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Berlin theater performs play live on Facebook

January 13, 2012 | 10:29 am

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If Shakespeare was correct all those centuries ago that, indeed, all the world’s a stage, then social media is the newest venue. Berlin’s Maxim Gorki Theater this week premiered Theodor Fontane's "Effi Briest” on Facebook, in what it dubbed the first live performance for the social networking site. 

Some 1,200 joined the theater’s Facebook group before the curtain call to see Fontane's 1984 tragic tale of the aftermath of an affair adapted for the (computer) screen. The social media storytelling included status updates, wall posts and tagged photos, as well as interactive elements. Viewers were encouraged to vote on their favorite wedding dress, contribute to a crowd-sourced love letter between characters and three small parts were cast with audience members. 

“It was a great opportunity for us to reach out to our Facebook friends in a different way, and we got many positive comments and lots of feedback,” says Rebecca Rasem, a spokeswoman for the theater, adding that future Facebook performances were a possibility.

The online show, created in partnership with Jung von Matt/Spree (the advertising agency behind the first interactive horror film “Last Call”), was to tease a more traditional production of the German masterpiece set to premiere this week at Maxim Gorki.

This isn’t the first artistic adaptation for social media. Films like “Home Alone” and “Star Wars” have been re-created via tweets. And the Royal Shakespeare Companyin 2010 paired up with cross-platform production company Mudlark for “Such Tweet Sorrow,” a version of “Romeo & Juliet” acted out over five weeks via Twitter with the star-crossed lovers creating the death and drama in 140 characters or fewer.

So maybe social media is the next theatrical frontier. And if performing the Bard’s classics can be boiled down to typing and posting, perhaps we finally have a chance at that Tony Award.

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Photo: "Effi Briest” at the Maxim Gorki Theatre. Credit: Bettina Stöss


 
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