Neil O' Dwyer: „Virtual Play, after Samuel Beckett“

'Virtual Play' is a reimagining of Samuel Beckett’s ground-breakingtheatrical text, 'Play' (1963), for digital culture. The objective of the project is to reinterpret Beckett’s modernist text in a way that is engaging for a 21st Century viewership, which is increasingly accessing content via virtual reality technologies. It was chosen because it specifically engages the questions of dialogue and interactivity. The sequence of the actors speaking is determined by a moving spotlight, which Beckett calls the ‘interrogator’; they speak when the light is on them, and fall silent when the light is off. Play is a game of interaction between the light operator and the actor, mediated by light technology. In this VR version we acknowledge the role of the user as active; we recognise new opportunities for narrative and give the power of activation over to the end user, whose gaze becomes the spotlight. The user thus embodies the ‘interrogator’ and is empowered to actively move around the virtual environment and independently discover the story, merely by looking at the characters. The project investigates new opportunities for embodied storytelling in immersive VR.