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Acting Exercises > Historical Reconstruction


The aim here was to recreate a short segment from the famous 1912 production of Orpheus and Eurydice designed by Adolphe Appia and choreographed by Jacques Dalcroze, for insertion into the VR reconstruction of the Hellerau performance space on the Theatron website...

 Egyptian Priest

Egyptian Temple Ritual
The daily cultic service and many other religious performances were celebrated in Egyptian temples for over three and a half thousand years prior to the establishment of Christianity in the 4th century C.E...

The studio available is somewhat less than optimal in size, with fairly simple equipment, which imposes limitations on the type of action that can be videotaped against a blue screen. The dimensions of the room are approximately 22 X 45 — and even with the cameras moved to the back wall, the frame covered by the lens (fanning out in a triangle from the single point of the camera) is barely 10 foot wide at a down-stage position approximately 28 feet from the camera, as determined by the apparent height of a standing actor. Any closer to the camera and toes or the top of the head would be outside that frame. At the same time if the dancers or actors get closer than 5 feet from the blue chromakey paper screen, hung from the lighting grid and curving down to cover the floor area, then they cast shadows. So the effective acting area can be no more than approximately 10 foot wide by 9 foot deep = 336 - 448 inches from camera lens (in Orpheus the actual dimensions were 28' to Orpheus' hand: 37-4" to the furthest point reached by the dancers). The camera lens itself was 39.5 inches from the floor. All these exact measurements, plus the lens setting on the camera had to be recorded and sent with the finished video, so that the figures could be accurately treated for insertion into the VR environment.

Given such a restrictive performance area, instead of moving around and behind the tomb from the Dalcroze Orpheus — as would probably have happened at Hellerau, and as in the earlier fully reconstructed performance — here all the dancers had to be placed in the small area immediately in front of the tomb, while no different floor-levels could be represented, so that neither Appia's steps-construct at the rear, nor the four steps linking the raised stage to the audience level — the main characteristic of his design — could be incorporated. Similarly for the Egyptian rituals, no processions could be filmed, even though these would have formed the basis of much of the historical ceremonies, and despite these being a major part of the students' performance. However, in conjunction with the VR context, it may be possible to show a processional segment passing across a passageway between two pillars in the VR temple interior.

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