The Dickens Project 2016
A half region build which was split into thirds: Past, Present, and Yet to Come.  Was responsible for project oversight as well as the Past and Present builds.  "Present" accommodated the bulk of the educational reference material, and well as the large event venue. The build is a blend of custom built, and purchased content

Entry with view into Present Square

Christmas Present

Christmas Past

Image of Christmas Past Docks by Inara Pey

Virtual Baker Street
An element of the Crazy Eights build which was given an extended residency at the University of Washington iSchool after the LEA 9 project closed.

Crazy Eights on Linden Endowment for the Arts 9 (Winter-Spring 2016)
A full region which included four major event venues, a "story forest" walk through tableau of classic tales with links to the texts, a resource center, and an gallery space. 
(Photos by Wildstar Beaumont)

EXPLORE Anton Chekhov & the Absurd
Juxtaposing the work of the Russian author and dramatist with the work of contemporary playwright Christopher Durang.  To custom-built houses were sited in mirror across a small lake, with information on the Russian in the Dacha, and the opposing farmhouse filled with information on Durang's work and the Absurdist literary movement.

The Dickens Project 2015

EXPLORE The Great Gatsby

Heartbreak House - for Avatar Repertory Theater - selections from the play by George Bernard Shaw

Headquarters for PhotoHunt SL - they wanted to go from the back-industrial prefab structure they had to something more "organic" and "park-like" on a very oddly shaped parcel.

Edgar Allan Poe Salon -  for Avatar Repertory Theater - a presentation of works in celebration of his birthday.

The Dickens Project 2013 -  the next step in the larger goal of a completely interactive environment to frame the live readings and performances, which allows guests to "walk in the steps pf Ebenezer Scrooge."  This year I was able to add a "Christmas Past" walk through section which had all sorts of interactive objects.
Dickens "Base Camp" - The Main Plaza

Christmas Past Section: Arriving in Scrooge's bedroom, then out through the window to . . . 
Christmas Past Section : Out the back door and onto the street outside Fezziwig's
Christmas Past Section : Fezziwig's all decked out for the ball, complete with mistletoe
Christmas Past Section: The park, where Young Scrooge and Belle break their engagement

Scenes from A.R. Gurney - for Avatar Repertory Theater - an presentation of scenes by this American Playwright.

 THE DICKENS PROJECT (December 2012) Over the past four years I have had the growing desire to explore how the Virtual World can extend the immersion of a live voice presentation of literature.  The Dickens Project is a beta test of that idea, and so far the test is pretty successful.  The idea being that the environment supports and promotes the literature, much as a stage set does, but it is a set that the audience walks through and interacts with in a way that a seated audience does not.  Theme Park?  Perhaps.  But ultimately the environment is a frame for the words spoken in voice.  Without the live activity, its just more pretty data.

The "Big Dream" is to do a much broader build that would allow the performer/presenter to guide the audience through a tour of "Christmas Past", "Christmas Present" and "Christmas Yet to Come" with Dickens' own words as the core - walking in the steps of Ebenezer Scrooge, as it were.

I have been listening to storytellers all week read Dickens words.  I have to agree with my friend Klannex Northmead - a Londoner with a lovely growly voice - who hit it on the nose when he said that most stage adaptations simply lift the dialogue from the book. So much about what makes Dickens a memorable author are the descriptions and side bars he makes along the way.  Some that hit you like a ton of bricks with their wisdom.  Some that are so vivid that you know it could never be fully realized in a live production.  The description of the shops from Stave Three always make me a little light headed, and I suspect has sent more than one Prop Master into seizures over the years.

Here are shots of the beta test environment, and its various interactive elements ...
The Dickens Project in Second Life (c) - Street View

Top View - second level interconnected by walkways
Entryway - Exterior View

Entryway - Interior View with Scrooge & Marley's (interactive office)

Grocer's Shop Exterior

Poulterer's Shop Exterior

The Bookseller's Shop - Exterior View

Three "Illustration Gardens" running slide shows of images from "Christmas Past"

... Notable Scrooges ...

Residents of Second Life (c) gathered at The Dickens Project to listen to a live voice presentation of  Stave Three of "A Christmas Carol" read by Kayden Oconnell

OCTOBER 2012 - The Turn of the Screw by Henry James for the Seanchai Library

This environment includes a "skeletal" raftered roof above and a looming moon overhead. It is very minimal and stark, and what few props are present are very specific to the tale. I cannot take credit for the "lighting"  in the lower picture.  But the photographer immediately seized on the feel I was going for and chose these settings, much as a good lighting designer would have.  I couldn't have been more thrilled!

SEPTEMBER 2012 - Anything That's Wild a presentation of the writings of John Muir on Yosemite at Seanchai Library

These shots were from a recent presentation of Naturalist John Muir's writings on the Yosemite Valley from 1912.  The pictures in the setting have links to related websites: about John Muir, The Sierra Club, the paintings of Albert Bierstadt.

One of my favorite quips from my technical production days involved the only person I ever worked with who could build a decent looking theatrical tree: "Props are made by fools like me, but only Tim can build a tree."
It occurred to me that THAT is not one of the challenges I face when building virtual sets. The Muir set was built in 2 hours with stuff all "out of stock" in my inventory. It would have taken nothing less than eight weeks in the "Real World", with a full crew, and a whole HECK of a lot of hullabaloo and discussion surrounding the working waterfall and its attendant issues. Someone along the way would have kept hammering home how we needed to keep it under budget. Oh the meetings! Just the thought of it makes my brain hurt.

JULY - OCTOBER 2012 - Various as marked for presentations at Seanchai Library

A series of Merlin stories from The Hollow Hills and The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. 

MISC 2009 to 2012 - Various as marked for presentations at Seanchai Library
 With over 800 hours of online presentations of literature and storytelling, it is easy to imagine that this is just a drop in the virtual bucket.  Some works lend themselves to more immersive, elaborate settings; and some really only require simplicity.  Here is a smattering of memorable ones.

Festival Set for "Bard on the Virtual Beach" Weekend Shakespeare Event held annually in 2011 & 2012
Setting for Radio Drama "War of the Worlds" (also directed) - toured the grid in 2011
Scenes from Shakespeare's "MacBeth" - November 2011
"Dracula" Radio Play - toured the grid in 2010
Rivendell Pavilion set for "A Tolkien Celebration" program presenting selections from the entire LOTR Trilogy

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