I.e.VR's primary mission is to explore new real-time computer graphics technologies in live performance. The culmination of our various research initiatives is the occasional live performance before a theatre audience. Each production is a showcase and a testing ground for new ideas, techniques and technologies.
BY EUGENE IONESCO
A group of Rhinoceros are called a “Crash.” What could provide a more fitting metaphor as Ionesco saw his fellow Rumanians, even the intelligentsia, succumb to Fascism, don green shirts and parade in nationalistic and xenophobic demonstrations.
This absurdist piece lends itself beautifully to a 21st Century “Living Newspaper,” cyber-style, design world. Political cartoons, scrolling instant messages, tweets, posts, and blogs all convey Ionesco’s text as we ponder what is news, what is fake, and what stand that we must take?
We hope you enjoy your “crash” into our immersive environmental exploration of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros.
the ADD1NG MACH1N3
by Joshua Schmidt & Jason Loewith
Our first VR/Theatre production was 1995's The Adding Machine. Since then we have made great strides in production. Advances in technology and technique have marked intervening productions. Each production demonstrated the use of one or more new techniques and technologies.
The innovation for this project was the use of computer-controlled data projectors to provide the majority of the stage lighting. Through this technique, we explored the possibility of using kinetic graphic images and animations to illuminate the scene, both literally and metaphysically. In keeping with the "live" nature of our experiments, this animated lighting was controlled in real-time in response to the action on-stage.
the TREE of LIFE
ORIGINS and EVOLUTION
A MULTI-FACETED COLLABORATIVE MUSIC, DANCE, THEATRE PROJECT
For this production, we tried a few new technologies and some variants on some previously used techniques. This was our first production with virtual-reality based scenic elements created with Quest3D software. This software provided the means of creating more detailed and dynamic simulations than we had with previous applications.
We also employed the age-old method of using layers of sharkstooth scrim in front of the main projection screen in order to give some 3-dimensional depth to the projected images.
the MAGIC FLUTE
BY W. A. MOZART
Director Delbert Unruh on the dramatic potential of the new technology:
“The world of Mozart’s Magic Flute is one of fantasy and mystery. It is almost its own universe, and our job is to stage Mozart’s imaginative world in a fluid and seamless fashion. The VR technology will allow the stage pictures to move almost as fast as the music.”
Lenore Bensinger Edward Mast
This KU-Theatre for Young People production, with a company of six actors, was especially exciting because of the integration of virtual reality technology. The chorus essentially acted as the translators and added emotional detail to the CGI dinosaurs. Close ensemble work between the on-stage actors and the off-stage dinosaur "puppeteers" ensured that the dinos and their human alter-egos moved in unison.
The Y2K production of A Midsummer Night's Dream marks a collaboration between i.e.VR and the Kent Intreactive Digital Design Studio or KIDDS, a group developing the use of computers in theatrical visualization, with both historical and practical ends. i.e.VR director Mark Reaney was awarded a Leverhulme fellowship from the University of Kent. While there, he teamed up with the UKC staff and students that comprise KIDDS to create an exciting new rendition of this time-honored classic.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
by Sophie Treadwell
Our production of this American classic drew upon, and further refined the techniques we discovered in earlier i.e.VR productions. The main scenic elements consisted of virtual environments projected in stereoscopic 3D onto rear-projection screens. we were able to use the, then"new" technology of digital data projectors! Avi Mor conducted experiments in pre-visualization of stage lighting. Using precise color information on filters supplied by Gam Products Avi was able to simulate stage lighting conditions with Kinetix 3D Studio Viz software.
by David G. Fraser
In this production, we tested a new method of immersing an audience into a virtual scene. We had been using real-time graphics to give our audience a sense of moving along with the on-stage characters. In order to optimize the real-time animation of the computer-generated virtual worlds, the detail and complexity of the scenes needed to be limited. Now, we reversed the principle and created computer-generated scenes that did not move but were lavishly detailed and textured.
3 side by side projection screens provided the audience with a 110 degree panorama.
BY ARTHUR KOPIT
For WINGS we utilized the projected computer graphic system developed for THE ADDING MACHINE, but also gave each audience member a unique head-mounted display (HMD). The HMD we chose was i-glasses! by Virtual i-O. Using i-glasses!, audiences were still able to see live actors on-stage and computer graphics projected onto rear projection screens. However, they were also presented with computer graphics and live video images projected within the HMD.
BY ELMER RICE
Audiences were invited to join live and computer generated actors in technologically produced three-dimensional environments within which the drama unfolded. The paths taken within these "virtual worlds" were not pre-recorded, but improvised on the spot through the actions of the crew! Virtual worlds were created through the combination of real-time computer graphics and theatre quality projection equipment, which the audience interfaced through wearing polarized glasses. This exciting new technology allowed for the realization of fantastic locals and special effects never before possible in a live theatre milieu.