Interview: Jack McNamara on Stay Safe, a WhatsApp driven play.

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Anything that we become so dependent on likewise opens up brand-new vulnerabilities.

photo credit@ Emanuele Costantini

We are always mesmerized to see how theatre creators propagandize the boundaries of what a present is likely to be, so when we determined the assertion for Stay Safe, we really wanted to know more. It may be, to the best of our insight, the first play told over WhatsApp. The public be a part of a “parents” group chat for the evening, where an innocent question about a class coach leads to unsettling shows. At simply one pound to participate, it seems an ultimate bargin as well. With such a peculiar conception, we just couldn’t resist approaching the show’s writer, Jack McNamara, to find out more.

Stay Safe is being “performed” over WhatsApp, can you explain how that is going to work in reality? Will we be sitting watching our telephones, waiting for the next ping to signify brand-new letter for an hour?

The audience representatives participate a WhatsApp group and will watch as working group chat undoes in real hour on their telephone. They become witness to an exchange that begins with all the usual tropes of Whatsapp( emojis, typos LOLs) but develops into something far more unsettling. The show last-places around 20 -3 0 mins max, so your neck shouldn’t hurt too much by the end of it.

And does this mean there are no “actors” involved in the traditional smell?

Yes there are personas that speak together, share data etc, but these are not spoken/ activated by performers but by a very smart inexplicable lover named Joe who finagles the whole experience remotely.

The storyline revolves around an “unsettling revelation” about a school teacher, without contributing too much apart, is there going to be a Halloween feel to things?

Yes, it begins with a seemingly innocent question about someone who was distinguished in the school and then increases into something more sinister, with hostility organizing amongst the chatting parents. And while there will be a few of the recognisable repugnance motifs in there( strange residences, anonymous videos) the real horror that is revealed is something a bit closer to home for all us phone addicts.

What lured you to using WhatsApp as opposed to any of the other message sharing pulpits available?

I am fascinated by how these various scaffolds encourage and enable different ways of talking and self-presenting. What is affecting about Whatsapp is that it tends to combine both the personal touch of email/ text with the more outward statement becoming of social media. This felt like an interesting tension to explore in exchange kind as it is so different to how we communicate face to face. It’s this private public that mesmerizes me, and something I explored earlier in our postcard projection Love From Cleethorpes.Use of Whatsapp has apparently soared since lockdown, and the fact that we find ourselves more and more used to relying on these pulpits determines it ripe for expedition. Anything that we become so dependent on likewise opens up new vulnerabilities, and so I belief it was only natural that my first foray into this medium learnt itself on the repugnance range. People have said that Whatsapp is already becoming a platform of the past with newer slicker mechanisms replacing it. That’s good with me, as it means we can work with Whatsapp here in a way that feels roughly over familiar. With brand-new stages that come in I think they need to be given time to really embed themselves in different cultures before we start opening them up. I like the relevant recommendations that our employ of Whatsapp is already a little retro!

Will the audience be getting involved, will they be replying in any way to senses?

No they will be commentators. There is huge potential with this form of course to incorporate the audience. But this didn’t happen to be the story for that.

Has Covid-1 9 and lockdown been the reason you’ve tried these alternative formats to put one over a demo, or has this been something you’ve contrived before this year?

We’ve always been interested in other forms. We had an epic podcast sequences PlacePrints proposed long before Covid-1 9 “il be back soon”, but once we secreted it looked like a response to the pandemic. But such a situation, for all the toll it’s taken on us all, has definitely summon many innovative wizards. Our postcard project was a direct result of me to be considered agricultural audiences being cut off from live theatre at this time and what we could do to reach them away from screens. And such projects came about from me looking at Whatsapp exchanges over this time and ability a new loneliness and importance in the need to commune and connect.

Are you was worried that the drama and tension that would normally be present in a theater seat is going to be lost with the public all sitting alone at home?

We are working with a completely different type of tension. It is in no way trying to replicate a live theatre pressure. It was working with the emptines of the public representative, the miniature pattern of stock exchanges, the strange squad of obtain information through your phone. With any theatrical medium, you have to work smartly with these components available to you, and try and turn them to your advantage.

So you’ve done mailing-cards and WhatsApp; any other such unique theories you’re currently “workin on”?

Yes, lots. As mentioned, this time has expanded our compass enormously. First off the bat is an alternative Christmas project that will be announced very soon. But every programme is ripe for exploring at the moment. In addition to slick digital stuff I find myself increasingly drawn to the clunkier more analogue uses. I’m yearn for a more tactile epoch, and working in collaboration with methods of communication that are almost extinct. Perhaps we should do a telegram toy next but ship as an actual telegram.


Our thanks to Jack for his time to tell us about Stay Safe. The continue is part of the Signal Fires, a nationwide programme motivated by one of the original forms of theatre- storytelling around a fire.

Stay Safe is performing from Thursday 29 October- Saturday 31 October, with start times of 8p m, 9pm, 10 pm plus midnight on Saturday. Tickets are just one pound.

More info and booking

Read more: