“Hello my beautiful”, transmedia play

Video capture of a collective creation directed by Benoît Labourdette. Played on March 26, 2016 at the CNSAD (15 minutes).
28 March 2016. Published by Benoît Labourdette.
Temps de lecture : 5 min  

“Today, almost everyone takes the stage on digital networks, takes a presence in the gaze of others by self-portraits interposed. What about the place of our lives? What can the theater stage, representation, and poetic gesture put into motion in depth in the mental representations of our contemporary living spaces? And how can we mobilize technological tools as actors relevant in stage place?”

A transmedia show, a simultaneous dramaturgical proposal online and in theaters (200 in-room spectators + 2500 online viewers, who live two different experiences), realized with Periscope live video application.

Artistic work

I leaded a workshop “Creating transmedia” a week for a group of students from the Femis and of CNSAD, as part of a week inter-school, in March 2016. It is in this context that the transmedia “Hello my beautiful” show was created. In addition to stage performance, which is the first joint, or main brick project, other content, other spectators experiences unfold / additional participants, that we’ve designed, fed: texts, films, recordings... And the conduct of the show itself, dependent of interactions via the network, is absolutely singular in its moment of incarnation.

There were a lot of thinking to the table on the theme of sexism and the media, interspersed with moments of Periscope (which was proposed by trainees) tests, improvisations, film shootings, writing with the tools of autocompletion, flights of unmanned aerial vehicles in the studio, audio... Go on an adventure, collectively, of a subject and its accuracy compared to representation devices to choose from.

The transmedia experience

What is transmedia ? A narrative on multiple media. How can this concept be applied to the performing arts ? Here’s how worked this project, which is a very good illustration to the service of a subject : sexist derivatives and ordinary violence on social networks.

