SL – Immaculate Misconceptions!

Sister Mary Thaylon

Friday, July 18th, 2008 – Performing Immaculate Misconceptions (IM) in Second Life (SL) has added a few additional tasks to our stagecraft that we don’t typically have in RL. For example, my script is riddled with notes to “start guitar animation here” and “teleport backstage”. In RL we had a sound person handling the pre-recorded sound cues, but in SL I trigger those via an iPod. But just like in RL, I still had to turn into a nun, though it was a bit easier this time with a simple drag and drop. The hardest part has been getting everything in the right order, with the right timing, juggling the iPod, keyboard, mouse, instrument and script all at once.

Thankfully, Steve cut the script into three acts instead of two, giving us much more prep time before each segment. All of that will change Sunday when we do all three acts in one night!

Reviewing the script again after two years, it struck me that there were several songs that could have been written or recorded for the CD, but were left out for other reasons. Don McLean’s “American Pie” – a highlight of the third act – was not recorded for the CD because I didn’t feel like dealing with the administrative hassles of recording a cover song. I also didn’t want to become trapped into doing the song as a request at live shows. People were likely to assume (wrongly) that I liked the song and would play it on cue. Since then, the hassle of dealing with covers has been reduced with online tools, so perhaps one day I will release it on IM v 2.0, after v 1.0 goes out of print. But I draw the line there.

We used the same pre-show music that I wrote for the RL shows, but after our first week of performances, I decided they were weak compared to my more recent writing. So for the second week, we are using some pieces that came out of my sideshow writing sessions for our friend Mike. They are short pieces that might not otherwise see the light of day. So in that respect, SL is a bonus for me because it provides an outlet for all sorts of styles and formats.

Another factor this time around is climate, as the summer heat has made it a challenge for all of us to stay comfortable for the show (we have a quiet third collaborator, Megh Woodward who runs some of the SL gadgetry from CA). The noise of my air conditioner is enough to drive me mad without amplification, so hearing it through my sound system with headphones on is not suitable. Instead I’ve been running it for several hours before hand, then shutting it down and using the residual chill for the length of the show. On most days this worked fine, but on one day I forgot to turn it on early and I roasted.

Performing with headphones is almost like a recording session, but not quite. You have to listen more carefully for cues visual and otherwise and it is easy to get distracted by an instant message or group announcement popping up on the screen.

At one point some residual curry from dinner got in my eye, threatening to blind me in the middle of one of the acts, but I pulled through. Yes, this is a strange (virtual) world.

Visit MUSOFYR for more about the experience.