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With :robot_face:, Seattle’s Dacha Theatre manages to move beyond the Zoom play, creating a truly immersive and interactive screen-based experience that fully leverages the affordances of its platform.

Disclosures. 1) :robot_face: co-creator Nick O’Leary is a member of the Playable Theatre Board; 2) I’ve been collaborating with Nick and Dacha on an in-person playable theatre piece which had to be postponed due to COVID-19. However I genuinely liked this piece, otherwise I would not have written about it!

As live performance — which had all but shut down during quarantine — has developed a new life online, I’ve been craving an experience that uses the affordances of real time mediation in a creative and innovative way. :robot_face:, created by Nick O’Leary and Nathan Whitehouse, with Dacha Theatre — a small company in Seattle devoted to devised and playful work — is the first thing I’ve seen that really fulfills this promise. What’s more, it does so without the benefit of a big budget, through creatively leveraging commonplace tools (including game technology) in an interesting way. My insight here is informed by my perspective as a game designer who has recently begun working at the intersection of games and theatre with a particular bias towards works that have well-designed audience agency. Here, I’ll be discussing :robot_face: through some ideas that I’ve been developing and plan to write more about on this blog in the future. …


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by Lizzie Stark & Jason Morningstar

In the live roleplaying scenario The Lesser Players’ Tale (LPT), a shabby group of Renaissance actors perform an awful play called “The Lusty Queen” in front of whatever audience fate throws their way. The actors adapt their play to each raucous — and occasionally dangerous — audience. In the final challenge, they must come together as a troupe, performing for their very lives. …

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