The performance “Elsewhere” is an immersive journey that lets the audience truly experience actors’ play and explore productive tensions between digital technologies and performative arts. This ELSEWHERE is proposed by Alice Occhiali and Valerio Peroni, actors, directors and pedagogues of Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium. The two of them will direct six international actors, for the first encounter between the company and digital substance.
The performance “Elsewhere” is inspired by the concepts expressed in the book “The Poetic of Space” written by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. This writing shows how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shapes our thoughts, memories, and dreams.
It’s a book full of psychological and philosophical reflections on the concept of “house” in relation to a poetic imaginary that everyone has related to this topic. Particularly significant are the images of “the childhood’s house” that represent the past, and “the dream house” that represent the future. It’s in the tension between these two worlds, connected to memories and dreams, that the characters of “Elsewhere” moves. When we say: “I’m speaking now, but your mind is elsewhere,” or “He comes from elsewhere”, then what does that mean? Where is this “elsewhere”? If we must describe it in words, how will that be? “Elsewhere”, from Latin “Aliter Ubi”, literally means “different where”, a poetic space where memories and dreams melt together. Each actors gives life to characters entrapped and suspended in their own personal “Elsewhere”. This world called “Elsewhere”, translates in images all these points of reflection, and gives to the spectators the possibility to travel in a world full of archetypes and familiar suggestions. The actor, on the other hand, puts these images in motion using their bodies and voices in relation with space, objects and music, thus finding a strong connection to the most intimate thoughts and memories of human beings. Watching from outside it will be like observing curiously from a window the entire life lived by the unique human beings chosen to inhabit the “Elsewhere”.
The concept of “elsewhere” can be developed through virtual reality (VR) by creating digital environments that transport the user to a different place or time.
Virtual reality can create highly immersive environments that transport the user to a different place. This can be used to create a sense of “elsewhere” by allowing the user to experience different environments that they might not have access to in the physical world.
VR can also allow the user to interact with the environment and the objects within it, which can create a sense of presence and agency within the digital world. This can allow the user to explore and interact with environments in ways that might not be possible in the physical world.
The same technologies can be used to re-create environments of the past, allowing users to experience what life was like in different times and places, transporting users to different eras and cultures.
Users can also experience the same digital environment at the same time, creating a sense of social presence within the virtual world. Users can experience and interact with each other’s in a different place or culture.
Overall, virtual reality can be a powerful tool for developing the concept of “elsewhere” by creating immersive and interactive digital environments that transport users to different places and times.
Alice Occhiali and Valerio Peroni, stemming from the theatrical tradition of the Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium, has no previous experience working with this kind of technology whatsoever. During the 2020-2021 lockdown, every chance to transition towards a digital format was refused, because the two artists opinion was that technology could not equal the physical encounter between actors and audience. However, this new chance appears as a challenge for them.
The final idea is to use virtual reality glasses within the performance itself. In fact, it is intended to make this technology an integral part of the artistic narrative, making the VR visors elements in the hands of the spectators and actors. The spectators will be able to access through their cell phones the virtual spaces, visualized in a cardboard customized by Nordisk itself.
The actors, at certain times during the show, will invite the viewers to put on the visors, so they can enter the Elsewhere, and be able to see with their own eyes what the characters are experiencing.
The content inside the goggles will be 360-degree videos depicting performances, locations and effects created ad hoc.
CAST AND STAFF
Direction and Dramaturgy:
Alice Occhiali & Valerio Peroni
Andrea De Robbio, Giovanna Zanchetta, Juraj Benko, Gioacchino Firrito, Oriane Hours