Breaking the Digital Wall
I don't even know where to start with this. It's fair to say that the start of this year has been to be blunt, shit. Up until recently (thank God), the weather has been terrible, the evenings dark and well everyone is either working/studying, Zooming, sleeping, and repeating. Since the end of January going into February, the Zoom/online fatigue has been real on my end. Any ounce of enthusiasm and optimism I had for displaying/working online was worn thin.
I attended an online event that talked about the rise of digital theatre and considerations to take. At one point the speaker stated that digital theatre is 'the next best revolution since the printed press!' If I wanted to present work digitally, I would've done Computers/Digital Media as a degree, I thought. After directing 'Vlogger', (which was a great show but the digital elements were a headache) I vowed to never do anything of that nature again, it just wasn't me. Fast forward two years, I'm looking at a full programme of digital pieces, figuring out hosting platforms and other aspects so alien to me it made me so anxious. 'I haven't a clue about any of this', 'What if I don't know what to say at a meeting and look stupid?' 'What the hell are hyperlinks?' Having said all this, the world is adapting to a 'new normal', and for the theatre to survive it needs to also adapt until we can have live performances again. Outdoor theatre anyone?!
Whatever it is, I have just hated going in front of the camera recently whether it be Zoom calls, recording, you name it. Notice how I haven't been posting on Instagram? See how there's been a lack of monologues/new photos? In recent weeks I've had an aversion/dislike for being on camera. While recording reels and for a video blog I actually had moments where I couldn't stop the 'ehhhs'/'emms'. Even during an interview which I was so excited to do, I crumbled once the record light flashed on. I also felt unworthy in comparison to other people/organisations on social media. 'I've a shite camera', ''What're these reels everyone's talking about?', 'Ughh, I hate my hair/voice/top in that!' The last video blog I did actually took 10 plus takes (including figuring out lighting and angles). Again, we're moving into a digital age even more so now, so this is some getting used to, a skill that has to be learned and cutting out the imposter/unworthiness syndrome.
Despite the challenges of the whole digital transition, there have definitely been opportunities emerging. Our online fundraiser for Samaritans, for example, had our highest 'attendance' ever and raised the most funds out of all our fundraisers. Echo Acting has also transitioned online where some of our students attending have been from another end of the country or across the pond. It has also enabled me to dig deep and consider what I can offer to give back to the community and help others. (Psstt! Check out my full list of services on the 'Services' section!)
While setting out on a digital adventure whatever that may be, I've learned it's important to set boundaries. Since this time last year, I've been guilty of sitting on the laptop hustling, 'I'll just reply to one more email', 'Sure I'll start this while I'm at it'. Before I know it, it's two and a half hours later and my tea is gone cold (worst.thing.ever!) The last month I have set up a specific cut-off time and that's it. Unless it's absolutely necessary, no more messages/emails/anything else until 9 am the next day (Bit later if I'm in school). It is hard as we have technology to create, consume, work and communicate. But it is important to unplug figuratively and literally at points throughout the day. Read a book, go outside if possible, talk to someone if possible, cook something, colour or try something new. This will benefit you in more ways than one I could go into a whole other blog about it.
So the digital fatigue is real, I've felt it. Technology is changing so fast right before us it's hard to keep up with. With patience, understanding, and self-love though, we can adapt to this and utilise what these tools have to offer to improve the world for ourselves and for each other.