Hi there! It’s your Dance Correspondent, R. Crap Mariner.
Where do I begin with Idle Rogue and the Guerilla Burlesque group that performs there? They were the first group I saw performing in Second Life, although I should have seen them sooner if I hadn’t have been such a lazyass with all those invitations, oh, how I regret my foolish ways!
When I was listening to Grace McDunnough perform at After Dark, why did I not cam around the sim and see that theatre and get curious? Is Grace that mesmerizing with her sweet, dulcet tones?
Damn you! Damn you and your sweet dulcet tones, siren! The path of my life is paved with the cement of regrets and tears.
But let us not live mired in sorrow, but look to the future. And in Idle Rogue Production’s future we see their upcoming show Cirque du Nuit:
Idle Rogue Productions are presenting the very successful Le Cirque de Nuit again this Easter, with performances at 7pm on March 30th, 31st and April 1st , and a matinee performance at 3pm on March 31st.
Directed by Blaze DeVivre, with the assistance of Sho Kyong, and produced by chryblnd Scribe, this year’s production will feature new acts, new dancers, new art installations and perhaps a little something we haven’t done before.
Billed as “a steampunk circus in black and white”, Le Cirque de Nuit pays loose homage to The Night Circus, a novel by Erin Morgenstern, which tells the tale of an enchanted circus traveling the globe during the Victorian era. Our production features dance acts with themes of circus, illusion and steampunk, and the strictly black-and-white acts are interspersed by colourful art installations from Second Life artists and musicians.
This production debuted in 2014 and has since presented some of the most innovative dance creations in Second Life. It is beloved by all who have seen it, with its breath-taking special effects and an elegant ambiance you will not forget.
The opening night performance on March 30th will be exclusive to members of the Guerilla Burlesque Exclusive group.
Production enquiries should be directed to chryblnd Scribe. Media inquiries should be addressed to Aubreya Joszpe.
As for bookings:
Bookings for the 2018 season of Le Cirque De Nuit open on March 22nd at 4:00pm. From that hour onward, you will be able to IM Saturday Melody in-world to add your name to the allocation list, time stamps will ensure bookings are processed fairly. Leave a message indicating your first and second performance preferences and the names of those in your booking. Be sure to check the Auto-response message that will be generated when you open Saturday’s IM for updated details for any scheduling changes.
NOTE: Idle Rogue’s fan group – Guerilla Burlesque Exclusive – receive first and best preference to all shows on Idle Rogue. This affects bookings as follows:
March 30 – 7pm performance – Guerilla Burlesque Exclusive only
March 31 – 3pm performance – 20 seats for exclusive group, 20 seats for general admission
March 31 – 7pm performance – 20 seats for exclusive group, 20 seats for general admission
April 1 – 7pm performance – 20 seats for exclusive group, 20 seats for general admission
The sim will be locked to all but those whose names are on the access list at each show, unless the seat limit of 40 guests total is not filled, at which time the sim will be opened for general audience intake. Please allow for the Linden Lab limitation of 10% of the avatar limit (5-10 avatars)held for premium memberships. While we will do everything within our capacity to ensure you can access the sim on the night you have booked, please note this arrangement is a courtesy only and no obligation is implied.
That’s the TL;DR, but I want to know more. What is Idle Rogue about and what do they do there? What’s the appeal of Cirque du Nuit and how are they going about to create this in Second Life?
I know I want to know. So, let’s go exploring, shall we?
DIRECT ME TO THE DIRECTOR…
Blaze DeVivre is directing this year’s Cirque de Nuit, and she teleported me to the build in-progress to talk.
Beyond the wrought-iron fence and gates at the landing area, a gigantic big-top tent with the stage and seating was coming together. Underneath the stage, artists were loading their interstitial builds for the production.
Before we got into Cirque de Nuit, I pretended not to know what Idle Rogue and Guerilla Burlesque are, despite shooting photos of them for over a year and getting to know the performers, just so we could start off with a good introduction to this interview.
“Guerilla Burlesque started as a troupe of dancers who would do back-up for live performers in SL,” said Blaze, playing along. “Idle Rogue has always had a live music component to it, and Cherry managed some performers, then brought her two loves, dance and live music together. They started doing dance shows around the time I was rezzed, wanting to expand on the fledgling Virtual Burlesque movement that came about at that time.”
