LL Zane: Second Life News by Lora Constantine

Miss Virtual World 2009 Enterprise Salutes Content Creators on SL

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on February 23, 2009

Miss Virtual World 2009 Enterprise Salutes Content Creators on SL

In a virtual world where beauty is not the product of genetics and upbringing, but publicly created by intelligent design and hype, a cast of 18 Miss Virtual World 2009 contestants preen in Second Life’s biggest beauty pageant of the year. Set in Patch Thibaud Auditorium, a glitz and grand glam 4-sim auditorium 3000 metres in the sky, and held by the BOSL “Best of SL” enterprises, Miss Virtual Worlds 2009 is as sensational as it is prodigal, and it is only appropriate that Frolic Mills, the owner and master of ceremonies of the enterprise, opens the event with biblical words, “In the beginning, there was only land… and the designers created Second Life.”

Running for six hours, Miss Virtual World 2009 opened with a dance from last year’s finalists Mui Mukerji and Willamina Fitzgerald. The 18 contestants of this year’s beauty pageant then took their place next to their country flags, as co-host Giela Delpaso introduced the ethnic nature of each dress design and allowed each model to introduce herself and her country.

Frolic Mills announced the judges and opened the swimsuit competition, where each model was flaunted in a metallic cylindrical capsule stage. The Changhigh Trinity sisters performed a dance routine in an intermission before the evening gown competition, where each model, once again, paraded to centerstage to give spotlight to the country she represented.

Beneath a gleam of haze, the virtual sweat of a half-rezzed face, the pageant models braved their way through lag on the stage, each giving a brief line through text chat, representing both her country and virtual self. Many of the models attribute their appearances to the designers who created their looks, and gave thanks to them. Of note are two models who specifically mention that if they win, they would become advocates against content theft (on SL). The assertions come from ZoeAnastasia Aeon, “If I am crowned Miss Virtual World this evening, I will support content creators in the following ways. First, during the rest of my time in SL, I will respect creators’ right of property; I will not buy or promote any copied or stolen item. Second, I would teach new people to understand the hard work and art that these content creators are bringing to SL and encourage them to respect that as well.”, and EmmZ Tzara, “Should I be fortunate enough to be crowned MISS VIRTUAL WORLD, I would use this opportunity to continue to fight against content theft, the single greatest threat to our designers, and continue and increase my RL and SL associations with charitable aims, such as the fight against Autism and Traumatic Brain Injuries.”

Chosen in the Crystal Ballroom dance last week, Miss Elegance is Haruka Kish, Miss Congenility, chosen by the models themselves, is Kate Stockholm.

The judges then announced five finalists, who were each subject to a single incisive question from a judge of their choice. The questions ranged from how a model would react to find out that this year’s Miss Virtual World is actually male in RL to whether a model were bothered by SL’s materialism and emphasis on outer appearance to what a model defined as elegance. Judge Raven Pennyfeather asked what model EmmZ Tzara would do if she had an opportunity to benefit “some sort of RL Situation using SL.” EmmZ Tzara, who works with special-needs children, especially Autistic children, hopes to fundraise for such charities in SL.  Judge Minnu Palen asked if a model would sacrifice their “moral, ethical, or religious beliefs in order to win the competition.” Model Sally Yachvii responded valiently with, “Never. I’m known in SL as a strong-personality person. I react in SL same as I would in RL… I would never do something that would interfere with my principles and beliefs as a real human.”

After some deliberation, the judges arrived at naming Mimmi Boa (Miss Italy) as Miss Virtual World 2009.

Though flaunting some of the most avant garde styles in the virtual world, many of the clothing items could not load under the conditions imposed by lag. Gray textures and un-rezzed sculpted parts cast the classic Second Life look on the scene, and yet the 200 avatar audience present in the four sims enjoyed the event. Indeed, Frolic Mills, also the owner of the Patch Thibaud Auditorium, looks forward to many events in the next year.

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SL Shakespeare Company’s Twelfth Night, Act 1: The Open-Ended Run

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on February 20, 2009

PRESS RELEASE
February 23, 2009
Contact: Lora Constantine

SL Shakespeare Company’s Twelfth Night, Act 1: The Open-Ended Run

Shakespeare, Second Life: The virtual worlds performance of Twelfth Night, Act 1 unabridged, live and direct from the first folio returns and will play on indefinitely—as you will it! The SL Shakespeare Company’s long-awaited open-ended run premiers Sunday, March 1 at 1 PM PST, and will continue indefinitely every Sunday at 1 PM PST and every Tuesday at 6 PM PST at the SL Globe Theatre.

