Shakespear’s First Play in Virtual Reality

Culture is yet another new way to implement VR! Through none other than Shakespear himself.

The Royal Shakespear Company has partnered with Intel and The Imaginarium to create a one of a kind experience. A Shakespear play through Virtual Reality.

Shakespear’s The Tempest

For this particular partnership Shakespear’s The Tempest was chosen. The Tempest (1611) is a particularly appealing story, that can benefit greatly from modern technology.

The Story is about a sorcerer named Prospero, who is the rightful duke of Milano, he is in a remote island and while he is away has his throne stolen by his brother.

Prospero wants to restore his daughter’s position, and conjures a storm to lure his brother and the king of Napoli.

Once there he uses his magic to reveal his brother’s betraying nature, the King of Napoli is redeemed, and Prospero’s daughter marries Napoli’s prince.

Virtual Reality And The Tempest

The magical nature of the story means that quite a bit of CGI is required to make it justice.

So for Shakespear’s The Tempest, there will be more than a simple 360 recording of the play. The play will feature state of the art projections that will create amazing special effects in real time!

The effects will be applied onto Mark Quartley, who plays a character named Ariel (no not the mermaid…).

Ariel is a fairy who has been bound to Prospero after he saved it from imprisonment. In return Ariel does all of Propero’s bidding, including well… Basically all the dirty work to punish Propero’s Brother.

Naturally this makes Ariel the perfect character to be enhanced through technology. After all Ariel is making most of the magic happen.

Cutting Edge Technology

Ariel will be brought to life through cutting edge technology. Not only is the actor Mark Quartley fully dressed for the character, his suit is filled with motion sensors.

The sensors tell the projectors exactly where Mark is. There is a total of seventeen motion sensors on Mark’s outfit!

Also the theater has a total of twenty seven projectors all around the stage. This way the sensors tell the projectors exactly where the images need to be projected.

As a result you get a mix of a human actor with CGI like projections on his body!

 Projections And The Theater

Yes it does seem like a match made in heaven, using motion sensors, projectors and 360 cameras can create some of the greatest shows to date.

And being able to enjoy them from home using VR headsets will be amazing!

However the news are not 100% great. The presentation as cool and amazing as it sounds had it’s ups and downs.

There have been problems with some of the sensor, and some people have had to watch the play with glitchy images from the projectors.

Just like VR motion controllers sometimes make your hands shake intensely ingame, so where some of Mark’s Leg of Wing Movements…

However everyone involved acknowledges the mistakes and far from giving up, they are working hard so that they can achieve that perfect performance.

It is obvious that passion is in the heart of them, and with passion everything is possible.

There is also the possibility that the show starts implementing AR. Why? because as big companies are working hard to develop cheaper headsets there might come a time where it is cheaper to hand out AR headsets than setting up projectors around the theater!

Imagine that, you enter the theater and you get handed an AR headset. The actor all wear motion sensors on their outfits and the headsets add real time CGI effects to their performance!

As a result this might come to be a renascence for the theater and for classic plays!

Image Credit Bard On The Beach


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