A lot of the Starcruiser Reverse Engineers are fond of Caro Murphy’s Interactive Acting videos, they’re from workshops that go over the structure at a high level and give 2-minute descriptions of some concepts or crash course introductions to concepts.
The purpose of this article is not to replace the workshops, but to give people somewhere to turn after watching the videos with some links for them to find more information on the concepts that were mentioned. What I’d really like to happen eventually is that someone who wants to create an interactive or immersive event has the tools available to them to get started, or people running those kinds of events have more tools in their toolbelts to continue bringing immersive events to the public.
Components of an interactive story
Interaction Mechanics – LARP, RPG, Parlor Games
Characters with needs – motivations
Relationships – the existing connections between characters
There’s a very nice slide with a chart describing a lot of interactive theater and media and how transformative the environment is and how much agency the audience has when participating. 13:46
Pillars of Interactive Performance developed by Jennifer Bascom 15:30
Genuine, Authentic Connection
Yes, Yay! instead of traditional Improv Yes, And or RPG Yes, But
Investment before Immersion 16:52
Audience Categories by Participation Level
I’m told that The Art of Play has tools to help recognize if folks want to play and how to nudge them along.
Guest expectations can vary wildly if nobody knows that they’re allowed to interact or play along, whether applause is expected or if no one can hear the performance, etc.
The Design of Interactive Shows
Setting – can be any genre or story
Game Matrix – structure the outcomes
Character – the characters and motivations that get us to the outcomes
Relationships – the connections between characters and the events in the setting
Participants – the story doesn’t move without participants
The Mental Model of Interactive Performance 22:00
bisociation or dual consciousness in interactive performance
Diegetic – character-driven
Mechanical – movements, sounds, gestures, and mannerisms
Presence – giving focus and energy to others in a scene
Non-Diegetic – actor driven
Interactive Characters 24:25
Characters have needs, these become the motivations behind actions that drive the story
Character Archetype Worksheets 27 archetypes based on the Enneagram model, these archetypes might be different from Jungian or Joseph Campbell or any other writing guides you have, use what works best for you. One of the three Enneagram books I have, The Enneagram Made Simple, has 9 of the archetypes, but what that book calls the Reformer Murphy might be calling something else, the other 8 are one-for-one matches. The book digs in a lot more into what motivates those character types beyond labels. It also breaks the 9 archetypes into three centers (gut/instinct, heart /feeling, and head/thinking) which you hear Murphy talking about characters leading from their head, heart, etc. The 9 primary types have two associated fallback states which is where we might get 27 from. The book talks about how each of the primary types associates with the other types, which might help inform the characters’ connections to each other. For a brief and free look at this, search the web for enneagram types for your favorite series, an explainer, not a quiz to see what kind of jelly donut you are.
The workshop has folks decide on a setting, pick an archetype worksheet to start filling out, and then choose roles for their characters in that setting. People who came here from Starcruiser pick a character from that experience and try to match an archetype. If you’re coming from another interactive experience, pick a character you know well and try to see if there is an archetype that would make them or their story stronger.
The 9 main recognized types Reformer, Helper, Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, Challenger, Peacemaker. Gut centered; Reformer, Challenger, Peacemaker. Heart centered; Helper, Achiever, Individualist. Head centered; Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast. By the book I’m using Keevan would be a great reformer, highly organized and always wanting to do the right thing. Not just because she is that way, but our Croy specifically calls her out for her leadership and efficiency in our Captain’s table scene, and we know she’s helping the resistance because it’s the right thing to do.
Warm-up Exercises 35:03
Accepting Circle – kind of like an improv version of telephone with the players trying to copy a gesture and sound. Then the person to the left tries, and so on. The workshop had issues with Zoom filtering out things that weren’t words as part of its noise canceling. The purpose of the exercise is not to see how much it changes by the end but to get everyone in the frame of mind to accept something another person is giving them.
Approaching Technique 50:00
Approaching an audience member and getting them to participate practice activities. Letting the participant come up with the idea based on your need is more engaging than asking them for the same trivially simple task.
End of part 1.
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