#984: Live Theater + VR Experiments with Kiira Benzing’s “Loveseat”

Kiira Benzing‘s Loveseat was an ambitious fusion of live theater performance with VR technologies that premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2019. They performed live for the audience in Venice while wearing VR headets as their performances were simultaneously broadcast within the virtual reality environment of High Fidelity (back when they still had VR components before their pivot to spatial audio).

There have been a lot of other fusions of live theater with VR technologies recently, including Benzing’s follow-up live theater in VR piece a year later called Finding Pandora X, which won the Best VR Immersive User Experience at Venice 2020. She took a lot of the lessons learned from Loveseat and applied them to Finding Pandora X, especially the fact that when you do a live performance simultaneously in VR and IRL, then you end up doubling the production needs and staff that need to attend to both performance contexts.

I had a chance to unpack some of the other lessons learned from Benzing at Venice 2019 after one of their performances, including some of the specific acting insights from all three of the actors involved in the production: Jenn Harris, Jonathan David Martin, and Sam Kebede.


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Music: Fatality