Artistic Director Ina Centaur is directing this play with a new cast and a rare vision in Shakespearean productions, “This production attempts to be as true and pure to the play as possible… This is the only one of the Bard’s plays that is not under suspicion from various bad quartos editions, so there might be some insights to be divined if we try to dramatize it based on a close reading—independent of the shackles of any era interpretation.”

Although the play is rich with references to Elizabethan England, Centaur has chosen to let more intrinsic elements define the visuals, “Avoiding the extraneous notions of modernity, the play looks like it’s from the ‘generic past’… The visual elements aren’t bound to a particular era or interpretation—but serve to help embellish the intrinsic elements of the play.”

Starting in April, the troupe will be trying several possible “Variations,” including an all-female production, a switched-genders production, and several more. Artistic Director Ina Centaur explains that despite the changes, the “Variations” will be related by a certain “unmoving pivot,” “Twelfth Night, Act 1 is about the formation of love triangles… There’s a salient love triangle that evolves through the act, connecting Viola, Olivia and Orsino, and a subtle relationship triangle that forms between Maria, Andrew and Toby in Scene 3. That’s like the unmoving pivot that connects the ‘Variations.’ Our goal is to be able to vibrantly convey these archetypal relationships in both our main ‘traditional’ production as well as our ‘Variations.’”

When asked why the troupe is performing just a single act, Centaur asserts, “We’re doing it in obsessive detail step-by-step, since we plan to perform the play unabridged in a way that’s not only worth your time to see, but may also delight and even enlighten you. It’s a bite-sized chunk of goodness each time. Come see Act 1 to get a glimpse of the SL Shakespeare Company magic before we move onto Act 2 this summer!”

The play stars Caliban Jigsaw, Ixmal Supermarine, Kerry Takashi, KeyKey Underwood, Mokey Mokusei, and Sensuality Cordeaux.

Premiering March 1, the performances will be held Sundays at 1 PM SLT (GMT-8) and Tuesdays at 6 PM SLT (GMT-8) at the SL Globe Theatre, in the virtual world of Second Life, accessible anywhere in the world with an Internet-ready computer. http://visit.SLshakespeare.com

Subtitles will be provided in English, French, German, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.

About Twelfth Night, Act 1

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is the story of a shipwrecked girl named Viola, who chooses to go incognito as a boy eunuch. Act 1 establishes the love triangle that Viola, Duke Orsino, and Olivia become entangled in, and also introduces some of Shakespeare’s most memorable characters—Malvolio and Feste. Unlike the Bard’s other plays, Twelfth Night exists only in the folio editions.

About the SL Shakespeare Company

Set in the virtual world of Second Life (SL), the SL Shakespeare Company (SLSC) is the flagship project of sLiterary’s Virtual Reality Shakespeare Initiative (VRSI). SLSC is a resident-funded and resident-supported professional theatre company that embraces the best of what Second Life (SL) has to offer. While it is primarily known to provide quality live Shakespearean theatre available to anyone in any location, SLSC is also the curator of Second Life’s most historically accurate theatres and architecture relating to William Shakespeare.

About sLiterary

sLiterary, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering literary and artistic endeavors in Second Life and other virtual worlds.

About Second Life

Second Life is a free online virtual world imagined and created by its residents.

Neither the SL Shakespeare Company nor sLiterary is affiliated with Linden Lab. Second Life is a trademark of Linden Lab. No infringement is intended.

Interview with Artistic Director Ina Centaur on Twelfth Night, Act 1—The Open-Ended Run

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on February 20, 2009

Interview with Artistic Director Ina Centaur on Twelfth Night, Act 1—The Open-Ended Run
by Lora Constantine

What is your vision in directing the play?

“This production attempts to be as true and pure to the play as possible… This is the only one of the Bard’s plays that is not under suspicion from various bad quartos editions, so there might be some insights to be divined if we try to dramatize it based on a close reading—independent of the shackles of any era interpretation.”

What is your artistic vision for this production?

