Visualizing Theatrical Text: From Watching the Script to the Simulated Environment for Theatre (SET)
Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Shawn DeSouza-Coelho, Teresa Dobson, Sandra Gabriele, Omar Rodriguez-Arenas, Stan Ruecker, Stéfan Sinclair, Annemarie Akong, Matt Bouchard, Diane Jakacki, David Lam, and Lesley Northam
The Simulated Environment for Theatre (SET) offers an alternative to static, two-dimensional visualizations of theatrical text by modeling the process of moving from text to performance in the Western, text-based tradition of live theatre production. Its interface links a three-dimensional ‘Stage View’ populated by character avatars to a ‘Text View’ enhanced with text visualization tools by means of a central ‘Line of Action’ analogous to a timeline. All three parts of the interface can be edited; edits in any individual section appear in the others; and all three can be played back simultaneously. While emphasizing that the traditional medium of theatrical performance is the actor’s body moving in time and space, and providing a digital analogue for that medium, the system also frees users from the limitations of the single, time-bound spectator’s perspective. Potential applications include theatre analysis, theatre pedagogy, and preparation for theatrical production.