Panel: Computers in Theatre: New Dimensions for Stage, Actors & Audience
If new technologies are often indistinguishable from magic it should not be surprising that story tellers and theatre artists are often among the first adopters of new media. Playwrights and directors working in limited live presentation environments are eager to broaden their range of expression using emerging technologies to advance their theatrical objectives.
The integration of electronic media into the theatrical stagecraft tool box, along side fog machines, slide projectors, and reinforced sound amplification, has gradually become an expectation of mainstream audiences. Some experimentalists in live theatre are merging traditional theatre values of virtuosity and verisimilitude with digital media. Emerging intersections of theatre and electronic art are many and increasing. Advances in electronic stagecraft tools include the use of powerful graphic engines that enable live actors to interact in real time in virtual stage sets.
In 1991 at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference George Coates theatre company, GCPW, introduced a stagecraft that enables live performers to inhabit projected virtual stage sets in stereographic 3D. Real time data animation allows live performers to improvise with unscripted digital media. Audiences wearing polarized glasses experience volumetric stage space as interactive scaleable sceneography. On September 26 1998, Blind Messengers, a music theatre production created using digitized cave paintings of California aboriginal muralists, has its world premiere in Sacramento, CA, USA.
- George Coates (USA), Director, George Coates Performance Works, San Francisco