Since taking Loveseat to the Venice Film Festival last year, we had been reflecting on how to bridge the virtual and real world audiences in an experience that combined live theater and social VR. The "Experiments in Digital Storytelling" week-end, scheduled for early April, was the perfect opportunity to play with the interactions between a live audience engaging with a live actor in the theater as well as a virtual actor performing from Los Angeles. We brainstormed like crazy and drew up an outline of everything we wanted to try. But alas, the best laid plans...
By mid-March the entire world was in lock-down, theaters everywhere were closed, and our team was scattered across the continent!
Culture Hub, LaMama and our team at Double Eye Studios all decided to try to go ahead with the event, spreading it over two days, the first this past April 18th and the second, next May 12th. The live audience became an entirely digital audience connecting via social networks and Saturday's first "experiment" became a rehearsal of the excerpt we hope to present in May. Here's a short passage:
If you're curious to know more, the entire event was live streamed below. You can hear more of the above scene and learn about our creative process as we begin designing Pandora X. We also take a look back at designing Loveseat for the Venice Film Festival. Kiira Benzing (our director), Jonathan David Martin and Jenn Harris (our actors), Mac Rogers and I (the writers) all discuss some of the challenges in designing and performing for a piece of VR theater.