GETTING HER START
Where did Blaze get her start in all of this?
“I was going to events at IR before performing with GB, enjoying many good laughs and fun nights from DJs to live music. Early on, I got hooked up with the Aussies because I am a night owl. I lurked at their shows for about a year before I found out they were auditioning for new members. I had always had in interest in dance and particularly burlesque but not the ability to make it happen in RL, besides it is way better in here (and cheaper to create).”
Because I was working on a not-so-to secret project of a dance performance to demonstrate to y’all how easy or hard it is to do, I asked Blaze was it hard to learn dance performance? And, more importantly, how fun is it?
“it was hard. I had a steep learning curve in SL since I did not come from a gaming background, it was all new to me, but that difficulty was exactly what kept me coming back. The ability to create something here that was a composite of my love of visual art and music just grabbed me like no other art form ever did.”
“I have created with many media outside of the digital. I worked a lot with fibres and collage, very texture based sensory. I had been an art major at one time, so all the usual drawing and painting as well. I think it is that love of collage that translates best to SL, finding all the bits and pieces, from animations to props and costumes and gluing them together to make acts.”
The F WORD
And nobody truly builds an act alone, something I’ve been learning a lot in the discussions I’ve had these past few months in putting together these interviews, it comes up time and time again…
“I have always appreciated the community around IR, diverse and tolerant of all good souls. We go through a lot together, putting on shows is not a solo endeavour, despite all the time we spend alone working on acts. GB is family; the audience, the extended family. Any time I have been faced with leaving due to RL, that comes up. They encourage and support me in so many ways, cannot imagine being cut off from that. The friendships here enrich both of my lives.
It’s good to be family, but, sorry, you can’t borrow my cool hat, Blaze.
CIRQUE DE NUIT
Otherwise, well, maybe now we should talk about this whole Night Circus thing. I asked her What Cirque de Nuit was all about.
“Le Cirque de Nuit is inspired by the book The Night Circus,” said Blaze. ” A bunch of us in GB had read the book, just based on each other’s reading recommendations, then cherryblondscribe (Executive Producer of Idle Rogue and Guerilla Burlesque) and Glorianna Maertens got together and said let’s do a production that draws from the circus at the center of the story. Cherry started Idle Rogue Productions in order to distinguish this work from Guerilla Burlesque, some of the dancers might work in both, but this production stands outside those usual bounds.”
I hadn’t read that book, I’ll admit, but I’ve been listening to Caledonia Skytower read it at Seanchai Library, and I know there’s plans for her to read some passages at the Cirque shows for the hour before Le Cirque starts.
“It is a fantastic tale, that linked so many of my interests, Steampunk and Victorian era literature, in particular mysticism and the occult during that time,” said Blaze. “It is one that I refused to stop reading until it was over and was left wanting more. Those books can be rare.”
So, once the readings are done and the lights come up, what will be the audience experience?
“We have nine acts each taking on themes from the novel and putting the individual performer’s twist on it,some that are circus inspired more generally, and some that are a fantasy all their own,” said Blaze.
You know, Second Life can be a fantasy all its own, some days. But a lot more drama… eh, I digress…
“All of the acts are in B&W with Steampunk/Victorian flare, but in between each of the dance acts we have interstitial artists doing pieces. These are small installations in colour done by various artists and musicians from around the grid, most from outside GB.”
MORE ON INTERSTITIALS
I wanted to learn more about those (Once again, pretending not to already know. You’ll see later why.) So, I asked Sho Kyong, who has been with the show since the beginning, about the interstitials and why they have them in the show.
“They’re kind of an eye wash between the acts. The acts will be black and white or silvers, while the interstitials will be in full colour. It also gives the crew time to change out the acts seamlessly. The camera controls that the dance performance engine uses will change the viewpoint from the stage to the selected interstitial, and then back again when the next act is ready. It’s a lot more interesting and fun than just having a curtain there and waiting.”
She told me about an earlier performance called Mayfair which used two stages, and they switched between stages to keep a seamless performance. The cameras would be pulled from one stage to another while the audience sat in a garden setting.
