At last Omissis Festival in Gradisca d’Isonzo (GO), we had a chanche to see “Amanita” from RTView, a peculiar theatre show that is seen through virtual reality head-mounted display. One audience member wears special glasses and headphones, and watch a 3D show… well, lives inside a 3d shows gives  abetter idea of the experience. We asked RTView, the company that produced the show, to tell us more about it.


The technical side in your performance is so peculiar and significant that
is impossible not to draw a specific plot for that kind of theatre, taking
into consideration the specific situation you put the audience. What kind
of difficulties, limits, or potentials did you find in your research with
virtual reality head-mounted display?

We always try to push our limits a little further in our daily work, so it
has become a second nature for us. In this perspective, we had a clear
view of what we wanted to get since the early days in our research and
planning for Amanitha: an immersive experience, an alternate reality, an
inner trip. Virtual reality is not a limit, but a way to achieve things
simply impossible to build using traditional media. Of course this is just
the beginning: there’s still a whole universe of things to discover about
how people reacts to this kind of medium, how to create compelling content
which wouldn’t give excessive sickness or break the sense of presence and
still be able to tell a proper story, or simply teleport the audience
somewhere else for a 5 minute trip into wonderland.
We love to say that the manual for the perfect VR cinematic experience is
a constant work in progress.

What do you think is the main dramaturgic link you found between the tech
setup and the  story you decided to tell? In other words, why did you
decide to tell that story using that technique or, why did you use that
technique to tell that story?

There was no other way to build an experience like Amanitha using other
media. It’s been built from the ground up to be a VR cinematic experience
from the concept to its final shape; we wanted to bring the audience into
an immersive environment both regarding visuals and sounds and you just
can’t do that using a screen. We want people to be free to look around,
discover new things with each playback and get their own personal meaning
out of the experience.


Digital performances, like the one you presented at Omissis, are often
somehow expensive, requiring specific devices and lots of work for the
creation of digital footage. How did you deal with this? Did you have some
sort of specific support?

Zero support, 100% self-produced at zero budget. Of course We had a great
support from the Omissis staff for the performance setup, but for what
concerns the development and creation of the experience itself we did it
all on our own, on our (very limited) spare time, with loads of passion in
a month and a half more or less. The devices and software we used are the
same we use in our daily jobs anyway, so we just told ourselves: “Ok, we
can do this. Let’s do this!”

Does a specific support for digital art exist in your country? Do you have
access to it?

Not that we’re aware of. Sure that would be a nice opportunity to
investigate, getting access to such funds could make a huge impact on a
small team like ours.

What do you think will be the role of AR and VR glasses in theatre future?
Are we exploring a new format that will become an everyday theatre
fruition system, or is just a  temporary experience?

Well, we hope this is a booming market, of course! But these devices will
be just another medium, just a mean to an end, a way to tell a story, not
THE way to tell a story. Media cohexist since forever: books, photographs,
theathre, cinema, radio, television… they’re all still here with us and
not going away anytime soon in the foreseable future.
That said, we believe VR will be more of an home, individual experience by
its own nature.