Ever wanted to be a walk-on part on a film set? Well, now’s your chance - sort of. The White Eagle film project has come to Edinburgh and they want their audience to participate with them. This production is an immersive experience which gives you a choice of getting involved and allows different levels of audience participation. Accurately announced from the off as “very low budget”, this part-film, part-immersive theatre experience explores life in Russian gulags using verbatim accounts from gulag survivors. Several scenes are shot during the course of the production, shown simultaneously as live performance onstage and also from the point of view of the onstage camera through a monitor visible to the audience. These scenes follow the experiences of a wrongfully arrested man and his experience living in and trying to escape from a gulag.
Shooting The White Eagle was an immensely enjoyable experience, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something interactive and a little different at the Fringe this year.
This production was very enjoyable to watch as well as participate in, and was inventive in creating the picture using both low cost materials and members of the audience. The use of film and live action simultaneously keeps your attention and encourages contemplation on the verbatim pieces being recited. However, Shooting The White Eagle doesn’t have a completely settled idea of what it is. Though it’s described as as ‘darkly comic’ in its publicity, this doesn’t quite come off in the production. At times, the tone was extremely light-hearted and casual (particularly in between the shooting of different scenes) which didn’t quite mesh with the heavy, threatening world of the Gulag. This feels inconsistent. In addition, whilst there were moments of strong performance from the two male actors, at other times their performances were not particularly credible on screen or on stage and threatened to undermine the seriousness of the subject matter.
Shooting The White Eagle was an immensely enjoyable experience, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something interactive and a little different at the Fringe this year. With a few clarifications of tone and a stronger sense of purpose (be it comic or serious) this production could be something truly excellent.