“The best metaphor to describe its visual appearance might be the phrase I conjured up for our Fall 2008 preview season: the play looks like it’s from the ‘generic past.’ This also avoids the politics and extraneous notions connected with modernity. In general, the seen elements aren’t bound to a particular era or interpretation—but serve to help embellish the intrinsic elements of the play.”

What do you mean?

“The characters basically look like their epithets, and the sets and props are designed to help flaunt and dramatize the intrinsic story and text, as well as the characte relations.”

How do the sets help dramatize the play?

“For example, in scenes where class and persona differences play a thematic role, multiple levels are created in the scenic design: Orsino’s balcony is clearly set off-access from Viola, who beseeches him as a servant on the main stage level, emphasizing both their different status and outlook—Orsino’s flamboyance and Viola’s incognito-as-a-servant ‘obedience’. Similarly, the set for Scene 5 also contains different levels, but has stairs within view, allowing for Viola to easily climb up to Olivia, and the other way around—and, indeed, in stark contrast to the Orsino-Viola scenes, something intimate is passed between Viola and Olivia in that scene.”

And, costuming?

“Costuming was chosen to convey archetypes of each of the play’s main characters. Orsino looks like a duke, but there’s a certain reckless abandon in him—he looks like a guy in love with the concept of love itself. Olivia is of gray eyes with flaxen hair, but there’s a sadness in her expression—yet she can look like one who would entertain an old clown ‘for want of other idleness,’ or a sister and daughter in mourning—a certain quintessential valley-girl-ism. Viola for Act 1 is portrayed as clever, though innocently naïve—what other kind of character would choose to go incognito as a boy without expecting such complications?”

What brought you to work with character archetypes instead of a traditional era interpretation?

“A duke in love with the concept of love itself, a shipwrecked girl incognito as a boy eunuch, and the fair but young Lady Olivia in mourning—they contrast sharply with the irreverent man-adolescent Sir Toby Belch, the arrogant but sulking Malvolio, and the scolding but lascivious busybody Maria. In the middle of all this in Act 1, you also have Feste, the fool-uncertain-of-his-wit, and the witless Sir Andrew Aguecheek. While you can put them in era outfits, these characters are timeless, and it’s really their personality and role, as created by Shakespeare’s text (and which I’ve tried to summarize in epithet-esque above), that makes them who they are.”

How would you keep the fans who come to every single show excited for the entire open-ended run?

“Those fans typically know that our plays evolve through the course of even a typical run. But, starting in April, we plan to show ‘Variations’ of the play—such as an all-female production and switched-gender productions. Same words, but played by very different people. We’ll see what happens!”

How do you plan to keep the “Variations” together? Would the “Variations” be telling the same story?

“Twelfth Night, Act 1 is about the formation of love triangles… There’s a salient love triangle that evolves through the act, connecting Viola, Olivia and Orsino, and a subtle relationship triangle that forms between Maria, Andrew and Toby in Scene 3. That’s like the unmoving pivot that connects the ‘Variations.’ Our goal is to be able to vibrantly convey these archetypal relationships in both our main ‘traditional’ production as well as our ‘Variations.’”

Do you believe the archetypes would carry through with each “Variation?”

“Totally. I don’t think gender would change a character’s essential essence in the play—if you speak Stanislavsky, we’re talking about his or her super-objective, and I think that would not be transient with gender. Of cousre, you might wonder in a reverse-gender situation, why Violio would choose to go under-cover as a girl Cesaria—but I think it would be for similar reasons; Violio is effeminate, and would rather not want to get beat up in this new land of Illyria, similar to how Viola would choose to go incognito as Cesario to avoid being the more helpless gender… I believe, at least, it’s realistic to have a duchess or countess in love with the concept of love itself—and with Second Life’s high population of Aspie’s [those with Asperger’s Syndrome], I’m sure, for some, the meaning will carry through to heart!”

Would you be changing the characters’ appearances for your “Variations”?

“I think we’ll just switch the voices around for the switched-genders Variation. But, it might be interesting if the characters were explicitly their other gender, with Lord Oliver and Violio incognito as Cesarina. We will be replacing the male avatars with distinctly female avatars (and slightly re-cast) for the all-female production. We’ll have Duchess Orsinia and Lady Andrea Auguecheek and Malvolia! It’s not just an exploration of the play’s famous androgyny… It’s also be fun!”

How long do you think the open-ended run might last?

“I don’t know! We’ll see, I guess!”