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Late Night Theatre Challenges Virtual Performance Expectations through Interactive Video Game Production

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When We Were Young runs November 20 - 22.

Late Night Theatre Challenges Virtual Performance Expectations through Interactive Video Game Production

The University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's student-run theatre company, Late Night Theatre, known for showcasing original student works, continues its 2020-21 series with the new work When We Were Young, written by MFA candidate in playwriting Kimberlee Stone.

This experimental digital production challenges the viewer's traditional concepts of what theatre is by delving into the world of video game storytelling as its performance platform. This experimental digital production takes on a whole new genre of storytelling to showcase Stone's script When We Were Young, a mash-up of a memory play and a whodunit, into an interactive video game that each audience member gets to explore. Late Night Theatre continues its endeavor to push the envelope and ask the question, "What is theatre when live audiences and in-person rehearsals are suspended?"

To create the world of this play the creative team combines the video game and theatrical worlds in a fresh and exciting manner. They posit video games are another form of storytelling, theatre, and performance that has been widely unacknowledged until this point. "Certainly they require similar elements: world building, character creation, audience identification, music, and story" says director Thea Wigglesworth, MFA candidate in directing. She continues, "We can and are learning a lot from each other by sharing our techniques for art making and exploring the relationship between avatar and performer." The creative team for When We Were Young has incorporated the combined strengths of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), Academy of Creative Media (ACM), and even a Travel Industry Management (TIM) student for this innovative video game performance endeavor.

Amidst the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement Stone recrafted the narrative of her script to explore the ways in which the criminal justice system creates tension in our modern society. The nostalgia, memory and the friendship between Kayli and Diana (the main two characters) have been further developed by the playwright in response to the events of 2020. Stone elaborated, "This play, however, seeks to explore the aspects of that nostalgia we often repress, because it feels too uncomfortable to confront and forces its characters to either do the uncomfortable thing that ultimately harms others or do the thing that may make life uncomfortable or difficult for one but may be the right thing, morally, in the long run."

Audiences can expect to play and participate in a computer based video game for this performance. The play is presented as a single player game where audience members will play through Kayli's memories. The memories provide information which the audience will put into a pro/con list that will unlock the next room. In fact, When We Were Young is very similar to a traditional passive puzzle game until the final moment when an active choice is required and audiences select their own ending. This show brings Late Night Theatre's new mission to life: "Create to Inspire, Inspire to Transcend, Transcend to Give Voice."

Performances of When We Were Young run online November 20 and 21 at 9:30pm and Sunday the 22 at 7:30pm. Run time is approximately 75 minutes (if played fully with no stone or corner left unturned within the game - a quick play-through can be completed in approx. 10 minutes). Tickets are available at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/40119.


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