The Research Group Virtual Theatre wanted to test the capabilities of the Performance Engine (v0.2) in the context of a theatre making process. In collaboration with the department Design for Virtual Theatre and Games (DVTG) a group of 3rd year students got an assignment to research the usage of the Performance Engine in a Theatrical context. They new that there would be a public presentation at the 25th of june 2009 in the Academy Theatre. It was emphasized that the form in which they would present their findings would also illustrate the Performance Engine being a tool for live on-stage improvisation.

As a thematic guideline the students decided to use the text ‘The Metamorphosis’ of Franz Kafka. They designed a movable screen on which a virtual space could be projected. The system ‘knew’ where this screen would be on the physical floor and in what angle  by using the embedded motion capture (Reactivision). So the mobile projection screen thus became a gateway to a parallel (virtual) space. They decided to build the house of Gregor Samsa (lead character) in the computer as this parallel space.

Have a look at a 5 minute video impression:
Click the [HD] button in the player toolbar after pressing the play button for better videoquality.

Because it was mandatory that the presentation would illustrate the flexibility of the system in a live improvisation situation, the students decided to have a live rehearsal session of three scenes on-stage. They tested this concept, and their setup, during one day together with the dramaturg Caspar Nieuwenhuis and actor Ruben Solognier. Finally the improvisational rehearsal was presented in one hour at the 25th of june with Nirav Christophe as dramaturg/director.

Joris Weijdom, head of the research group, gave a 5 minute introduction to the research context of the project. Then the improvisational rehearsal was done in three parts of 15 minutes each. And the presentation was concluded with a short demonstration of the Performance Engine and more about the work methods used.

Have a look at the foto’s below for a first impression.