I Gave at the Office – Second Life

By Trent Scherer

I am not certain how a ‘live’ performance can be watched in a virtual reality world but I attempted to attend Z. Sharon Glantz’s I Gave at the Office.

If you have not experienced Second Life, it is a virtual reality world where you can be anyone and look like anything including fringe characters like a Furry, a Centaur, a Neko or as simple as being a Chinese male when you are a Caucasian female. It is a fantastic world that allows you to not only be a person completely different from yourself, but also allows you to fly as well as teleport to different locations. Imagine being able to vanish and appear at your destination in seconds. One can only dream of it in reality.

Unfortunately, this production started with building issues – only certain people such as the owner of a space can build and edit objects including walls, furniture, etc. For thirty-five minutes, the show was postponed by errors within scripts that made people do things that they were not supposed to do.

The event was a bit of a train wreck. This is due to there being no curtain to hide all the issues, the audience – started with about 10 of us and ended with 2 – has to sit and watch as props such as desks and chairs are ‘moved’ and put in place. SL has the ability of voice chat as well so we were all privileged to sit and listen as everyone has ideas of how to fix the problems.

I do understand that SL has a number of issues but this ‘production’ looked like they did no rehearsal or setup before the audience started showing up. In fact, I went to the venue (which was not in the location as advertised) and there were no props or the like in the space the day before.

Unfortunately, after 40 minutes – the show was meant to be only 45 minutes – I had to leave due to other commitments so I am uncertain if the production actually took place.

However, I still wished to talk about how Second Life (SL as it is called) can be its own performance space. Besides the ideas of staging a production within it,SL is already filled with many people who are not what they appear to be – think chat rooms but with a smoking body that you create yourself.

SL offers real friends within a false world – if you’re honest about who you are. Or you can have more than one avatar (person) if you wish. You can own land and built anything you wish on it. There are mature-themed spaces so be careful where you teleport to or you could be very shocked by what you see, as SL does have a seedy side.

SL has its own time (PST really) so people need to be aware of it when meeting friends from around the world in there, or, when, in this case, you’re trying to go to a performance in SL. And, when you’re in there, you can join interest groups, buy clothing (with Linden dollars) and remake yourself constantly into anything you can possibly dream. Dream big! Like theatre, it can be make-believe with a touch of reality.

When it comes to a ‘live’ performance of theatre in SL, I would like to see something like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream since both lend themselves to such magic as faeries, sprites, and men with horse heads.

Any play with transformation might be interesting as an SL avatar can transform itself into anything within a few seconds. Thus, Second Life can make a play seem like a movie except you as audience are present within the world of its creation and while it’s being ‘performed’ live.

Details

-If another production is being done, I would send a message to Lailu Loon and ask her when it might be done. This production was a one night event.