Live Theater in VR will bring audience back to this ancient art form. VR headsets will bring live theater into the home, the same way as television brought movies.
LOS ANGELES, CA, December 01, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Severance Theory: Welcome to Respite has won ‘Best Narrative Experience’ at the Raindance Immersive, the official VR portion of the Raindance Film Festival in London, England, but viewable from anywhere in the world. An hour-long immersive journey with live actors performing in virtual reality and audiences attending from home in their VR headset on the VRChat platform, Welcome to Respite is a powerful and emotional journey that brings audiences back to their childhood, full of wonder and fears.
Welcome to Respite along with Alien Rescue, another live VR experience, won in their respective categories over the other nominees, all of which were prerecorded content, showing that the effect of liveness in VR is the emotional anchor that audiences are excited about.
VR WILL SAVE THEATER
With the number of entertainment options available in today’s world steadily increasing, so many theatres are watching their aging audience diminish, without seeing younger patrons come through the door. With the development of numerous streaming services, cable TV and other technology; the myriad entertainment options are competing for audiences every day.
“There is a growing theater movement in VR, because of its native similarities, theater artists are grabbing this new platform and running with it. With an internet connection and a VR headset, new, younger audiences are being introduced to the magic of theater, without audiences even venturing outside of their home,” says Deirdre V. Lyons, a producer and performer on Welcome to Respite, “they can connect to actual live artists in the same digital space, where they can be present for the creation of a single authentic moment that used to be the exclusive domain of a live stage show.”
WELCOME TO RESPITE NARRATIVE SUMMARY
Upon visiting your family’s home after your mom’s passing, you are whisked into a forgotten childhood memory. Each interaction is as meaningful as it is fascinating when you rediscover your past and delight in the simplicities of being a child once again. However, something is not quite right—perhaps it’s the masked tension between your parents, maybe you are hearing voices that seem to be only in your mind, it could even be that there is a monster hiding in your closet. After all, respite is only temporary when you are at the whim of your own mind.
HOW IT WORKS
Welcome to Respite is performed live with two actors playing multiple roles. Audiences attend from anywhere in the world, as long as they have access to a VR headset. Through the magic of VR technology, participants feel fully immersed in our 3D world.
SUPPORTING MENTAL HEALTH
This VR theatrical production is a psychological-thriller that explores the parts of our mind that both help us and haunt us through the lens of a mental illness called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as multiple personality disorder. This is a guided experience designed for a single audience member (Alex) and up to nine “invisible” audience members (Alters). This fictional story allows audience members to step into the shoes of Alex, the main character, and the primary personality within the ‘Personality System.’ Participants will encounter some of Alex’s alternate personalities, as well as theatrical recreations depicting the symptoms of this disorder.
Welcome to Respite deals with serious topics such as mental illness and the effects of trauma. While the experience is meant for entertainment only, it is our intention to use our platform to promote empathy towards those who are struggling mentally, and to end stigma against such illnesses.
“As immersive designers and storytellers, we are uniquely capable of using our craft to highlight important issues regarding mental illness,” claims Lyndsie Scoggin, Creative Director and Founder of CoAct Productions. “It is our hope that we can make a difference by promoting empathy and understanding for those that have been through so much already.”
Welcome to Respite, originally a live immersive theater experience produced by Lyndsie Scoggin, Danielle Levesque, Payden Ackerman, and Kelley Pierre, has been adapted for VR by Lyndsie Scoggin and Braden Roy. It is produced as a joint production between CoAct Productions and Ferryman Collective.
“This show was inspired by the true stories of people who suffer from DID,” explains Lyndsie Scoggin. “The experience takes you on a roller coaster of emotions as you explore both yourself and your relationships with others. It’s not simply about trauma…it’s about acknowledging that there is pain and finding a way to start facing your demons. Telling that story through the lens of DID has offered us a really nuanced way of achieving that.”
Ultimately, the goal of this experience is to push the boundaries of immersive storytelling through its use of interactivity, live performance, intimacy, and thoughtful design.
Two of the producers from Ferryman Collective approached Lyndsie about adapting this production to VR, “I really loved the idea of exploring the intimate and simple moments of connection that I felt could be achieved in VR” said Deirdre V. Lyons.
“There were things that could be done in VR that couldn’t be done in the physical version of this show, for example, we are able to put an adult into a child-sized avatar, so they have the perspective of a child again looking up at their parents.” adds Stephen Butchko “There is a sense of awe about the scope and scale of things that can be achieved in VR.”
Please note, The Severance Theory: Welcome to Respite is intended for mature audiences. While there is no graphic imagery, the production is centered around the exploration of childhood trauma and its lasting effects. The production contains some fast-flashing images. It may cause discomfort and trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy.
Platform: Virtual Reality. A VR headset (PC VR or Oculus Quest) is required for attending The Severance Theory: Welcome to Respite. It is performed in the VRChat app and attendees will be required to download VRChat and create a VRChat account prior to attending.
MEDIA SHOWINGS AND INTERVIEWS
Interviews and exclusive showings of Welcome to Respite may be experienced by contacting the team directly with requests.
For questions please contact: Ferryman Collective
Press Release and Images: Press Kit for The Severance Theory: Welcome To Respite
The Severance Theory: Welcome to Respite is co-produced by Ferryman Collective and CoAct Productions and is directed by Lyndsie Scoggin.
The cast features professional VR actors Deirdre V. Lyons (The Under Presents, Tempest, Finding Pandora X), Whitton Frank (The Under Presents, Tempest, PARA), Stephen Butchko (PARA, Krampusnacht), Braden Roy (PARA, Krampusnacht) as well as Lyndsie Scoggin and Christopher Lane Davis making their VR debut.
And the addition of new cast members, Eliot Addams (PARA, Krampusnacht), Brandon Bales (The Under Presents, The Under Presents: Tempest, RPG Guild Wars 2), Brendan Andolsek Bradley (Onboard XR: Below Deck and Cruise, Resident Evil Village, The Haves and the Have Nots), Lee Erdman (Andromeda, Honey, Street Time), Kelly B Jones (Strikeback, The Letting Go, The Marine 2) Jonathan David Martin (Finding Pandora X, Loveseat, War Horse).
Jeff Heimbuch as the Voice of Kyle and Morghann Stevens as the Voice of The Shadow.
The VR world was built by the Ferryman Collective members: Brian Tull – World-Builder, Christopher Lane Davis – Special Effects & Animation Designer, and Andy Aloisio – VR World-Builder and Consultant. Beaux Cooper – Avatar Designer and Creator.
The team is rounded out by CoAct Productions’ Danielle Levesque – Art Director, Jeff Heimbuch – Co-Audio Director.
The production Team Includes Deirdre V. Lyons, Braden Roy, Whitton Frank, Stephen Butchko, Lyndsie Scoggins, Brian Tull, Christopher Lane Davis with production assistance from Morghann Stevens.
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