This is my last course requirement so I really wanted to push the possibilities as well as the concept I’ve pursued the past year of the perception of reality in XR apps. I met Beth Kates in Christian Jacob’s Lindsay Lab in January of 2018 and we immediately hit it off. She has a wealth of experience in the professional theatre world over the past 30 years and is very interested in what new technologies can bring to the experience. After brainstorming we decided that an independent study in computer science would allow us to explore AR and VR and play with the perceptions of the audience, even if that audience turns out to be one.
Beth really wants to learn more about Unity and the XR space and I want to learn more about storytelling and how light and staging can impact 3D assets and how we relate to them. Our initial concept is based around a story she has been involved with in other productions and is close to her heart. The Black Donnelly’s of southern Ontario were a family that suffered at the hands of their neighbours one of the worst massacres in Canadian history. Beth wants to tell the story of Annie and Robert Donnelly who survived the wrath of the community that fateful evening in 1880.
I initially envisioned a Blair Witch Project experience with actors moving through the audience with AR devices but this seemed impractical and as Beth explained ‘too easy’. We are now looking at using photogrammetry to create 3D assets of objects that can be manipulated using a handheld tracker. The story will come from Annie who has only one physical object that remains of her existence, a signature on a deed to land.
This is an arena that I’ve always been interested in since I took a drama course in the early 90s. I can’t wait to discover what we come up with and how the tech can enhance and change the audience and actor’s experience.