For this week’s assignment, I chose the CU Presents catalog, detailing many of the performances coming to Boulder this school year. It includes information on various dance recitals, quartets, operas, concerts, festivals, and plays.
Future technology within the realm of production is heavily based on improving interactivity and incorporating more computer generated graphics. Many companies are now livestreaming their events on social media, allowing more people than ever before to see and comment on their performances. Another company dedicated nearly two years to map an actress completely, so that her movements could be controlled by another person during an actual performance; that is, a person would wear a body suit and control her movements organically, rather than controlling a computer-generated figure (i.e. Gollum from Lord of the Rings).
In response, I took the idea of integrating CGI a step further and designed a production that would rely heavily on virtual reality glasses. The audience would be immersed in the world of the performance, such as Ancient Rome in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. As in the above example, actors would don body suits that would transform them into their respective characters in the audience’s view.
Often, theatre is seen as a separate, unchanging entity: always live, always making use of real people, never adapting to new technologies. However, conducting research into its future has made me question the validity of these claims: does it need to be live? Does it need to use real people, or can simulations work just as well? Why does it need to be static? How does one define theatre?
Truthfully, I love the theatre, its atmosphere, and the feeling of community shared between the performers and the audience members. I often think that contemporary films rely too much on special effects to sell their tickets, and spend little time on the narrative. I have fears that, with these new developments, theatre may take a similar path.
In spite of my pessimistic attitude, I am also very excited about its future, and how it will utilize the new technologies to create innovative experiences. It may not be theatre at all: it may be a next step in its process, or sit side by side with it as an entirely different entity.