The Third Day live theatrical event: How it works
Staff Reporter | On 03, Oct 2020
This weekend sees Sky enter innovative waters with the live broadcast of a theatrical event on TV for 12 hours.
The Third Day: Autumn is the second chapter in Sky Atlantic’s psychological thriller, which stars Jude Law and Naomie Harris. Created by Dennis Kelly and Felix Barrett, the six-part drama is set on an alluring and mysterious British island and comprises three standalone, yet connected, stories. The first three-part drama, which aired over the past three weeks, follows Sam (Law), who is drawn to the island and unable to leave the idyllic and dangerously enchanting world he has discovered, where the secretive rituals of its inhabitants bring him to grapple with experiences of loss and trauma hidden in his past through the distorted lens of the present.
Winter will follow, with Naomie Harris starring in another three-part tale about Helen, who arrives on the island for a family holiday, hoping to bond with her daughters. That begins on 6th October, with episodes again airing weekly.
In between is Autumn, a live theatrical event that is streaming today on Sky Arts live for 12 hours.
It will see Law and other members of the cast act out the events of a single day. Capturing events live and in one continuous take, the broadcast will invite viewers deeper into the mysterious and suspenseful world of The Third Day, and will blur and distort the lines between what’s real and what’s not. It is created by theatrical innovators Punchdrunk and directed by founder and artistic director of Punchdrunk Felix Barrett.
Originally planned to take place in a theatre, it’s now a TV broadcast instead, but follows Punchdrunk’s signature format of a carefully choreographed mammoth project, with the actors playing out events as if they were taking place there and then in real-time – live, spontaneous and semi-improvised.
About eight or nine years in the works and filmed continuously on a single camera, it’s a huge undertaking, with the cast all staying in character throughout the day, including eating meals and going to the toilet when the camera’s pointing elsewhere.
While there are key scenes and plot points that tie into the overall programme’s story, the one-day event is designed to take place as a relatively standalone piece, so people can watch Summer and Winter without Autumn, or just watch Autumn and still get a sense of the place, atmosphere and what’s going on. That means you don’t have to watch the whole 12 hours to get the full experience, with audiences expected to dip in and out throughout the day, like visiting the island for an hour.
Alongside Law, curious viewers can also expect to see Emily Watson, Paddy Considine and Katherine Waterston on camera, as well as Florence Welch, of Florence And The Machine, in an acting role.
Sky Arts is available to watch for free on Freeview and Freesat on channel numbers 11 and 147, with the channel also available to live-stream and catch up with on-demand through NOW TV. The Summer and Winter chapters of The Third Day are available exclusively on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.
The Third Day is available on Sky Atlantic. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it live and on-demand legally on NOW TV, for £9.99 a month.