Part 3: Outdoor vs. Indoor
Out of the 19 productions I saw, only 5 were indoors. The remaining 14 lacked at roof, if not seats or even a stage. I’m sensing a preference.
Each option presents vast possibilities to directors and actors, the only thing to do is embrace them. Out in a park it’s nearly impossible to have a complicated set, or many light cues. Both Independent Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare by the Sea performed on a unit set with very simple lighting. However there were those outdoor theaters (Old Globe and Theatricum Botanicum) that had most things that a traditional theatre has — sans a roof.
Now La Jolla Playhouse performed indoor, and for good reason. Complex stage machinery, lighting, special effects, and other visual madness required the amazing capabilities of their Potiker theatre. But there were a couple outdoor ones that wouldn’t have been different indoors. They didn’t really embrace the freedom they had, or have actors play with natural elements during outdoor scenes. There were also a couple that might’ve worked better indoors, without the distraction of the elements.
Is there a rule for when to produce indoors vs. out? Not really. But the problem was play specific. The outdoor ones that didn’t work too well were the ones that mostly consisted of indoor scenes. Comedies also seemed to play better outdoors than the tragedies due to greater audience interaction opportunity.
How do you prefer your Shakespeare, (or other theatre for that matter) – indoors or out?