Second Life is not only a great place to be entertained, one can also find lots of "high art" from painting and sculpture to classical music and even ballet performances. Case in point, I just received news about a new theatrical production of the work of British playwright Howard Barker on October 21 and 22 in Second Life. Presented by Coventry University, the Avatar Repertory Theater will be staging 13 Objects: Studies in Servitude by Howard Barker as part of an international festival celebrating the work of this playwright.
I must admit that I'm somewhat skeptical about how theatrical performance translates to a virtual environment. In theater, so much depends on the skill of the actors to help me forget the artifice of the stage. Watching avatars move and gesture around a digital stage already takes me out of the flow of the play's universe.
I expressed this to one of the actors, Mickie Nikolaidis, who I ran into on the set tonight. She replied, ""What we do is more than movement of avatars. The real acting skills come from our voice acting. It's not unlike a lot of the machinima work being done, except it's live instead of in a recorded format."
I'm open to the idea of virtual worlds facilitating new forms of audience engagement that was not possible before. The stage itself is an elaborate environment that the audience is invited to walk around and explore before and after the show. It creates the ambiance of "post World War II London blitz post-apocalyptic grunge" quite well, in the way a real life stage could not.
Performances will be on Oct 20,
4pm SLT and October 21, 2pm SLT at Coventry University Sim (click here to teleport). The complete press release follows after the jump...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEKill Date: October 22, 2009
A.R.T. COMPANY TO PARTICIPATE IN WORLD-WIDE EVENT
Coventry University presents Avatar Repertory Theater's staging of 13 Objects: Studies in Servitude by Howard Barker as part of an international festival celebrating the work of this prestigious playwright. Performances will be on Oct 20, 4pm SLT and October 21, 2pm SLT at Coventry University Sim (click here to teleport).
On October 21, 2009, more than 50 theater companies will stage readings and performances in celebration of the 21st anniversary of the founding of Howard Barker's theater company, The Wrestling School. A.R.T.'s virtual theater will be another facet in the world wide celebration, from Mexico to Iceland, Australia to Cyprus, in five languages. Organizations participating include the Royal Shakespeare Company in London and the Skylight Theatre Company in Perth.
Howard Barker's Wrestling School was established in 1988 by actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court. The name arose from the feeling that the company must 'wrestle' with the ideas in Barker's text before being able to present them on stage.
A.R.T. will be performing "13 Objects: Studies in Servitude" by Howard Barker, live in Second Life, October 20th at 4 pm and October 21st at 2 pm SLT at the Coventry University sim. 13 Objects shows the secret lives of everyday objects, such as a cup and saucer, or a camera, to make intimate connections and inspire powerful feelings, with poetic language, provocative ideas and dark humor.
The Second Life production is directed by Joff Fassnacht, theatre lecturer at Coventry University, UK. Joff has combined the virtual world with the real world, bringing his students into Second Life to expand and enhance their creative skills. Coventry University was one of the first in the UK to purchase virtual space in Second Life, starting in 2007. Their sim is used as a creative tool for students, as they work in fashion, design and general business.
Along with the live performances, A.R.T. plans to display an installation featuring scenes from "13 Objects" to allow Second Life residents to wander through the environment and get a feel for this remarkable work. The installation is scheduled to open sometime in October and be up for at least thirty days.
Sets and installation builds will used the remarkable objects built by Arcadia Asylum in 2006 and 2007, currently housed in Arcadia Asylum Library and Museum, curated by Mally McGinnis. Pieces from Arcadia's Slum City and Hobo builds carry out director Joff Fassnacht's vision of "post World War II London blitz post-apocalyptic grunge" with astonishing aptness. A.R.T. Producer Ada Radius commented, "It's as though she (Arcadia) had been reading Barker two years ago."
Cast members/voiceover actors include Kayden Oconnell, Prospero Frobozz, MadameThespian Underhill, Ada Radius, Em Jannings, Mickie Nikolaidis, AvaJean Westland, Rowan Shamroy, Dolgoruky Umarov and Persephone Phoenix. Directed by Joff Fassnacht, sets and costumes assembled by Ada Radius using the designs of Arcadia Asylum. Sound engineering by Thundergas Menges, scripting by Sodovan Torok, Prospero Frobozz and Ian Pahute, animations by Joff Fassnacht, with additional graphics and builds by JubJub Forder and Ada Radius. Admission to the event and installation is free.
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For more information please contact Mickie Nikolaidis via notecard or at email@example.com