” performed entirely on a mobile device.
With that in mind, in May 2016, the actors in the Netflix original comedy/drama “Atlanta” became the first actors to digitally perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the original cast recording of the 1994 Emmy Award-winning play. In what Netflix calls “the ultimate on-stage digital love story,” the actors tell the story with a new audience while filming a digital recording of the play. That footage is then archived for future usage.
There have been a number of digital performances – some more successful than others – of Shakespeare on stage and through physical presentations, but when we look at the history of celebrity-driven performances, our data shows that the studios are beginning to play a crucial role in terms of inspiring not only those looking to do it, but the likes of better-known actors.
Netflix’s political drama “House of Cards” tells the story of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), the inimitable politician with ruthlessness and a dark sense of humor who was brought to power with help from the perfect American wife. Spacey’s portrayal as Underwood has earned him seven Emmy Award nominations. Unlike Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet couple, Frank and Claire Underwood don’t share the story – but they do share the ability to perform it on-screen.
They find themselves in the unique position of be serving as the go-to pair of bodies to watch performances of various living gods around the world. Thanks to the current digital age, and the fact that Frank and Claire are viewed as modern icons, that is the quickest and easiest way to connect actors with audiences, audiences with actors, and audiences with words.