The Dickens Project 2013: crossing the divide

The Dickens Project, December 2012
The Dickens Project, December 2012

In 2012, to mark the Dickens Bicentenary Year, the folk at Storyfests SL organised The Dickens Project,  a 13-day celebration of Dickens’ work, primarily focused on A Christmas Carol, but which included selections from other novels and short stories. Over the course of the event, 20 hours of readings and performances took place, featuring an international cast in a purpose-built themed environment in Second Life. The latter not only reproduced the world of Dickens’ novels, but also provided a number of levels of interaction for visitors and audiences, allowing them to learn more about Dickens’ life and works, and the era in which he lived.

In June, I reported on moves to broaden The Dickens Project as both a real life and virtual experience, as explained by the project’s creator and producer, Caledonia Skytower in a video which looked back at the December 2012 event as well as looking at the future potential for the project.

Now, a part of this potential is to be realised.

In December 2013, and for a single performance, The Dickens Project will cross the divide between the real and the virtual. At 13:00 on Sunday December 1st, three noted voice actors will give a special reading of A Christmas Carol using a text adapted and annotated by Dickens himself when he presented the story in person, together with some additional text from the full novella. The event will take place at the Knights of Pythia Temple in Tacoma, Washington, USA; however, only one of the artists will be present in person in the form of Judith Cullen, Caledonia Skytower’s alter-ego.

Judith Cullen (Caledonia Skytower SL) and Kevin Lee (Kayden Oconnell SL) with Shandon Loring (c) will be presenting a special SL / RL performance of The Dickens Project on December 1st, 2013
Judith Cullen (Caledonia Skytower SL) and Kevin Lee (Kayden Oconnell SL) with Shandon Loring (c) will be presenting a special SL / RL performance of The Dickens Project on December 1st, 2013

Both of the remaining two players for the piece, actor, director, stage manager and playwright Kevin Lee (SL: Kayden Oconnell), and the Seanchai Library SL’s Chief storyteller, Shandon Loring (playing the central role of Ebenezer Scrooge), will be joining Judith through the magic of Second Life, and their presence at the in-world Dickens Project set will projected onto a large screen at the Temple.

The RL / SL cross-over performance will feature both in-world and real life audiences, and while free to both, donations will be accepted with proceeds from real life benefiting My Sister’s Pantry and those from the the virtual world benefiting War Child North America.

The Knights of Pythia Temple, Tacoma, where the performance will take place in RL
The Knights of Pythia Temple, Tacoma, where the performance will take place in RL

The performance  will come ahead of a season of in-world performances of The Dickens Project which is due to commence on December 12th, 2013. I’ll be providing more details on this in the coming weeks.

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