Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

On Board, A Collection Of Virtual Reality Performances Brings Indie Xr Artists Together In One Evening

pixeltracker

On Board comes on the heels of a successful production of Brendan Andolsek Bradley's Jettison, which premiered last fall at NoProscenium's HERE Festival.

On Board, A Collection Of Virtual Reality Performances Brings Indie Xr Artists Together In One Evening

As Broadway and West End Theatres remain shuttered from the pandemic, a virtual theater revolution has inspired artists without a stage to begin building new ones in virtual space using extended reality (XR) technologies. Beyond the "new normal" of Zoom Theater and streaming-giant acquisitions of recorded stage shows, like Hamilton, interactive live entertainment has become big business during a time when nearly everyone is isolated at home.

On the one year anniversary of the global shutdown of the entertainment industry, Active Replica and The Jigsaw Ensemble present ON BOARD: An Evening of Short XR Performances produced, rehearsed, and performed entirely in web-based virtual reality, demonstrating several different forms and styles of fully-immersive, virtual theater production.

Audience members can attend using their computers, phones, tablets, or virtual reality headset. Once they've logged in, they'll find themselves in a virtual lobby where they'll be met by the house managers, who help them "on board" a virtual cruise ship in-character as pirates and yacht bros. Changing scenery and costumes with the click of a button, the audience journeys through a "dark ride" of short performances created by different artists around the world, each with their own unique approach to interactive technology and storytelling through theater, improvisation, and dance. The evening ends on a deserted island, allowing the audience to enjoy a post-show sunset while they discuss their reactions and feedback.

On Board comes on the heels of a successful production of Brendan Andolsek Bradley's Jettison, which premiered last fall at NoProscenium's HERE Festival. Jettison was originally commissioned and produced by The Swim Shorts Festival, premiering new theatrical voices in a rooftop swimming pool in midtown Manhattan. The play is only three actors and ten minutes on one static set, but also features a live rabbit and takes place in the middle of the ocean. This juxtaposition of simple production needs and impossible production elements represents exactly the kind of theatrical production process the team wanted to approach in VR. After the successful run of the play and a documentary film of the production process, the team wanted to share their findings to empower other storytellers with the application of low-budget theatrical production methods for live mixed reality, remote performances.

Thanks to the support of Active Replica and The Jigsaw Ensemble, ON BOARD features the work of Brendan Bradley, Davis Brinker, Nick Carrillo, Meredith Casey, Ashley Clements, Zach Christensen, Alex Coulombe, Clemence Debaig, Peter Glanville, David Gochfeld, Isak Keller, Dasha Kittredge, Kevin Laibson, Roman Miletitch, Jin-young Pellow, Nican Robinson, and Ari Tarr offering a first of it's kind "audience handoff" by some of the most groundbreaking innovators in immersive, virtual storytelling from around the globe. The evening will include actors performing as virtual reality avatars, dancing live-streamed into a 3D world, a play written by Open AI's GPT-3, an interactive scavenger hunt to immerse the audience in the narrative, with music generated on the spot using artificial intelligence.

These artists are betting open-source, virtual tools can help re-open theaters worldwide. And they're not alone. From Dua Lipa's record breaking livestream music video and The Weekend performing live inside TikTok using a motion capture body suit, to the Oculus game company, Tender Claws, performing VR Shakespeare inside The Under Presents. Even The Royal Shakespeare Company is launching an interactive adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream which allows the audience to interact with the performance, but cannot be experienced in VR.

The whole industry is watching this emerging medium, and in the true spirit of independent storytelling, OnBoard scrappily steals from them all. With leaders of the virtual theater movement wielding consumer-grade equipment and free, publicly available software, while never leaving their homes, for one ticket and one night, you can get a glimpse of a half dozen hybrid performances that refuse to be stuck in a (Zoom) box.

Limited performances will be March 16th, 17th & 19th. Tickets are available using the link: https://tinyurl.com/OnBoardLive


Related Articles View More Brooklyn Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You