Sho herself is performing in one of the main acts as the contortionists character from the books. But just as Blaze said the performers get inspiration to build from, she’s interpreted that character as having passion for spiked outfits. She’s also one of the main performers in Guerilla Burlesque. (She is the one who got me into this whole Dance scene thing, if I hadn’t mentioned it ten thousand times already. Just to give proper credit, no, not blaming her at all. Never.)
Oh, and I may have been roped into building one by Sho, not that I’d call myself an artist, okay?
BACK TO BLAZE
How does Blaze get all these people together and working seamlessly?
“Coordinating people with two lives is always a challenge. Most of the technical parts have come together with experience. There are around 15 in the cast and another 5+ solely on logistics, many of us wear multiple hats. We have strict parameters for a reason, we want the performers and the audience to have a fantastic experience.”
But most importantly, instead of hunting for the right camera angle to experience the show, let the directors handle the wheel…
“It will be totally camera driven, which does present its own challenge, but it adds much more to the performance and allow us to add the interstitials.”
Oh. Good. I don’t have to shout I’M DOWN HERE, EVERYBODY!
I’ve been tinkering with the MetaHarper tools recently, and that camera is really cool, and I appreciate the effort it takes to guide that and way-point it for an act, but I’m kind of a control freak for photography, and I use my SpaceNavigator. (Until a cat sleeps on that arm and pins it.)
KEEP IT FRESH
So, how does Blaze keep the builders and performers doing fresh acts on this theme?
“This will be our 4th performance, and each year we bring a few acts back and more are new acts. Every time someone brings something new, they are pushed to go deeper than before. Some of us have characters that we stay with and imagine them in new scenarios, some go totally different. Maeve Branner is composing her own music for her act along with some short pieces for the interstitials. Voodoo Shilton and Noma Falta are also contributing music along with their interstitials.”
So, in addition to being a performance, it’s a kind of role play.
“I fell in love with the tarot reader in the book, so I am one in the show. The first act was more of a fantastical reading of the cards, the second act is more of a “come to my caravan and I will read your tea leaves.” I am not her per se, just took off from that point. We are not out to recreate the book, that is never the goal, just to use it as a launch point.”
I should mention that I’ve attached a Three of Swords to my avatar’s insides for over ten years now, but I’d prefer that Blaze not eviscerate me to read that card.
In addition to tarot readers…
“Elephants, contortionists on beds of nails, 19th Century magic…”
And the audience themselves are encouraged to get into the mood too.
“Steampunk, B&W and the hardcore fans would all wear a token of red, a scarf, a lapel rose or some such, so that they can identify each other from the regular circus-goers.”
But don’t dilly dally with getting to the shows or take too long getting dressed, because seating is limited:
“Seating is limited to 40 per performance, because the cast is big and we keep the audience small so we all have the best experience. This is an Idle Rogue Production and is intended to be for families, PG, there is no Burlesque in the show, so if you are someone who does not like that type of thing, we got it all covered for this one. ”
They plan to reserve seats for Guerilla Burlesque’s Exclusive group, and advance bookings are available to reserve seats. For more information on access to the show, read Idle Rogue’s blog post on the subject.
When I asked Blaze how sad people will be if they miss this, on a scale from one to ten, Blaze confirmed that this was a ten. Lots of sad, you will have.
Thank you, Blaze, it was wonderful to talk to you and learn more about you and the upcoming Le Cirque de Nuit, not to mention everything else that goes on there at Idle Rogue and Guerilla Burlesque. I hope that folks take the time to go there, explore, and join in on the fun!
The first show will be the evening of Friday March 30th at 7PM for Guerilla Burlesque Exclusive members. Then, shows at 3PM and 7PM on Saturday the 31st, and finishing with 7PM on Sunday April 1st.
- Idle Rogues SLurl (Idle Rogue, rated: Moderate)
- Idle Rogue Le Cirque de Nuit blog post
- Le Cirque de Nuit YouTube playlist
- Idle Rogue on Facebook
- Guerilla Burlesque on Facebook
FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m building one of the interstitial acts… Sho just ropes me into everything, doesn’t she?