Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin staged the first production of a play live on Facebook. The play was a stage adaptation of the novel "Effi Briest" by Theodor Fontaine.On Monday,
According to Reuters, the online production, Effi Briest 2.0, "used status updates, photo uploads and wall postings from characters to relate protagonist Effi Briest's descent into disrepute." The Facebook experiment was a way to do a spectacularly different pre-dress dress rehearsal prior to the play's in-the-flesh opening this Saturday.
Over 1,200 people signed up to participate on the production's Facebook page before the virtual doors closed. Those arriving afterward were able to watch the live play but not contribute.
Participants were asked to help with certain aspects of the play, which chronicled the expectations and downfall of the eponymous heroine. They voted, for instance, on her wedding dress and added passages to her love letter. When they chattered too much during the production, the moderator, Theo Von Tain, asked for "silence in the theatre." The audience applauded by typing the word "applause."
A theatre spokesperson told Reuters:
"We were really pleased to try something new and innovative, and have learned a lot about how we can use the internet for our productions.
"We had a large group of people watching and they joined in as we thought they would. They were really attentive but also well-behaved and were quiet when we asked them to be," the spokeswoman said... Facebook can't replace the stage, but it offers some really interesting opportunities to perform theater online."
The theatre has not ruled out additional use of Facebook for its productions.