m@rc0 p0!0 endg@me 2.0

Dirks Theatre Arts Association x Paprika Studio 

5-7/5 │ Friday to Sunday │ 20:00
6, 7/5 │ Saturday, Sunday │ 15:00
Black Box Theatre, Old Court Building (accessible by stairs only)
Tickets: MOP 180

“Between putting on and taking off the goggles, one not only traverses between the virtual sphere and the real space, but also switches between the worlds of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan.” – Jass Leung, theatre critic

Joining the Macao Arts Festival for the fifth time, the Dirks Theatre Arts Association is presenting m@rc0 p0!0 endg@me 2.0, a production that combines virtual reality (VR) and theatrical performance. This programme, adapted from Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities, is a joint production by the Dirks Theatre Arts Association and the Hong Kong-based Paprika Studio, a theatre company dedicated to developing visual aesthetics that features the integration of media into theatre.

Throughout the programme, the audience will wear VR goggles to enter the world created by Italo Calvino while being guided by the actors and VR technology; several cities across time and space that stand between reality and illusion are highlighted in the chess duel between Kublai Khan, Emperor Shizu of the Yuan Dynasty, and the traveller Marco Polo. Traversing between reality and surreality in this extraordinary world, the audience will reflect upon the impact of digital civilisation on human society.

Direction and Text: Adrian Yeung 
Cast: Ip Ka Man, Wu May Bo and Anson Chan 
VR Design and Production: Adrian Yeung and Arnold Chan 
Design: Lam Ka Pik, Kenneth Cheong, Chan Ming Kin and Nicco Sun 
Stage Technical Support: MIIS Production

Duration: Approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, no interval
Performed in Cantonese, no surtitles 
Restricted to audiences aged between 13 and 65, not suitable for any of the following:
1.    Pregnant women, or individuals with cardiovascular disease or other serious health conditions;
2.    Individuals with epilepsy; 
3.    Individuals with pinkeye or any other contagious eye diseases;
4.    Other individuals who are unsuitable to experience VR.

Post-show talk after the performance at 20:00 on 5 May

1.    VR will alternate with live performances during the programme. To avoid disruptions, audience members are requested to remain quiet and switch off all sound-making and light-emitting devices;
2.    Some people may feel dizzy and nauseous when using VR goggles. Audience members are therefore requested to evaluate their own health and physical condition before buying tickets and entering the venue. Spectators are responsible for any conditions arising from their own dangerous behaviour;
3.    Contact lenses are recommended for spectators who wear glasses. For those who opt for glasses, please note that the size of the frames should be less than 142 mm in length and 50 mm in width, and the shape of certain frames may hinder the wearing of VR goggles.

Introductory Text

It has become a common trend in recent years to explore the use of virtual reality (VR) in theatre. m@rc0 p0!0 endg@me 2.0 takes reference from Six Memos for the Next Millennium, the collection of Italian writer Italo Calvino’s lectures, and is based on his novel Invisible Cities, which relates the story of Kublai Khan listening to Marco Polo’s description of a range of illusory yet seemingly real cities. In addition to viewing the actors’ live performance, the audience will also experience the virtual cities with the VR goggles. As the story unveils, each segment of virtual reality resembles one of the various attractions visited during a group tour. The chief creator Wu May Bo mentioned that “VR is added to this production in order to explore more possibilities about theatrical experience; the concepts of VR and reality are adopted because we are very interested in exploring the experience of the audience.”

The integration of VR into theatre can not only bring a fresh viewing experience to the audience, but also inspire dramaturgs to ponder the future development of theatre.

By Egretta
Theatre critic and a media practitioner with two Master’s degrees in Journalism and Cultural Management from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is currently writing on a number of topics for several media platforms on a freelance basis, including art and cultural development, history and features of Macao, and eco-friendly lifestyle.


This article is excerpted and translated from Chinese

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