A new audience interaction

Discover how Jéssica Tunes found a new way to interact with her audience and transformed her project “Violamos” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The artist: Jéssica Tunes

An actress and theater teacher, Jéssica discovered her passion for acting at the age of 16, when she began participating and performing in a “Vocational Theater” project. It was a free project for young people that took place in a library in the northern part of the city of São Paulo, Brazil. She took part in it for 3/4 years.

Later on, she started studying Biology, but Theater spoke louder and Jéssica entered the UNESP’s Bachelor of Arts and Theater, aiming to be a Theatre teacher. Since then, she has never stopped, and today, at 35, she continues to be passionate about her work, teaching Arts and Theater in a public school in São Paulo.

Although, she is not directly connected with a theater group, whenever she can she continues to participate in projects and shows, never leaving theater behind. Currently, she participates in a project at school where she teaches teenagers.

The project: Violamos

The project “Violamos” was Jéssica’s most recent artistic work, and it was also her debut as a monologue. It addressed issues related to rape in childhood, in a poetic way, with the goal of alerting and transforming this sad reality. Created from scratch, it was a process that encompassed different stages, from the creation, editing, and execution of the show. She began to imagine the project before the COVID-19 pandemic burst out.

As a consequence of the pandemic, the show that had been conceived in a logic of proximity with the audience, had to be completely rethought and restructured, for an online version. The fact that it had already been conceived to be done in an alternative space, not necessarily a conventional theater, helped in this adaptation.

However, the challenges were many. The show had to be recorded in the attic of Jessica’s mother’s house, which reduced the scenic space considerably. Another essential issue had to do with the audience, a key piece in this creation. The intention was to include the audience directly in the show, as if they themselves were also a character, with moments of active audience participation. Jéssica then thought of the best solution available to her given the circumstances and decided to use the cameras as her direct audience, asking the online audience to interact in the chat at some moments and turning on the cameras themselves.

A team work project:

Although it was a monologue, in the world of theater one never works alone, so Jéssica ended up including other people in her project: a musician, a tailor, and some friends to help her with the artistic direction. Little by little, the show grew and stopped being just hers, becoming her team’s as well.

For this to happen, Jéssica also needed the collaboration of other people to operate the live cameras, as she did the show online and live on Zoom and Instagram, as well as to operate the computer, chatting with the audience. The lighting also had to be adapted, with two cameras, stands, a computer and a front light.

Pros and Cons of Online Theater:

The main disadvantage when doing the show in digital version was the loss of physical interaction between me and the audience, the presence of the audience looking in my eyes and participating in the scene.

Jéssica Tunes

However, difficulties were not the only thing experienced in the process. The digital format also brought advantages, especially in terms of the cost of the show and logistics. It was much cheaper to do the show in digital format, because it was not necessary to rent a theatre, nor were there any travel expenses with the set and crew.

On the other hand, this format allowed to reach people in other parts of the world. Jéssica had people watching her performance in Italy, Portugal and several parts of Brazil, all at the same time and in a larger number than when she did it in person. The interactions in the chat room were also enriching, allowing a different and special contact with the public.

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