The Theatre-Tech Innovation Challenge

I knew that Zeezee was working on an adaptation of the Ramayana and wanted to do a multi-media production. I had offered to help in any way I could early on. But it wasn’t until Ben and Zeezee stopped by my house to check out my VR (virtual reality) headset and what I was doing with programming in the VR space, that they saw how I might contribute to the project.

A couple months earlier, they’d had a passing, wacky, random brainstorming idea. It resurfaced because of vague conceptual similarities between it and the VR space that I was showing them.

The idea? :

Wouldn't it be crazy and cool if we could have the audience experience the character Rama’s dream as he is dreaming onstage? How? Possibly by projecting 360 degree video onto stage-surround screens in the theatre, with the video reflecting Rama’s onstage movement. The audience could experience Rama’s dream through his eyes, thus inviting the audience into Rama’s reality and giving the performance space an extra dimension.

They hadn’t really expected the idea would work from a technical standpoint. It would involve tracking an actor’s movement in space and somehow integrating that with 360 video. There would be a lot of technical challenges to be addressed.

Don’t suggest to me something might be too difficult! I love a challenge, especially when it involves collaborating with amazing friends with great ideas! Also, it was just the sort of challenge I like. While I’m not into acting, I am really fascinated with creating new kinds of experiences for people – which is what drew me to start VR programming and to invite Ben and Zeezee over to check it out. In the theater realm, I had taken a course in lighting design and I had occasionally stopped by school productions to see what Zeezee was working on and to help out. But my preferred angle to creating experiences always seems to involve some sort of technology. I jumped at the chance to apply it to King’s Dharma.

- Harry Klein