Sanjeev Kotnala: The@tre – Experience the Live Global Theatre in the Covid Era

23 Jun,2021

Sanjeev KotnalaBy Sanjeev Kotnala


Now, how audacious does it sound. The@tre by ‘TheRed Curtain’ in the Covid era with actors across the globe.


Having once tried directing a play long distance in 2004, I could not imagine how it will be coordinated, the impact, and how the audience will react to it?


I was totally impressed with it after watching the shows on Sunday, June 20. The experience was unique and excellent. It was played live on the computer screen. Still, it was all theatre: brilliant script, perfect coordination, and technology, light, and sound. The show is live and not live stream, where the sense of audience is somewhat lost. It remains true to the concept- as it is live with no re-takes.


Now, the actors don’t know each other and have met only for this play. How tough would it been to coordinate across timezone- direct them online, work on costume and the stage- which was most of the time their home.


Moreover, all the audience had front premium seats—the initial introduction of the actors and after-show interaction with the cast.


At the peak, I think the number crossed 140-plus.




‘The art of facing fear- the world united- Hospital for the soul’ is written by Ivam Cabral and Rodolfo Garcia Vazquez and directed by Vazquez. It is a Red Curtain International and Os Satyos presentation. And there were three shows on June 19-20. One for London, another for San Francisco and a third for Singapore. I caught the last show of this weekend.



The@tre – this global production believes there are no borders, where geography is history. As the worldwide audience, performer, and crew come from around the world sharing time and space. All one needed was a decent wi-fi connection.


Just imagine 25 actors across the five continents playing on your screen. The shows are pre-paid and free. You could later pay forward and donate a show for future audiences. Not too surprised that the actors are doing it for their passion, experience, and experiment with theatre during the covid era when the stage is closed. They were performing for just $10 per appearance!



The show, as the name suggests, is about the fear and anxiety about the current situation. The play starts with the audience interacting and opening about their anxiety with the current.


And the play ends on a positive note.


It re-establishes for me that innovative thinking and dedication to the idea can help you realise what may seem a stupid idea to begin with.



I must also appreciate the fantastic, engaging website for the show, designed by Unfolding. Loved the Fear test that comes with a simple lead-in,

‘while theatre can be good therapy, it is important to know your own levels of anxiety. I took the test, and in some time, my results were mailed to me with a score of 19 and a comment ‘ Even though mild may not seem too alarming, it’s always better to find a safe space you can retreat to when times are tough. It could be meditation, reading a book, playing an instrument, trying out new crafts, and sometimes cleaning your workspace so you’re not crowded with items both in your head and around you.’ You can take the test here.


You can share your quote on fear and stand a chance to be featured on the site. There is a fear and hope gallery, too- where you can upload your artwork on the subject. Some of the artworks that are features are shown below. I do plan to do a doodle on the subject and upload it soon.



I loved the concept of featuring the cast on the site but without identifying them by name or location. And then asking the visitor to guess their country of origin. Sorry to say there is no way to check your answer other than watching the show and trying to match the faces with your guesses. During the show, I attempted to guess and realised how wrong I could be. Can you guess right? Here are some of the members.




If you have not seen the show- do it soon. Here you can catch the upcoming show list.

If you have, do donate- pay forward– for others to watch.

One can even associate as a sponsor paying $500.



When Sumit Roy is associated with a project, training – mentoring cannot be far away. I like the way he has introduced training in theatre. Learn-by-doing Webinars and getting Phygit@l, where workshop faculty will show how to adapt any production to a phygital performanceto a paying audience doing the@tre. Moreover, you could do the fifteen sessions Learn-by-Producing Workshop conducted over three to five weeks. It ends with you being a part of a new production by The Red Curtain. The beauty of these workshops is that a new batch starts as soon as 10 participants sign up. Moreover, The Red Curtain International is open for an internship programme for students willing to invest 2-3 months and interested in more than one area: Acting, Directing, Screen management, Production design, Publicity and Fundraising. They don’t get paid but get work experience in producing The@tre Without Borders.




In 2020, through the lockdown months, the Red Curtain rapidly evolved into The Red Curtain International after producing three successful online productions that turned geography into history. Real-time audiences, cast and crew, logged in from around the world. The Red Curtain family now spans six continents and is a registered non-profit headquartered in Georgia, USA.




While we talk of the play on fear about the situation, I would ask you to read ‘Here Today Here tomorrow’, five short stories on possible future scenario, working on different assumptions on Covid-19 and where it could lead. ‘Nirmalay’s News’ by Priyadarshini Narendra, ‘Sheena’s Good Deed’ by Prabhakar Mundkur, ‘Mrs. Kumar’s Day Of Remembrance’ by Sanjeev Roy, ‘ The Big Idea’ by Priyadarshini Narendra and The Divide By Aiyana Menezes; A 16-year-old sci-fi writer and aspiring biotechnologist.


Disclaimer. I know Sumit Roy of Univbrands and The Red Curtain International personally. I have seen the show for free. But, this review is my personal impressions, and there is no paid or otherwise association I have with the show. Unless identified all pictures from the show on June 20 4.30pm India time and the Red Curtain site. 


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