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The Tempest, Shakespeare's play, will be presented in Virtual Reality

A reimagined version of the last play written by Shakespeare, The Tempest, gets a live presentation for users of the Oculus Quest and the Oculus Rift

Since the beginning of the new coronavirus pandemic, many businesses and companies have had their activities hampered by the need to impose the new rules of social isolation, and one of the most affected businesses has been the theaters. For this reason, these businesses are having to find creative ways to keep working, and one of those ways has been the use of virtual reality.

One of these projects is the partnership between Oculus (company belonging to the Facebook and developer of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset) and Tender Claws (a Los Angeles development studio focused on creating interactive arts), who came together to create The Under Presents: Tempest (The Under Presents: The Tempest, in Free translation), a new interactive theatrical experience in virtual reality based on the play The Tempest (Tempest, in the original in English), by the playwright and poet William Shakespeare.

The idea of ??the project is to allow people to have an experience similar to going to a theater but without having to leave the house, using the technology of headsets of virtual reality from Oculus to blur the boundaries between the real and the imaginary and promote an experience in which the spectator is not just someone who passively watches what unfolds on stage, but becomes an integral part of the play.

The virtual reality of The Storm

virtual reality tempest In Tempest, viewers are faceless ghosts guided by an actor in the role of Prspero (Image: Tender Claws)

Considered by many critics to be the last play written by Shakespeare, The storm a story that takes place on a remote island where Prspero, Duke of Milo who was usurped from the position by Antnio (his own brother), uses magical powers to attract the brother together with the King of Naples to the island, reveal the all present were the real nature of Antnio, and managed to marry Miranda (daughter of the protagonist Prspero) with the prince of Naples, thus guaranteeing the family's return to positions of power.

J in The Under Presents Tempest, the spectators are introduced to a Prosper who sets out on a journey to try to return to life, and needs the help of the spectators to succeed in this endeavor.

In this interactive project, the spectators are taken to enter an abandoned theater (in a virtual way, of course) where they meet the actor who is playing Prspero on stage. They then take on the role of spirits, who should help Prspero on his journey, doing things like finding objects or guiding the actor to pieces of the virtual scenario.

With the exception of the actor playing Prspero, none of those present have faces or can communicate through speech, which are exclusive to the actor who is telling the story. People interact with the actor through gestures, and there is a kind of symbiosis in the performance, because while the audience is guided by the actor, they also need to do their part for the narrative to advance.

virtual reality tempest Experience created by Tender Claws blurs the barriers between theater and interactive experience in virtual reality (Image: Tender Claws)

Each session in The Under Presents Tempest it has an average duration of 40 minutes, and what differentiates it from a simple game is the fact that the actor who conducts the story is not a recording, but a real person who is there sharing the space at the same time with the spectators. As in the theater, the actors repeat the same role each day, and this helps to make each session unique even for those who have previously participated in the experience.

This type of immersive performance is not exactly a novelty (in 2011, the theater company Punchdrunk had already created an experience similar to Sleep No More), but normally these experiences were still thought of as special performances in a physical location, and the new pandemic coronavirus has caused more projects of this type to appear in a virtual way, taking advantage of the technology of virtual reality to offer theater lovers the same kind of experience without the need for crowding in a single enclosed location.

The Under Presents Tempest it takes place in closed sessions, each with between six and eight participants, which can occur simultaneously depending on the amount of tickets sold (since there are 11 actors and actresses taking turns playing the role of Prspero). The presentations take place daily, starting this Thursday (9) until the end of September. It is an exclusive experience for users of Oculus Quest It's from Oculus Rift, and tickets can be purchased at the virtual store of these products. Check out the trailer below:

Source: Tender Claws