LL Zane: Second Life News by Lora Constantine

The World’s First Complete Reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Historic Blackfriars Theatre

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on March 17, 2009

March 17, 2009
Contact: Lora Constantine

The World’s First Complete Reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Historic Blackfriars Theatre

Shakespeare, Second Life—On Saturday, Ina Centaur unveiled to a small gathering of SL Shakespeare Company patrons the most complete rendition of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre in the world. Built to see if “there are any insights to be gained from performing in a fully historicaly accurate ‘lost playhouse,’” Centaur’s reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre is due to grand open to the public the weekend of March 21st.

This re-construction of the Blackfriars Theatre in Second Life is one of two working models in the world. But, Centaur notes that the “Blackfriars Playhouse” re-constructed in RL in Staunton, Virginia is just one interpretation of the interior, without taking into account the actual building the playhouse was built into, “Blackfriars, as the name implies, has quite a lot to do with friars. In fact, the original playhouse was ‘built’ inside a building in a centuries-old stone friary… Nowadays, we would consider [the playhouse] just interior decoration or remodeling.” Centaur explains that from the perspective of a reconstruction historian, “The interesting part in re-creating this would be figuring out how to fit a (presumably) largely wooden interior into a stone chapel or even cathedral-like structure.”

Centaur briefly outlines the research behind the meticulous construction, “I started researching for this project several years ago as a low-time budget hobby as an undergrad. I began by ransacking the books from several UC libraries and binging on interlibrary loans. I was disappointed then, as I am now, by the dearth of published materials specifically on the Blackfriars Theatre itself. But, it gave me a good excuse to read up on a whole lot more seemingly off-tangent stuff… The construction is largely based on Irwin Smith’s interpretation published in the 1960’s, though I’ve taken a somewhat obsessive care to finetune the details—the original structure no longer exists at all, so you can decipher only so little from foundations found in digs, the interior construction can really look like anything. Aside from the usual ‘guessimation’ from period structures that were actually sketched or described, there are letters and written accounts of expenses and other ‘everyday information’ about the Blackfriars that can aid in answering questions as specific as what kind of wood might have been used… It’s a very involved process, conceiving this construction… I will probably publish a paper on [the Blackfriars Theatre].”

Centaur hopes to stage theatrical performances in the virtual reconstruction of the Blackfriars Theatre. When asked what she thought of the significance of this historic theatre being built inside a building of religion, Centaur states, “Theatre is ultimately a very profoundly religious endeavor. I don’t mean this in the sense of any pre-ordained religion, but rather the general idea that there’s some sort of greater good or greater being that exists beyond what’s seen. Each performance is temporal and ephemeral; an actor might play out his best show and not realize it until he reaches the end of his mortal coil—and no one ‘real’ might even get to see it. But, the actor would have experienced it, and if they’re religious: they would believe that God saw it—and that it was good, and that’s all that matters… And, it’s not just symbolism… I think that the fact that this theatre is built inside the remains of a religious building basically makes the relation between actor and venue and back to actor again totally go full circle!”

Centaur, who is also the artistic director of the SL Shakespeare Company, has created several models of the Globe Theatre, as well as a meticulous rendition of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London—which is known as the SL Globe Theatre in Second Life. While Centaur is known for much more, she pays high respect to this endeavor, “Aside from the totally remodeled Skin City sim to be unveiled this summer, I think this is my favorite build on SL thus far. It’s brand new and unique.”

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.


Inachi Presents Avatar Nyotaimori on Second Life

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on March 17, 2009

March 17, 2009
Contact: Lora Constantine

Inachi Presents Avatar Nyotaimori on Second Life


Shakespeare, Second Life and Skin City, Second Life—In the midst of a virtual reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan England, an avant-garde virtual sushi restaurant named Inachi unveils its first gourmet dish. Dubbed “Nyotaimori,” the platter features an artistic arrangement of finely-priced sushi adorning the nude avatar body of virtual celebrity Codebastard Redgrave. The sum of sushi prices on this Nyotaimori reaches at about L$1,000,000; its purpose is to be dismantled by its audience as every “edible piece” of this virtual culinary sculpture is sold off in a single fundraiser to benefit the SL Shakespeare Company. The presentation opens to the public at 1 PM PDT on Saturday, March 21st at the Blackfriars Theatre.

Not surprisingly, the prolific Ina Centaur is both the founder and artist of Inachi and its Nyotaimori. As with many of Centaur’s projects, Inachi began as a hobby, “Inachi started out as a somewhat offbeat-obsessive project to document and semi-immortalize in virtual-world-3D, some of the sushi I’ve tasted. And then one day a friend showed me a picture of nyotaimori, or female body sushi. It all became clear to me that day—both the name ‘Inachi’ made sense, as well as how I might turn these sushi-Lego things I’ve created into… a feast for your eyes!”

Inachi in its most literal translation to Ina Centaur’s native Mandarin Chinese means “Ina, go eat!” But, since Centaur’s discovery of “female body sushi” last May, the translation, while still retaining its homonym, became 一拿吃 or, literally, “One Take Eat.” Centaur explains its significance, “The translation sounds flip, but I think it’s cool that the translation back to English also affords a theatrical pun. My SL Shakespeare Company project has been something I’ve been trying to raise funds for since its inception in 2007, and basically everything I do in virtual worlds goes to fund it. Also, I think the translation fits how we’ll manage to present nyotaimori as a viable artform in a very material and commercial virtual world: people will simply take (pay) and eat each piece of artful virtual sushi goodness.”

To Centaur, this Nyotaimori event is both art that represents Second Life, and a social experiment, “Art is essentially an interpretive representation of an object, in the general sense; in this case, the object is the virtual world of Second Life, and Nyotaimori is kind of like a satirical symbol of it. Inachi’s Nyotaimori recasts a nude female avatar into both culinary and ethnic art via an artistic arrangement of sushi. The individual pieces of sushi are cast in a state that will soon dissipate, as each piece is taken, just as the artful sims of Second Life are dismantled due to the decree of limited resource budgets. The avatar in this avatar body sushi presentation is famous and has media appeal, just like how Second Life has it. But, the art lives in the manifestation of its sushi, just like how Second Life wouldn’t be anything without its user-created content… The social experiment would be to see if people’d bite.” Despite its novelty and representation, Centaur is uncertain but hopeful about Nyotaimori as a means to fund inworld art, “Most of my fundraising attempts in virtual worlds have failed miserably. I hope this one is different enough to meet its goal!”

On a happier note, when asked to comment on her choice of designating Codebastard Redgrave as her maiden Nyotaimori, Centaur comments, “I think Codie is incredibly sexy, and Second Life might find it interesting to undress the sushi off her—literally!”

Venue: http://Blackfriars.SLshakespeare.com
Promo Poster: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ic-beauties/3362521222/
Event Details: http://secondlife.com/events/event.php?id=2484644&date=1237665600

About Inachi (一拿吃)

Inachi is a fictional restaurant set in the virtual world of Second Life. Ina Centaur, its founder and head chef-artist, serves hand-made virtual sushi with exquisite detail and care in performance art settings. Its main store is located in the underground metros of Skin City, Second Life.