The Text and the Line of Action: Re-conceiving Watching the Script

Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Sandra Gabriele, Stan Ruecker, Stéfan Sinclair, with Matt Bouchard, Shawn DeSouza-Coelho Diane Jakacki, Annemarie Kong, David Lam, Omar Rodriguez

Abstract


In this paper, we describe a recent evolution in thinking about our digital tool called Watching the Script (WtS), which was designed for actors, directors and theatre researchers. In its original conception, WtS was centred on the text. We conceived of text primarily as a material object; speeches were visualized as impenetrable integral units delineated typographically by speech-headings of characters speaking; movement in the stage view was linked to entire speeches, with only one action permitted per speech. Text was privileged and its virtual manifestation was a literal visualization of its material manifestation in print. In contrast, our new design re-conceives text as one of a set of material phenomena occurring in time and space that together express theatrical action. The system’s new, navigable three-dimensional stage view accommodates a variety of phenomena linked directly to the line of action; the text, which is linked to the stage view only through the line of action, is as flexible and penetrable as other performance phenomena in the stage view. We also situate the interface within a set of specific sets and stages, consisting of 3D models of real spaces created to scale, so that the adoption of the tool involves an awareness of an actual setting rather than a single stylized space.

Keywords


Watching the Script (WtS), representation of text, interface design, user interface, 3D modeling, threatre, performance studies, knowledge environment, material analysis

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