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Hansel & Gretel Stage 1

The idea for the first stage of the project represented the embodiment of an idea that struck me more than two years ago; could this new “kinetic typography” that I was experimenting with be developed into a fully believable typographic character? Further, could this character be presented in a live production with other, human, characters? And if so, would the audience accept it as “real”?
Working with a colleague (playwright Sheldon Rosen) we set a goal the first year of creating a workshop to test creative ideas and technology. Rosen created a half hour piece of experimental theatre where we explored the interaction between text and actors. We mounted 6 performances over four days. We experimented with multiple modes of presentation; speech, animated text, video, signing—all contributed, sometimes simultaneously, to telling a story. We also tested different methods of presenting the interplay between text and actor; manual cueing of animations, computer/human interaction through technologically modified props, and a combination of live and pre-taped dialogue. Each performance was followed by a question and answer session which was videotaped for future reference. Audience reactions were overwhelmingly positive, though by no means consistent. They had little trouble following the text/actor interaction, indeed some of the preferred segments were the pieces where some characters were presented as type only.