Yet shall the lovers reunite: looking ahead to LEA AIR 6

As I recently noted, the Linden Endowment for the Arts have announced the successful applicants for the 6th round of Artists in Residence (AIR) grants.

Tyrehl Byk: returning to the LEA
Tyrehl Byk: returning to the LEA

All of the successful applicants, who will be receiving the use of one full region supplied by the LEA each for a six month period, are to be congratulated. However, and without wishing to sound like I’m playing favourites, there are a couple in particular that I’m looking forward to.

The first of these is Tyrehl Byk. The master of the particle, Tryehl’s work is nothing short of astounding, as anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing shows like Catharsis and Particle Phantasmagoria can more than confirm.

I’ve no idea what Tyrehl has planned for his installation at the LEA, or whether it will be particle-focused; but I am convinced it will not disappoint, and I’m already eagerly waiting to hear more – which admittedly may not come until he’s ready to unveil his installation.

The other item I’m fairly bouncing about getting to see is from a team new to the LEA, although they have already established themselves as a creative tour de force in performance arts within Second Life, having established the Basilique Performing Arts Company.

I’m of course talking about Canary Beck and Harvey Crabsticks who, as their stunning Romeo+ Juliet approaches the end of its fourth season, will be trasferring it to the LEA as a part of an interactive, educational multi-media exhibit which will allow visitors to not only witness performances of their interpretation of Shakespeare’s immortal play about tragic love and loss, but to immerse themselves in the world of Romeo and Juliet.

“We envision building a full, open-air sim laid out on ground level making the scenes in Romeo + Juliet come to life. We hope that becoming associated with LEA will help us expand our reach to a broader audience,” Canary states, announcing the plans in her blog. She goes on:

At the centre of the sim will be the Basilique Playhouse where the play will be performed on a weekly basis, beginning in March.

The aim of this project is to build on our past work in presenting the play, augmenting the experience for visitors beyond spectator status, but rather as involved, participating, and interactive “actors” in the work, in three dimensions.

Extending on the themes of the play, and surrounding the playhouse, will be four highly immersive and distinct quarters giving the visitor the impression they have stepped back in time.

Relive the Basilique Performing Arts Company's Romeo+Juliet and immerse yourself in scenes from the play
Relive the Basilique Performing Arts Company’s Romeo+Juliet and immerse yourself in scenes from the play

The four immersive environments will comprise a public piazza and streets that one would have found in Verona at the time of the play’s setting; the Capulet family’s mansion where Romeo and Juliet first encounter one another at a ball, which will contain Juliet’s bedroom and the orchard beneath it where Romeo famously woos her; the town of Mantua, to which Romeo is banished after killing Tybalt; and finally, the chapel in which will reside Friar Laurence’s cell and the Capulet family tomb where Romeo and Juliet find their eternal rest.

Visitors will be able to witness performances of the production, re-create famous scenes from the play themselves, and engage in an interactive, HUD-based hunt / game based on challenges and clues surrounding the play, and the life of William Shakespeare.

The installation is to be developed in phases over a two-month period, opening its doors to the public on March 1st for perfomances and the additional quarters opening progressively as they are completed.

Having see the dedication and talents of Canary and Harvey – and the Basilique Performing Arts Company – I have little doubt that everything that is being promised will be delivered. This really is an exhibition – an event – you will not want to miss. Hopefully, and with Canary’s permission, I’ll be able to bring more news on this project as things progress.

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