Monday, June 2, 2014

Blips: Theatrically Inclined

Source(s): At the gates of Temple Studios: Where gaming and theatre collideThe immersed audience: how theatre is taking its cue from video games
Author(s):Tristan Jakob-Hoff, Thomas McMullan
Site(s): Eurogamer, The Guardian

Starting off the week, here are a couple articles from across the pond that center the Punchdrunk theatre group, whose recent performance, The Drowned Man, is finding common ground within the video game community. As both Jakob-Hoff and McMullan's pieces report, theatre and games actually have quite a bit in common, especially in staging/level design, making crossover function rather naturally. Punchdrunk has been putting on performances with interactive elements for years, and even inspired certain aspects of Gone Home, but The Drowned Man appears to be their most ambitious project to date.

Not only are there interactive components to The Drowned Man, but the performance takes place in a 4-story complex, with actors on different floors performing simultaneously (if I'm understanding the description correctly). So you could be opening a "prop" drawer and reading a note for additional narrative context while a soliloquy takes place above you, and another viewer is selected and pulled into a room next door for a one-on-one performance. It's the sort of show that you can't see the entirety of in just one go. And that's a key difference between working in digital and real world "theatre;" in games the action can be programmed and instanced to always make you the center of attention, and thus able to have every actor wait on your arrival to begin. But I also like the idea in live theatre that the world doesn't revolve around you; in some ways, I find there's more immersive potential in that arrangement.

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