Rubrik Sastra

Unfolding Time in Time It Is My Friend

Maret 7, 2021

When the internet becomes part of daily life, humans are faced with another reality, named reality of virtual. Humans actualize themselves in that space. Adding their own identity, connect with the others by reducing the intensity of physical encounters. However, it doesn’t mean that humans can let go of the intensity of physical encounters, virtual reality merely defined as a medium to facilitate telecommunication from previously discovered technologies such as telephone, short messages, letters, greeting cards, or others.

What was previously a conference later became an internet forum. We used to distribute invitations through advertising in printed media but, now we only need to make invitations on social media, and people will find out through social media algorithms or search engines. But still, physical encounters remain important as physical encounters are an achievement when the online is already happening.

However, when the coronavirus became a huge issue last year, we experienced real physical confinement, so that virtual space was the only way we could interact securely. These virtual interactions take various forms according to a format that is already well-known and has been running on the internet, such as video conference meeting, podcast, short messages, and video call. These things were already exist, obviously, but then they became the main pillars of human’s communication about a year ago.

During the time of physical limitations, human were forced to stay at home. Others were still going out, but danger lurked everywhere. This becomes a logical consequence of the shift in reality; once online reality was the support system of physical reality but, now the online reality has become the main part of physical reality. Humans are closer to their home, time just goes by, days passed, anxiety is everywhere, until we got several conclusions: “wow, time flies so fast, its night time already!” Or “oh no, time slows down, we must kill it somehow!”

The problems of killing time, problems of anxiety, and confinement were well recorded by the show Time It Is My Friend by the mainteater performed by Sandra-Fiona Long and Faisal Syahreza. The scenes that were witnessed through live streaming show really describes the boredom, ignorance, and contemplation of the times that have passed during this pandemic: sports, works from home, accompanying children to study, gardening, even seeing past documentations that are often overlooked in daily life.

Interestingly, this show was performed across countries, Indonesia-Australia. This also explains that the problems of time during this pandemic aren’t limited by territory. Everyone feels the boredom and the confinement. One thing that’s actualized in this performance is how the artists deal with time. This then became the concept of the stage that is flexible and opens up other possibilities.

The stage is a point of view. In several sets, we are presented with: a room full of knitting, a kitchen with a robot, a kitchen with furniture which is also musical instruments, a den, bedroom, a courtyard, and a dining room. These sets show that the stage in this show is home. The actualization of time and house is the symbol of what is happening during this pandemic: stay at home.

Virtual reality is the one that combines events between actors (which obviously have different shooting locations), while the very limited physical reality is the narrative. Daily activities that become the plays, which are the main points of the passage of time during the pandemic. That’s the play presented by Time It Is My Friend. One thing that is different from theatrical performances where we can find protagonists, antagonists and others.

When imagining an online theater show, there are three forms of theaters that I imagine: first, the show is recorded on the same set with multiple editing attempts afterwards (such as a movie). Second, is box to-box show like the movie Host or like a meeting video conference in general but with a script. Or third, a live streaming performance, where there is a stage and a camera that is actively records everything on the stage.

Well, in this show we’re given another form: a mixture. Tapping does exist, live streaming- is also exist. Things like this obviously need extra work considering how the interconnection must run smoothly without hindrance for the sake of audience’s satisfaction. There are some video problems, especially in the live streaming section and when two audios meet (Indonesian, English or Japanese audio).

In fact, it is a real picture of how our interconnection runs every day, with various obstacles and not always smooth. However, obviously those obstacles are also a problem for watching satisfaction. We have been presented with the smoothness of performances every day, this is what needs to be considered in other performances: visual quality

Above all, I’m delighted to have watched this show, apart from having a different concept than others, a line of all-star mainteater actors who played in this stage. I hope that in the future, this show can be enjoyed again with certain packages.


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