Virtual Performance Factory, cont’d.

3 Aug

I am having the best time as a writer I’ve had for ages, figuring out the puzzle-ring that’s my part of the collaborative project, the Virtual Performance Factory. Curated and directed by Joseph Megel as part of the CHAT Festival (Collaborations in Art and Technology) at UNC Chapel Hill, we’re a team of writers creating “rooms” which combine live performance and virtual/ game elements. The game design will be created by Icarus, a Chapel Hill based video game production company.

The brief has challenged me to think about several things:
1. interactivity: how to make the experience something that involves the audience. As individuals? As a group? As fictions within the world of the performance?

2. use of media. My commonest complaint about often-dazzling new media work is the shallowness of content and “illustrative” functions of video, projection etc. So the question for me has been: what world am I making where these virtual elements are integral to the story?
As it turns out— a Limbo between live and virtual selves severed by traumatic memory in a returned veteran’s haunted Underpass.

As well as these wonderful formal challenges, given the sorry trajectory of Development Hell which most of us peon playwrights wade through en route to production, it’s also been a great joy to write something that I KNOW will be designed and produced. I write something and people talk about how to make it happen on screen, in the room… It’s like hearing music aloud again after hours of silently looking at dots on a stave.

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