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
|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 "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
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.|
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|