The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Review: Dance me to the end

by librarykris on February 13, 2020 in Festival

Director Carrie Thiel is seeking to “create connectivity using multimedia, motion capture and virtual reality technologies in a theatre setting.” Working with professional dancer Laura Jones, sound designer Chris Winter and 3D180 VR filmmaker Ed Davis, she’s brought together something that’s quite special. 

The performance itself is short and is designed as a ‘proof of concept’. Combining motion capture, virtual reality, filmed and live performance it adds the element of an unrehearsed performer (wearing the VR headset). The narrative concerns Anna (Jones) who is in the studio for the first time after the death of a longtime collaborator. She struggles to concentrate until she feels something (or someone) in the studio with her. 

There are two ways to watch. You can choose to be an audience member where you’ll watch the person in the VR headset interact with the live performer while the scene from the VR is projected onto a screen at the back of the room. You can choose to wear the VR headset (slightly pricier ticket) and control the view on the screen as well as interact with the digital character and Anna. I appreciated being able to watch the story first as it gave me an idea of how I could interact with Jones when I was wearing the VR headset. (I wish I’d sat on the side furtherest from the door so I could see the live, projected, and technical aspects all at the same time!)

This is a story about loss and Thiel has resources to help any audience members/participants with grief should they react during the performance. Her and the team are very clear that any reaction is appropriate. 

One of the best VR experiences I’ve had. I’m thinking more about the story experience than I am the technology.

  • Dance Me to the End on at BATS Theatre as part of 6 degrees festival to 15 February 2020. Sessions at 5:30pm, 6:45pm, 8:00 pm and 9:15 pm. Participate onstage, watch from the audience or book a private VR session.

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