Binge Theatre

Mike Daisey is doing something very different in the world of theatre: a 29-night monologue, which will clock in at 44 hours of performance. Mike says that every night of All the Faces of the Moon will be a stand-alone piece, to which anyone could “walk in cold at any point and have a very satisfying evening,” but that experiencing every night’s monologue will expose a fully realized story.

Now, I’m amazed at the pure chutzpah and daring of this kind of piece, but I’m also very interested in what ideas this might introduce into the art form of theatre performance in the context of the Information Age.

One fascinating part of Mike’s project is the reassuring fact that every night’s performance will be available as an audio podcast free of charge.

Now, that’s just nice to know for folks like me who very much enjoy his work and would hate to miss this kind of groundbreaking work. But upon consideration, the concept begins to resemble, say, a serialized radio play. Or, really, a “season” of a television show.

Well then, you have to think, what about video? On Twitter a few months ago, I asked Mike what to me seemed like an obvious question, but maybe wouldn’t occur to most folks who don’t think much about theatre: What about getting it on Netflix?

Mike had an answer, if slightly coy:

@PaulFidalgo Working on that now. And it will definitely be available for podcast binge listening, daily while it is running.

In a second tweet, he simply says, “We’re working on it. ;)”

So I wasn’t crazy. It’s not clear that Mike is working specifically with Netflix per se, but clearly there is an attempt to allow for “binge watching” of All the Faces of the Moon, just as someone might do with Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black.

And this all makes me think, well shit, Mike, you might be inventing a new way to do theatre. I don’t have it all worked out in my head, and maybe it’s served best in the monologue/stand-up format, but I think we’re on to something: Theatrical, live-audience performances available on streaming video services, and not just single plays, but also series — long-running “seasons” of plays or one-person shows. There’s something here, and what Mike is doing with podcasts and potential deals with video streaming services may be the first taste. I think that’s exciting.

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