#1164: Live XR Sketch Comedy “Bag of Worms” Blends Realities for Surrealist Humor Reflecting on Virtual Violence

Bag of Worms is a live XR sketch comedy performance developed by Matt Romein in collaboration with Peter Mills Weiss and Julia Mounsey that showed as a part of the ONX + DocLab MoCap Stage at IDFA DocLab 2022. It’s difficult to fully describe the surreal quality of Bag of Worms, but their synopsis does a pretty good job of summarizing the key points, “Wearing motion capture suits, Bag of Worms uses technology to create a new kind of hybrid performance, with the performers constructing and manipulating a digital playground viewable to the audience in real-time. The lines between the physical and the digital become blurred, challenging the audience’s perception of where the actual performance is taking place.” Because the audience can see the physical bodies of both performers, Bag of Worms plays with “creative violence” in the context of the virtual avatar representations of their motion captured embodiments that are being projected onto the back of the stage. I had a chance to catch up with Romein at the IDFA DocLab to get more of the backstory of how this project came about, how they’re translating some of the language of theatre into rules for this project, and the quality of attention within a theatrical proscenium stage with adding video screens and hybrid performance.

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Music: Fatality