Finally. Finally, a remote theatre production which doesn’t oscillate around themes of self-isolation, quarantine and online life but touches upon valid subjects anyway. 10 Days That Shook the World therefore definitely deserves some attention.
Thereby Hangs a Tale Productions turns their award-winning spectacle into an audio live show. It feels like quite a graceful mode of virtual performance as it is devoid of awkward Zoom appearances, poor image quality and caricature acting. Instead, the sound is accompanied by the photographs of the cast illustrating different stages of the story. Perhaps not fully professional but it provides the audience with the comfort of enjoying the show, without any distractions. The quality of the sound is impeccable, so this is a sort of direction for online theatre I would fully approve of.
10 Days That Shook the World draws inspiration from the book under the same title, published in 1919. American journalist, John Reed, tells the story of the October Revolution in Russia that he experienced first-hand with his wife, Louise Bryant. Both Louise and John become the major protagonists of this audio show; however, instead of delivering a history lesson, they talk about their personal feelings and experiences. It is, as they describe it themselves, ‘intensified history’, with the main focus on emotions. Emotions shared together by a married couple.
The form of the show also sheds new light on the Russian revolution and changes the way of perceiving history. John and Louise tell their story from the perspective of time after they actually died. Quite an interesting construction of temporality for the production based on historical events.
10 Days That Shook the World features many songs as well, simple but beautiful and actually catchy. The voices of all members of the cast are pure and perfect for musical theatre that’s why they sound effortlessly good when harmonising together. So, a musical by dead people? Sign me in.
10 Days That Shook the World is a refreshing production on the online theatre scene. Without trying too hard, it moves the emphasis from the present to the past and reminds of life before the pandemic. Hopefully, the one afterwards will be possible too and Thereby Hangs a Tale Productions will make their debut at Edinburgh Fringe 2021.