Device Reviewed On: iPhone
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Anyone who owns a car with a GPS is familiar with the phrase, “Make a legal U-Turn.” It really doesn’t matter if Ryan or Heather says it. The stilted, automated voices of both are difficult to discern at times. Traveling to Orlando, my husband and I are instructed by Heather to stay right for Exit A. Simple enough, right? But Heather keeps saying “Exit Ah.” A becomes Ah, and we become confused until we remember that Heather is not actually a human being.
Herein lies my issue with Scene Partner, developed by mytheaterapps.com, LLC. As a theater major in undergraduate school, I see Scene Partner as a welcome use of technology to help actors of all tiers and types to get “offbook.” The app’s graphics are strong, memorable, and appealing. With enthusiasm, I dive right in to explore.
Scene Partner provides the actor with two free Shakespearean works to try out, As You Like It and King Lear. A long-time fan of King Lear, I choose to “play” Cordelia and match her to the obvious voice option: Heather. For Laura, Susan, or Nancy, I’ll have to pay an additional $1.99 a piece. Scene Partner provides a screen for each scene, so that the actor can follow along. Still, Heather’s monotonous pitch is practically not useful or useable in interpreting Shakespeare.
Scene Partner provides a “record” option for actors and their scene partners to fill the lines with more inflection and meaning. It also allows actors to download scripts of their choice for a fee. There is an “edit” feature, and one of the most helpful features of Scene Partner is that it allows actors to hear only their cues, to hear their partner’s cues, and/or to hear the cues of every cast member. “Actor” and “Theatre” accounts are also available options.
Scene Partner is unimpressive to me at first attempt, but, although I majored in theater in college and continue to appreciate, attend, and offer support to the theater and the fine arts, I no longer need this type of app for practical, everyday use. For those with careers as actors, or for students who intend to pursue a career in the theater, Scene Partner is very possibly an essential, tangible tool for memorizing lines, cues, and mastering other tasks theater actors require. Overall, to access the full range of services Scene Partner offers, a true, working actor, director, or other supporting partner will get the most for their money from this app.