Reproduction, Mediation, and Experience Virtual Reality, Motion Capture and Early Modern Theatre
Delbridge, MJ and Tompkins, J, Reproduction, Mediation, and Experience Virtual Reality, Motion Capture and Early Modern Theatre, SPACE-EVENT-AGENCY-EXPERIENCE, Centre for Practise as Research in Theatre Univ Tampere, online, pp. 1-10. (2012) [Other Book Chapter]
This chapter investigates virtual reality representations of performance in London’s late sixteenth-century Rose Theatre, a venue that, by means of current technology, can once again challenge perceptions of space, performance, and memory. The VR model of The Rose represents a virtual recreation of this venue in as much detail as possible and attempts to recover graphic demonstrations of the trace memories of the performance modes of the day. The VR model is based on accurate archeological and theatre historical records and is easy to navigate. The introduction of human figures onto The Rose’s stage via motion capture allows us to explore the relationships between space, actor and environment. The combination of venue and actors facilitates a new way of thinking about how the work of early modern playwrights can be stored and recalled. This virtual theatre is thus activated to intersect productively with contemporary studies in performance; as such, our paper provides a perspective on and embodiment of the relation between technology, memory and experience. It is, at its simplest, a useful archiving project for theatrical history, but it is directly relevant to contemporary performance practice as well. Further, it reflects upon how technology and ‘re-enactments’ of sorts mediate the way in which knowledge and experience are transferred, and even what may be considered ‘knowledge.’ Our work provides opportunities to begin addressing what such intermedial confrontations might produce for ‘remembering, experiencing, thinking and imagining.’ We contend that these confrontations will enhance live theatre performance rather than impeding or disrupting contemporary performance practice.