LL Zane: Second Life News by Lora Constantine

mShakespeare’s: Twelfth Night, Act 2 – Open-Ended Run

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on March 9, 2010

March 9, 2010
Contact: Lora Constantine (lora at mshakespeare dot com)

Metaverse Shakespeare Company’s 2010 Main Canon: Twelfth Night, Act 2 – Open-Ended Run

Shakespeare, Second Life—The Metaverse Shakespeare Company (MSC), formerly SL Shakespeare Company (SLSC), next Tuesday will open its long-awaited 2010 Main Canon production of Twelfth Night, Act 2—“As you will it!” in an open-ended run to occur every Tuesday at 6 PM SLT (PDT), and every Sunday at 1 PM SLT (PDT). Set to occur at the 4-sim SL Globe Theatre (http://visit.mshakespeare.com) in the virtual world of Second Life—this live theatrical performance, available anywhere with an Internet connection, continues the troupe’s 2009 production of Twelfth Night, Act 1—but, with a fresher, riper take, and its own amalgam of the year’s innovations in virtual theatre.

Artistic Director Ina Centaur has crafted an interpretation that conveys the topsy-turvy nature of the play and the era of its creation, without being bound by the constraints of a historically-accurate production, “Even though this production is set in a pre-modernity ‘generic past,’ there’s still plenty of Elizabethan bawdry and notions… There’s the presentation of class-crossing as a ridicule-prone absurdity, both directly, through a miasma of brooding, obsessive maliciousness as Maria and Co. plan their ‘practical joke’, and indirectly like when Sir Aguecheek… that ducat-flowing knave knight… impersonates a dog playing catch in Scene 3, with paupers Feste and Toby as his masters… And, then there’s some intense visual portrayal of that heavily-cozy-explicit language—with a wild bit where a drunk-betimes Sir Toby Belch urinates live on-stage to “[fill] an unfill’d can (II.iii).” Says Centaur on the music of Twelfth Night and the spirit of the open-ended run, “We’re providing sheet music and instrumental-only clips for all of our songs on the mShakespeare Blog, so that audience members can sing along with our live show (with their SL mic’s off, in the privacy of their own home) or in their own Metaverse Shakespeare theatre-inspired karaoke events… For most shows, we’re sticking with an orthodox interpretation and traditional songs, drawn from eras before and Shakespeare’s contemporaries. But, this being an open-ended run, be braced for variations, and character metamorphosis—in both act and appearance.”

This Open-Ended run of Twelfth Night, Act 2—“As you will it!”, like Act 1, will evolve into a final form, per audience interaction on the play’s progression. These interpretations are based on archetypes, grounded in the play’s intrinsic elements, such as character relationships. In April, the troupe will begin weaving “Variations” to its main interpretation, where certain characters will undergo some dramatic metamorphoses. Antonio and Sebastian will oscillate between varying degrees of a close-friendship, from the orthodox interpretation of caring-companionship to, in the words of Artistic Director Ina Centaur, “a homo-erotic or quasi-masochistic relationship to finally settle down and arrive at the one that fits best!” Most curiously, Malvolio, that time-weathered face, will de-age, becoming, as described by an anonymous patron, “a complexion that e’en you may fancy”, in the virtual world’s take on new scholarship interpretations of Shakespeare’s tragic villain-victim as a young man. For select shows, gender-experimentation interpretations will manifest in all-female or all-male or even switched-gender productions of the play. The troupe will once again show its April Fools “Super Spoof” edition in a special performance on Thursday, April 1, that will explore the character relations of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night via a medley of parodies inspired by popular modern shows.

While this will be the troupe’s first production under its new name of Metaverse Shakespeare Company, Centaur asserts that the production continues to uphold the company’s founding ideals of creating quality, memorable productions, while developing this nascent field of virtual theatre, “As with every Main Canon production, we spend about a thousand hours rehearsing and analyzing, building and designing, and also applying new technologies to virtual theatre… For Twelfth Night, Act 2, our three technological innovations include the usage of physics, moving automatons, and visual illusion on the virtual stage. You’ll see physics on-stage, in both built-in and scripted forms in our apple catches in Scene 3, and wilting rose motif in Scene 4—and, in the crawlspace of Scene 3, you’d see prim-based automaton actors in the form of rats!”

Special to this production, the MSC introduces the concept of “crowdsourced interactive set design,” which allows anyone to submit a graffiti message or poster/flyer idea to be plastered onto the “City Wall of Illyria” set in Act 2, Scene 1. More details at http://bit.ly/illyriangraffiti

The live show, presented via SL Voice, is also available in closed-captioning with live subtitles in English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.

Starting March 2, shows occur
Tuesdays at 6 PM SLT (PDT)
Sundays at 1 PM SLT (PDT)
only at the SL Globe Theatre at Shakespeare (255,255,25), Second Life

All shows are free (“pay as you will”), except for VIP performances, occurring on the last Tuesday and Sunday of each performance month.

About Twelfth Night, Act 2
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a multiplot story with plentiful songs and bawdry topsy-turviness. On one hand it’s the story of a shipwrecked girl named Viola, whose choice to go incognito as a boy eunuch results in myriad complications—including a gender-bending love triangle. On another, it chronicles the fallacious rise and tragic fall of a Puritanical steward named Malvolio, who becomes a victim of his too-lofty dream. Act 2 sets the basics for his downfall—his dysfunctional relationship with the other servants provokes a practical joke involving a certain forged letter, that would eventually ruin him—but, Act 2 sparks only of joviality; tragedy is due in a later act.

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

Website: http://mshakespeare.com
Press Center: http://mshakespeare.com/press
Blog: http://blog.mshakespeare.com
Playbills: http://playbills.mshakespeare.com
Programmes: http://programmes.mshakespeare.com

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 Metaverse Shakespeare Company nor sLiterary is affiliated with Linden Lab. Second Life is a trademark of Linden Lab. No infringement is intended.


A Premiere of Two Ballet Companies in Second Life

Posted in Uncategorized by Lora Constantine on November 23, 2008

A Premiere of Two Ballet Companies in Second Life

Shakespeare, Second Life and IBM, Second Life: Two virtual world ballet companies premiered new productions on Sunday, November 23, 2008. At 2 PM, “La Performance,” a new dance company, opened its high school gym-style performance of “You Are So Beautiful” in Shakespeare. At 5 PM, “Ballet Pixelle (formerly known as Second Life Ballet)” opened its Winter Season formal production of “The Nut: A Slightly Abridged Telling of The Nutcracker” in IBM 10.

La Performance’s “You Are So Beautiful” featured several acts of modern dances on a large sky platform, “SL Style” with music by Zucchero, and choreography by Jie Loon. Ballet Pixelle’s “Nut” featured a more traditional rendition of the familiar story of The Nutcracker with music by the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre Orchestra, and choreography by Inarra Saarien.

Although one does not need to possess a lithe or athletic body to dance in a virtual world, many hours of rehearsal times were devoted to perfecting the acts, especially in training the dancers’ entrances and animation activations. Both companies feature “free form” dancers, where the dancers are not on scripted paths, but have to maneuver with their arrow keys precisely in finger acrobatics. Ballet Pixelle features original animations created by their artistic director Inarra Saarien.

While lag is always an issue with virtual performances, about 50 audience members flocked to each premieres. Each show ran for about 45 minutes. Shows are every Sunday at 2 PM for La Performance, and every Sunday at 5 PM for Ballet Pixelle.