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Tragedy and Comedy Masks. Photo: Steve Snodgrass

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company will host the launch of the Black Women Playwright’s Group Cyber Narrative Project.
By Jill A. Norris

Tragedy and Comedy Masks. (Photo: Steve Snodgrass)

To be or not to be? That was the question that many theatre producers were asking themselves when contemplating on whether or not live performances should keep up with the rapid evolution of technology. Ultimately, they have decided to launch the Cyber Narrative Project, which involves an alliance between the Black Women Playwright’s Group (BWPG) and the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center-Global (ATC-Global). This demonstration will be held on February 22nd at 1.00 pm, at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. The event will expose their collaborated work with the installment of digital engagement tools that will upgrade live show performances, including an interactive website and an online video game.

This new partnership hopes that, in addition to forming a bond between two typically different groups of people, it will lure younger generations into the theatre, and maybe even a few seriously tech-saavy teenagers by integrating up-to-date technology into theatre performances. The outcome of this project will hopefully excite younger people about role-playing and improv if it can be intertwined with online activities that will go along with live performance characters and story-lines.

BWPG President and Founder Karen Evans and ETC-Global professor Chris Klug (co-creator of DragonQuest), make up the foundation for this union. The launch of cyber-narrative tools will include readings from the plays, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz, which have inspired the development of digital tools.

Stereotypically, artists and technologists rest at opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum. However, in the hopes of sparking future collaborations between these two different groups of people, a panel of experts will also be discussing issues of intellectual property, viral marketing and resource building at the event.

A few of the intellectual speakers that will be participating in the event include Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, New York Times Playwright of the Year Kristoffer Diaz, Executive Producer of the Carnegie Mellon ETC-Global Don Marinelli, ETC-Global professor Chris Klug and representatives from Google and AOL.

Theatres that are participating in the BWPG/Carnegie Mellon ETC-Global Cyber Narrative Project include: About Face Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Geffen Playhouse, Hip Hop Theater Festival, Intersection for the Arts, Penumbra Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre. The project is funded by Bloomberg BNA, The Dreyfus Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Bill and Louisa Newlin, and Nick Olcott.

The event will be streamed live on NewPlay TV and will be live tweeted from Woolly’s Twitter account (@woollymammothtc). Follow the hashtag #CyberNarr. If you are interested in attending this joining event, contact Brooke Miller.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. (Photo: David Shankbone)

Bill Newlin

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