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.


SL Shakespeare SOS Fundraiser

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on November 22, 2008

SL Shakespeare SOS Fundraiser

Shakespeare, Second Life: Though hinted at on more than one occasion, Ina Centaur yesterday officially announced the SL Shakespeare Company’s SOS “Save Our Sims” Fundraising Campaign-its purpose, according to Centaur, is to meet “a modest though desperately needed sum to pay land tier fees to Linden Lab.” Through funding from microeconomics a la a grid-wide network of donation kiosks, the “SOS” campaign goal is to meet L$1.5 million by January 21, 2009, which at the current LindeX rate for selling would translate to about USD$5300, meeting six month’s tier for three of the island sims that host the SL Globe Theatre venue and similarly daring literary and artistic projects. Centaur plans to fund the fourth sim through her own endeavors, to keep the SL Globe Theatre four sims in size, as well as to continue existing endeavors on the sims in trying to make the enterprise self-sufficient.

At high noon on November 21st, Ina Centaur, Artistic Director of the SL Shakespeare Company, greeted a small crowd of fans and supporters at the SL Globe Theatre before launching a speech that revealed the funding state of the Company, as well as some unexpected humanitarian results of their endeavors. The Company’s performances have reached both those in rural areas and also low-income urban districts, introducing many to the culture of theatre and Shakespearean performances. Centaur summarized with the words, “Perhaps the greatest thing that has evolved from our endeavors is that it has become a truly humanitarian cause that we are fighting for-to bring theatre to the farthest reaches of the world, to give Shakespeare to those who would not have had the chance to experience his words in the live and intimate form they were written for, to use this nascent medium to bring the most quintessential culture to the metaverse and beyond.”

Various donation kiosks are available for those who wish to help the SL Shakespeare Company in their campaign. Supporters may drop by the SL Globe Theatre or the Campaign headquarters, directly to obtain copies of kiosks. The Campaign website contains up-to-the-second stats and other information, as well as links to the inworld Campaign headquarter to obtain kiosks http://campaign.SLshakespeare.com

Centaur explained that a 4-sim venue is a necessity for their shows, “To make sure all can attend, and to minimize the lag.” In addition, the sims listed on the main SOS banners-sLiterary, Shakespeare, and Primtings-also support several other notable literary and artistic projects. Centaur stated the best way to find out about each is to spend some time exploring the sims, or to visit their campaign website above for brief summaries.

Although many may consider Centaur’s activites to be merely great art, after mentioning a few examples of lives their endeavors have touched, she summarized their goal as of a greater significance, “Our goal is to create good within Second Life for the world to thrive from-because it is possible. We have been doing it, and we want to continue doing it, but we won’t be able to if we become homeless-we would have neither the energy or the base to go from.”

Centaur concluded the session with the haunting words, “You are our last hope. If you can’t help us, then I’m afraid to say we are truly lost.”

L$460,000 Virtual Dress Makes Real Life History in Rare Finds RFL Charity Auction

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on July 13, 2008

L$460,000 Virtual Dress Makes Real Life History in Rare Finds RFL Charity Auction

Luxury, Second Life: Within the heart of a virtual metropolitan warehouse, a six hour charity fashion show and auction stocked with limited edition, rare-to-find, and also one-of-a-kind virtual fashions comes to fruition raising some significant dollars to benefit American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life (RFL) endeavor. During this event, virtual history was made when a bidding war ended at L$460,000 for a virtual dress. This is the final RFL event sponsored by the Designers in Seclusion (DiS) group in conjunction with Metro Models. The team raised nearly L$700,000 today, bringing the DiS RFL team to third place with a total of L$2,274,334 raised.

The auction began with a virtual fashion history course in 3d with apparel from the late Ginny Talamasca’s no-longer-on-the-market Last Call line. Models emerged magically from the depths of a wardrobe in the wall, stepping into the brick warehouse. They paused momentarily at midpoint, before advancing down to the pinnacle at the end of the warehouse’s clearing softened by Persian carpets. Several other no-longer-on-the-market items were shown including apparel from Catharsis, Dazzle, GHOST, and Sand Shack Surf Co. Three one of a kind and “very limited” items graced the runway, created by Eshi Otawara’s Chambre du Chocolat, Sioxie Legend’s SWA, and Ina Centaur’s IC-Skins _AR Another Realism.

The six hour event climaxed when Eshi Otawara’s Fish-hook dress caught fire in a bidding war between several RFL patrons and fashionistas, ultimately skyrocketing the bid to L$460,000 in mere minutes. This final amount made virtual history as the highest winning bid on a virtual dress. This single virtual dress sold for close to USD$2000, making also first life history as a formidable price even for a real dress. Eshi Otawara, the notable first life artist and the creator of this dress recovers from fainting to say to the mic, “This dress is my first one I ever made. I am thrilled beyond words that something I have created had made such a great contribution to American Cancer Society and I am very greatful to Miss Kay Fairey and MIss Clarabelle Cazlet for their generosity.”

Alaska Metropolitan, founder of Metro Models, choreographed and designed the event. After delivering a score of auction items to their owners, Alaska took a moment to breathe and say to the press, “I’m still kind of stunned at the total from today’s event. What the audience sees is a (hopefully) seamless fashion show with choreographed models… what happens backstage is a lot of work and chaos. Today made it all worth it. People’s generosity and love of virtual fashion makes things like this possible. I’m insanely proud of the models, and Tigerlily Koi. And I’m so grateful to the Designers in Seclusion who contributed stuff for the auction. Thank you… let’s keep working towards a way to beat cancer.”

After a period of speechlessness, Tigerlily Koi, the auction host and founder-captain of the DiS and DiS RFL groups, gives her testimonial, “I think it’s amazing to see so many people come together, for such an important cause. As a first-time team captain, I’m SO proud of my team, and so grateful for their support of me and most especially of Relay for Life. I’m humbled to be a part of such an amazing effort.”

At the end of the auction, Team DiS, in conjunction with all of the Second Life supporters of RFL, broke the USD$160,000 mark, making this the most financially successful year for RFL yet.

About DiS:

The Designers in Seclusion, aka DiS, is a content-creator’s group with over 150 designers. Although each designer is often too busy “secluded in Photoshop” or other creation, the group provides both support and remote socialization for these busy creators of Second Life. Earlier this summer, the group launched the historic RFL Prom event, debuting in “Memory Lane Memorial” high school, an extremely detailed nostalgic high school build, now used in several major machinima’s. Notably, the group has also been the epicenter of several content creator right’s movements, famous grid-wide scavenger hunts, and other coordinated fashion and virtual business events.

About Metro Models:

Founded in Fall 2007 by Alaska Metropolitan, a first life graphic designer and fashion model, Metro Models is a fashion agency that aims to be different through innovation and interesting show themes, and a dedication to quality events, photography, and advertising services. Shows of note include the New Shoots series for new designers, and the Shine charity fundraiser of Winter 2007 for MSF/Doctors Without Borders. Metro Models also publishes a quarterly virtual fashion magazine called, appropriately, Metro Virtual Fashion.