Monday, March 24, 2014

Albee's Zoo Story…in 3-D!!! (sorta)

By Russ Bickerstaff
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This sounds really, really interesting. 

I had been wondering how technology might transform things for the stage in the future and what I kept coming up with whenever I thought about it was virtual environments onstage that actors could interact with…the fully digital set that could allow even a very, very small space to look very, very big. Digital environments that helped to set atmosphere with a photo-realistic feel. That sort of thing.


That just might be what Marquette University is working on with a production of Edward Albee's Zoo Story early next month. It's being staged in Marquette University's Visualization Lab. (MARVL for short.)  


The play is set on a park bench in Central Park. I've seen a couple of different productions of it over the years. It's one of the most memorable scripts I've ever seen staged. Two people. One conversation. Realtime. A single act. And thanks to Marquette's MARVL, the visual reality of central park should feel all the more palpable. Should be interesting.


Beyond the tech, this show has a really good group working on it--the staggeringly talented Grace DeWolffe is directing. 


"When I walked in for the first time they handed me 3D glasses," says DeWolffe, "The capabilities of the space are pretty neat, but working in live actors to it has been a challenge. (Needless to say, we will not be handing out 3D glasses to our audience. Living, breathing actors are already, well, better than that. That's just my pretentiousness showing I guess.) It's a step into the realm of how theatre can collaborate with newer technologies." 


The script can be read in a variety of different ways. Should be interesting to see what she comes up with. The cast consists of Marquette alumni Matt Wickey and Harry Loeffler-Bell. The two actors in question re both really good. Trust me. This should be good. Grace offered some hints as to her perspective on the piece: "If all the technology falls apart, the core of the play is still two guys trying to understand each other. And Matt and Harry are really, really good at that."

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