  • First, creating a Facebook page “Hello my beautiful”, several days before the performance, with a proper announcement, the date and the hour of the show (announced as visible at the theatre and live remotely).
  • A release circulated by email to various audiences.
  • Then of QR Codes, broadcast on the internet and in physical locations, which led to dedicated website with a countdown, and the Periscope app, that was going to be at the heart of the drama of the play.
  • A mysterious SMS sent on the evening of the show at the 200 spectators expected: “Yo ya sold some dream”.
  • In the entrance of the theatre, mysterious text messages displayed with a QR Code (redirecting to Periscope).
  • In the small theater of CNSAD, before the audience came, were arranged on all seats white leaves with a QR Code to the web site and a sentence “that allows” to use his mobile phone during the show. These white sheets kept by the spectators, were the link tool after the show.
  • Here is a synthesis of the stage show (fifteen minutes, which you can watch the recording above) :
    • When the public enters, he sees on the scene, which is illuminated: A screen at the back of the stage. A small table to left (“Garden”), with a camera that filmed from above, and an operator with a laptop and a tablet. A large table right (“Court”), with three people sitting, trying to manipulate their phones.
    • The lights go off. Black total.
    • We hear a woman’s voice, at the microphone, “Yo you as sold me the dream”.
    • On the backdrop screen, large, these words are then written in white on black, it is the operator who tape live on his laptop.
    • Ensue then other SMS written on-line and by voice, telling ordinary, extremely violent sexism on social networks (these sentences are real, taken from sessions Periscope).
    • The operator down then the computer screen. A Tablet appears large on the screen at the bottom of scene, with a map of the world.
    • A Chinese shadow hand is getting this card, and we connected to the “video stream” of people around the world, who share their intimacy in ’live’, with the Periscope application. Everyone can connect, and comment, via messages written in different colors, parading on the image, up to hide the face. At the bottom right is displayed the number of connected simultaneously. The faces of three people trying to manipulate the phones appear to us on stage, only illuminated by the lights of the screens of their phones, that they will handle during the show.
    • On the screen, one arrives to Paris, where it connects to a young woman, and then to another.
    • This young woman, with dark glasses, is talking, with more and more users who connect, her “boyfriend” that it was wrong the day before, telling that she cried all night, that it has twenty years... comments with sexual overtones are progressing. They are produced mainly by real users connected to Periscope.
    • At the bottom of the screen, we see more people connect. In the space of a few minutes, the hearing goes from 40 to 500 people connected simultaneously. The twelve minutes of the connection, 2,500 people will be connected to the profile of this young woman. In the room there are 200 spectators.
    • Comments are extremely numerous, quite filthy for a large number of them, as in a regular gender-based violence.
    • (Andrea El Azan) actress who plays this character works from a dramaturgic, but reacts by improvising what happens unexpected. This piece is “transmedia” in real time, as it exists therefore at the same time for 2500 spectators of Periscope interacting with them and for 200 spectators in the room, in very different, although concurrent terms.
    • Among the speeches written in real time on the screen, four are due to other actors, the three present at the table on stage (Mathilde Charbonneaux, Laura Garcia, Rafael Torres Calderón), and other shows in the studio where played Andrea El Azan, Bénédicte Mbemba (so that the actress is not alone to wipe the fire of violence and can (, in pairs, adapt the dramaturgy in real-time, Bénédicte Mbemba intepretant its main partner in writing via the application).
    • This is a kind of “textual fireworks”, visual, intimate interactions, which reveals a frantic pace of communication, human superficiality, of violence, in which there are also the compassion of poetry. What happens on stage is hardly believable, because it is real. Our dramaturgical proposes in the reality of this network.
    • Coincidence, the Periscope celebrated March 26, 2016, day of performance, anniversary of a year of existence.
    • Look uptake to live this time of twelve minutes, heart of the show very peculiar dramatic power.
    • The main character realizes that she has been “location-based” by someone, who knows many more things on it than what she would have thought, and comes to find her. The border of the screen is as broken. The fear of the other in its reality happens. Anguish of a potential real violence.
    • It may encounter, she decides to go find this character, receiving multiple tips and warnings in writing.
    • It rises so released, starting to sing a song, and soon arrived at the balcony of the theatre at Italian where the play takes place.
    • Seen and understood continue to sing with us, but she is still on the screen, she also films the public, his voice is threader, being broadcast with several seconds of latency by all telephones connected in the room. A setting abyme extremely surprising, giving rise to the dismay of many spectators on Periscope, seen in the comments. Moment of intense disorder, the character of the man did not exist in reality, but having been symbolically replaced by theatre audiences, and the female main character taking obvious fictional status, referring therefore the perception of each a vision different from what just happened.
    • At the table on stage the operator (Agathe Reiland) closed the Tablet, and oak black screen computer, on which she types an extremely strange, poetic text speaking of love in a disjointed manner, as a sort of mix between the expression of various people organized by a machine (text written by Mathilde Charbonneaux with autocompletion system phones).
    • It shut the computer. The three faces of the actors to the phones on stage were extinguished with the extinction of the tablet. Black. Applause.
    • The computer screen opens to display the end credits of the room on the screen at the bottom of the scene.
    • Black again. The light turns back on. The scenic device is disassembled at sight in a few moments, and on-screen, the web site address, to “continue the experience”.
  • The dedicated web site http://bjrmabelle.com offers uptake, as well as many complementary content, around the theme of sexism: very fun short films, sound recordings, texts written in autocompletion... all these contents has been made by the group. Antoine Garnier built website, and sent the SMS. Benjamin Chevallier and Roman Jean-Elie, who could not be present at the time of the representation were both also at the heart of the creation (design of the transmedia, content creation, and QR Code, layout, dramaturgical work...).
  • Returns of the spectators were very positive, alarmed, too, because what it was was not science fiction, but real and put distance and thought by the device of staging transmedia.


“Hello my beautiful”, transmedia play
“Everyone today is staged on the networks, taking existence in the eyes of others by interposed self-portraits. What then of the stage of the theatre of representation, of the poetic gesture?”Creating collective transmedia, on stage, on Periscope, on Facebook, on the internet, on mobile phones, in the city..."

Saturday, March 26, 2016 14: 00. Duration: 20 minutes. Live and at the Conservatoire National d’Art Dramatique - 2bis rue du Conservatoire 75009 Paris.


“Hello my beautiful”, show transmedia

collective creation leaded by
Benoît Labourdette

Mathilde Charbonneaux
Benjamin Chevallier
Andrea El Azan
L. Garcia
Antoine Garnier
Novel Jean-Elie
Bénédicte Mbemba
Agathe Reiland
Rafael Torres-Calderon

Fémis - CNSAD - 2016

Performing arts is my training and my initial culture. Young actor in the 90’s with among other La Compagnie du Chaland and Trottoir Express (France), I was teached to the work of the mask and the art of the jester with William Nedel. I also very early associate film and video on stage, including making many recordings of performances. In recent years, my work of film distribution in the form of live performance and multiple collaborations lead me to reinvest more directly the scenic design work, including accompanying projects with technical innovations and dramaturgical writing related (...)