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Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Night at the Virtual Theater

The morning after: striking the Rocket Man set

Wee had ourselves a time last night, we did.

It started rough. I get to the theater an hour before curtain, Sam is there, we're rezzing our avatars and costumes into the sim, I'm checking the set. Then I try to use my microphone. Nothin. I didn't panic, at first. I hear Sam fine, he can't hear me. No green bars. Nothin. We get into G+ to talk about it. I try Skype to test it there. Nothin. I'm playing two small but critical parts in the show, no cover. We've already rescheduled once. Sam is starting to talk about Macbeth and doom.

Forty five minutes later. I have checked that everything's plugged in and turned on. Checked settings inworld, at the control panel. Swapped out the mic, routed around the external sound card. Swapped out the whatsis cables, the ones that connect the mixer to the sound card. The only thing I can't find a spare for is the mic cable, the one that connects it to the mixer. A brief memory flickers, the mic stand got knocked over the day before, whew the mic didn't hit anything, dangling from the. from the. Cable.  I have a Bad Feeling.

So now I'm scrabbling through more boxes of tangled stuff. Whoo, 8 year old $15 USB headset. Plug it in, wait for the drivers to load, log in.  Sodo and Geo have arrived, we're all backstage, I can talk!! yay! but can't hear. Sodo types in Chat, asks me if I plugged in the headset before logging in. Yah, but I didn't reboot. Log out. Reboot. Relog. Mirabile dictu! I sound tinny, but Geo, who is going to record vid and audio, says it sounds good. It actually doesn't, but I'm ready to be a believer and he knows that.

Somewhere in my adrenaline soaked brain, I do manage to notice that Jamie, our publicity guy, has been cookin with gas and we have some audience, new people, regulars, looks good. I haven't helped the nervous levels of our two lead actors, Sodo and Sam, at all, and Sodo is also the writer so is probably even more freaked than I am. So I start to worry about them. Show Time. Get yer avatar onstage, actor sound checks, meet and greet, make sure audience is OK with their audio, like I know what I'm doing angels and saints preserve us. I get my avatar to place and type Go in the actor's group IM.

I forgot to put my equipment back where it goes. I can't get my script book out where I can see it and move my avatar at the same time. I screw up my first few lines, get off the stage, and Sam and Sodo settle in. It's a talky show, mostly the two guys sitting around a 4th millenium campfire in front of a beat-up rocketship talking about space travel and time dilation. I'm freaked the pacing is laggy, we've got a Whole Hour to go and audience is going to just leave. Which is easy to do in virtual theater - if they get bored, they click a button, outa there. I start nagging in the actor's group, pick up your cues, yada, like they're going to have time to actually read it. I give up on getting my equipment out of the way of my script book and rip the pages out, throwing them one by one on top of the cables that are still all over the floor.

And then it happens. Sodo is mature intelligence and Sam is raw energy bouncing around him, just like they sposed to. The story is strong. Our audience is responding to it in chat! Someone must have called friends, more people show up!

Dionysus, the god of theater and drunken chaos, has gazed at our tiny tiny free virtual production and said OK, you guys do not suk, you are OK.

Then I get to blow up the rocketship.


  1. Sounds so exciting! I'm so glad everything came together.

  2. The excellent Judith Cullen (Caledonia Skytower iSL) pointed out to me that it's "striking" the set, something I've only done in virtual theater. In iRL I was a performer, different union, lol, and woe betide crossing that line. "Break down" is for disassembling and packing components, something I occasionally was around for on the last day of a show. So I corrected the above. Thank you Cale!

  3. That's a good article, Ada. Theater from backstage. Most people only get to see it from the house side.


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