Advertisements
News Ticker

Virtual Shakespeare – fancy that!


My pre-teen loves Shakespeare.  It’s not something I can take any credit for since I didn’t really pay much attention in English Literature (I blame the teacher) and the sight of Denzel Washington, Robert Sean Leonard and Keanu Reaves striding around in riding breeches in the 1993 film version of Much ado about Nothing probably stopped me from appreciating the complexity and vivacity  of the language.

Despite having the RSC and Globe Theatre more or less on the doorstep we haven’t quite managed a trip to see the Bard’s  offerings live as yet, so there was little to reference when confronted by a project to design the stage setting for MacBeth.  However, we were saved from having to trawl through countless videos on YouTube by a brilliant event produced by Florida Virtual School on the 6Connex virtual experience platform.

The Florida Virtual School develops and provides virtual K-12education solutions to students in Florida, the U.S., and the world. Founded in 1997, it was the country’s first, state-wide Internet-based public high school. Today, FLVS serves students in grades K-12 and provides a variety of custom solutions for schools and districts to meet student needs. Its virtual Shakespeare festival was live on 26-27 April and once we had logged in we were able to see presentations from FLVS students as they acted favourite Shakespeare scenes or added their own interpretation.  With vignettes from other Shakespeare companies, including the very excellent Reduced Shakespeare Company, we were able to absorb a lot of content and styles in a very short period indeed, presented in a way that felt extremely accessible.

Was something lost by the presentation of theatrical works in video that was a bit grainy and certainly wobbly in places? Possibly yes.  But many children and young people (and the rest of us!)  today live off a diet of YouTube video and homemade entertainment delivered via phone, iPad and PC so  my 12 year old wasn’t remotely phased by a lack of cinematic quality.  What she really enjoyed was being able to interact with the actors and presenters in real time. Networking was easy in this virtual environment  and the fact that most of the other participants were 4,500 miles away was of no concern.  Did she learn anything – definitely.  Did she enjoy  the experience – absolutely.

The debate about virtual vs live rumbles on, and on, but what this event shows is that these environments are  not just a business solution.  They offer a real opportunity to open up access to real live knowledge and expertise for all.

hellen @missioncontrol

Advertisements

2 Comments on Virtual Shakespeare – fancy that!

  1. This is a great resource full of practical and actionable advice for presenting, meeting, and working in a virtual world. Great not only for those of us who are familiar with presenting online (but could use a bit of improvement) but also for those who are new to the discipline. Full of insight delivered in an accessible (and witty) style. I highly recommend!

    Like

  2. During those productions virtual..reality technology has been found to be very effective as a scenic device…During the past two VR Theatre productions of A Midsummer Nights Dream..and Dinosaurus we had the opportunity to expand our use of virtual reality..technology to include virtual characters…This essay discusses the creation and effectiveness of virtual dinosaurs..in the 2001 production of Dinosaurus…It further discusses the quality of presence in live..performance and how it is effected by computer generated images…………………..1…Indroduction ….This presentation will focus on a..recent theatrical production of Dinosaurus..at the University of Kansas. The challenge..of the production was to incorporate the new techniques while maintaining the..connection between live action and audience that is the hallmark of theatrical..performance………2…Virtual Characters ….Dinosaurus was the latest in a series of experimental..productions at KU that explored the uses of VR technology as a scenic..medium.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: