I recently spent some time working at Blast Theory helping to prototype an experiment in remote theatrical performance. Previous Blast Theory projects such as I’d Hide You have made use of wireless video streaming technology to allow remote participants to interact with performers as they move around a city. However, I’d Hide You revolved around an extremely fast-paced game mechanic, leaving little time for participants to experience more nuanced and personal interaction with the performers.
Under the working title of Voyeur, we produced a piece of live remote theatre which functions on several levels. Participants connect remotely via the internet to engage with a performer discussing memories from her childhood. They may simply watch and listen, but are periodically given the opportunity to engage in a dyadic interaction with her. The work exposed many technical challenges in producing a system that allowed the performer to roam freely whilst ensuring her contact with the participants was continuous and fluid.
I took the lead on the development of the mobile application used by the performer and also worked with her in devising the experience itself. This was interesting as there was a need to strike a careful balance between narrative and the opportunity for interaction.
Everyone I met at Blast Theory was brilliant to work with, we were very encouraged by the results of the trial and had a lot of fun with it too! I feel the mechanic we evolved has great potential for further development.