Speak again, bright angel! Romeo+Juliet set to return to SL

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I’ve been following the work of the Basilique Performing Arts Company for a while now, and with good reason. Their work stands at the forefront of performing arts within Second Life featuring ambitious, cutting-edge productions which engage and enthrall. So much so that their masterful production of Paradise Lost: The story of Adam and Eve’s original sin, which runs through until the end of June, is completely sold-out.

Now comes word that their inaugural production, Romeo+Juliet, is set to return for a special 3-date early summer season, ahead of a full 2014 season’s run commencing in August.

The three special performances come courtesy of the Linden Endowment for the Arts, and will take place in a purpose-built setting on LEA14, designed and built by the production’s directors, Canary Beck and Harvey Crabsticks.

"Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene ..." Verona (foreground) and the playhouse beyond, LEA14, Romeo+Juliet
“Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene …” Verona (foreground) and the playhouse beyond. LEA14, Romeo+Juliet

The centrepiece of this is the playhouse where the performances will take place, located on a high plateau and surrounded by lush countryside. Around this lay four locations central to the unfolding story of tragic love: the town of Verona; the Capulet mansion; Mantua, the place to which Romeo retreats when the Prince proclaims him to be exiled from Verona, and the Capulet’s chapel, wherein the two lovers are reunited in death.

Visitors to the region are invited to explore the various settings, either before or after each of the performances, or any time on days when no performance is scheduled. Signposts have been placed throughout to help guide people between the various locations.

"What lady is that, which doth enrich the hand Of yonder knight?" The Capulet mansion, where Romeo first encounters Juliet. LEA14, Romeo+Juliet
“What lady is that, which doth enrich the hand Of yonder knight?” The Capulet mansion, where Romeo first encounters Juliet. LEA14, Romeo+Juliet

As the name suggests, Romeo + Juliet, which I reviewed here, presents Shakespeare’s famous play about star-crossed lovers in a brilliant mix of renaissance-inspired sets, 1940s costumes, and contemporary music from the likes of Nat King Cole, Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, Michael Buble, Jack Black, Carl Douglas, Queen and more. With a nod towards Baz Luhrmann and a rich weaving of music and dance as the means by which the unfolding story is largely told, the production is unique and fully engages the audience.

For the performance at LEA14 and the upcoming full season, Romeo+Juliet hold something special for audiences. “We’ve completely remastered it from the ground up,” Canary told me when she contacted me to let me know about the LEA dates. “We have redone the show with the new techniques and technology that we’ve learned as a result of Paradise Lost, and it’s better for it.” Hence why the new production has a “2.0” in it!

So even if you enjoyed Romeo+Juliet during its original 40-week run in 2013, this production is still not to be missed.

The LEA14 performances are all free to attend, but audience numbers are limited to 20 per show, with seats allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

"For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo" - The Chapel wherein Romeo and Juliet are tragically reunited
“For never was a story of more woe, Than this of Juliet and her Romeo” – The Chapel wherein Romeo and Juliet are tragically reunited. LEA14, Romeo+Juliet

Performance Dates

The three LEA14 performances will take place as follows (all times SLT):

  • 08:30, Saturday May 31st, 2014
  • 11:30, Sunday June 8th
  • 11:30, Sunday June 15th

Do be sure to mark your diary and to attend at least one; I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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Radegast Tech Support Class: helping blind users

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Radegest is a lightweight client for OpenSim and Second Life available for Windows, Linux and Mac. As well as providing text-based capabilities, it was the first lightweight Second Life client to offer a 3D world view (windows and Linux), allowing users on low-end systems to have a visual experience when using a virtual world.

Offering a similar level of capabilities and interaction as a full viewer, and supporting recent updates and improvements to the SL service (mesh rendering, HTTP protocol updates, Marketplace Direct Delivery, Server-side Appearance, etc.), Radegast has become very popular among users with visual impairments and with audio gamers. So much so that Roxie Marten and Celene Highwater of Virtual Ability Inc., have written a comprehensive Accessibility Guide to help people get started with Second life through Radegast. This not only serves as an excellent introduction for the visually and aurally impaired, but forms a thorough introduction for anyone wishing to gain familiarity with using Radegest.

Radegest gives you almost all the capabilities of a full viewer in a lightweight package (image courtesy of Radegast)
Radegest gives you almost all the capabilities of a full viewer in a lightweight package (image courtesy of Radegast)

Because of Radegast’s popularity among the visually impaired, Celene Highwater will be teaching a special class on Radegast for all those interested in assisting new users understand the client and in helping them become a part of the growing community of blind SL users.

The class will be held at the The Tavern on Wolpertinger, on Thursday May 29th, at 12:00 noon SLT / PDT, and will take place in text, or voice upon request.

Anyone who is interested in learning the ins and outs of Radegast in order to help blind or visually impaired users make effective use of the client, is extended a warm invitation to attend the session.

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