We took our seats and a voice came on and told us a few of the grounds rules. They asked us, as many large events do, to remove scripts or other unnecessary attachments to assist however we could in reducing lag. In speaking with Alexial earlier she had asked we not to TP in our friends. There is limited seating at Ravenswood Theater mostly, as you can imagine, because the timing of all this is down to science and lag could certainly have hampered the experience. It would have been devastating if one of the actors were to crash and not be able to get back in so the number of avatars is carefully planned and controlled by RSVP. We were asked not to use gestures or open chat during the performance, and though a reasonable request I think it probably turned out to be unnecessary. I think everyone in the room was as speechless as I was and no one said a peep through the whole thing other than the roars of applause at intermission and the standing ovation at the end. Lastly, not a rule, but a suggestion, we were asked to turn off name tags, display names and group titles. I wasn’t really convinced that it would make a difference, but I complied. I’m SO glad I did. These folks know what they are talking about.
This is another one of those times when my pictures won’t do something justice, and not just because of my photography skills or computer, but because you need to have been there to experience the lighting, the set changes, the costumes, the animations all timed perfectly with the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera.
The curtain opens to the auction scene and I’m looking down from my balcony all smiles. I knew the performers would be furries as it was noted in the news release, and I felt that added to the charm of seeing this done the Second Life way, but honestly with 15 minutes I stopped even noticing because they were just the characters.
Being in “SL” mindset I was camming around, peeking back stage and on the roof when suddenly the chandelier crashed onto the audience.
That was the moment I was hooked. The pixels fell away, I forgot I was wearing a headset. I was there, in that moment, watching Phantom of the Opera and the next three hours were pure magic.
The set changes were done so smoothly I didn’t even pause to wonder until after the fact how they managed to move prims so quickly let alone consider the amount of work that must have gone into creating all this.
The costumes were brilliant and the speed with which they did costume changes, the perfectly timed coordination of all this, I just know they must have put countless hours into rehearsals.
The use of animations is what made this performance come to life. Whether they were meticulously selected or created specifically for this I’m not sure, but it takes a special kind of animation to make you forget you are looking at an animation and not people moving around a stage.
Lighting and special effects plays a bit factor in any production and they went to a lot of trouble to incorporate that in the Second Life version as well. I should have taken some video to show you, but look carefully at these two pictures, taken seconds apart and mostly unedited other than cropping. It was the actual lighting that changed in the venue to match what was happening in the performance.
Look again, just over the fireplace… isn’t that amazing?
Now remember, the soundtrack is running over the stream this whole time, so all of these set changes, costume changes, lighting effects, particles, gestures and animations have to be timed perfectly in order for the show to work, and it absolutely did. I have so many pictures here hoping in some small way to be able to demonstrate that.
This next one I took after one of the brief IMs I exchanged with my date when he said “Zoom in on the desk, look at the note. I can’t believe the detail they’ve put into this”
My favorite scene of the entire performance.
The one point throughout the whole evening when I actually paused, pulled myself out of the moment and said “They had to have custom made that animation sequence” because this was just entirely too perfect for this scene, and look at that mask!
I’m not sure if you know the story or not, so I don’t want to give away too much here near the end.
I was wiping away tears right about here and didn’t get a snapshot of what came after this but… well you know the story.
The audience leapt from their seats in a standing ovation and typing *applause* just really was the only part of the experience and evening that I felt was underwhelming. Somehow typing “bravo” didn’t properly express how impressed I was with not only the performance, but all the work that must have gone into this production, by volunteers, provided for free.
There is a donation box in the lobby and I gave what I could even with my limited budget and my date kindly donated 5 times that as well as buying one, or even two, of just about everything they had in their gift kiosk. I still don’t know that it was enough to show our gratitude.
If you are interested in seeing a performance, and if you are only ever going to try one thing new in your SL please make it this. Head down to Ravenswood Theater Company and join the group.
Future dates of Phantom of the Opera will be announced via the group and you’ll have to RSVP for the limited seating or you can contact Alexia de Ravenswood (alexiel.czaczkes) for more information.
As I said in my post below, the Ravenswood Theater Company’s presentation of Phantom of the Opera is probably the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen in all my years in Second Life.
Ravenswood Theater has announced another upcoming performance of Phantom of the Opera on Wednesday December 7th at 7pm SL time.
As before it’s limited seating in order to keep the performance running smoothly. Head down to the box office and pick up an RSVP form, fill it out, and drop it in their mail box. They will get back to you to confirm your seats.
You really really must see this if you are able to. It’s a once in a SLifetime opportunity.