Prague Quadrennial Flashtalk and Panel

Key Responsibilities:

  • Project leader
  • Researched, created, and executed a 10-minute research presentation
  • Panelist for the discussion of technology and live performance

Presentation Title and Description:

Improvising with Performer-Controlled Technology during the Rehearsal Process

In scripted theatre, technical effects are often only incorporated with the actors in cue-to-cue and dress rehearsals. Improvising with technical effects during the rehearsal process could uncover issues early, or express alternative ways to craft the performance. Our goal is to demonstrate how technology can be incorporated into the rehearsal process and encourage experimentation with technology.

Publication:

(thesis) Technology Augmented Props: Tangible User Interfaces for Performer Controlled Technical Elements in Improvised Theatre 

ScriptedTheatreProcess

Project Team:

Claire Mikalauskas
Lora Oehlberg
April Viczko

Technology Augmented Props

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Key Responsibilities:

  • Project leader
  • Coordinated and executed three 90-minute user study sessions with a total of five professional improvisers (included video-recording, demographic questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews)
  • Transcribed all video-recordings and performed open coding on the data
  • Primary writer of the full length research paper based on the data from our user study
  • Researched, created, and executed a 20-minute presentation at a computer science conference in Arizona

Project Description: (thesis abstract)

While improvised theatre (improv) is often performed on a bare stage, improvisers sometimes incorporate physical props and technical elements to inspire new directions for a scene and to enrich their performance. For improvising technical elements such as light and sound, a control booth is used in a theatre space. However, coordinating with improvisers’ action on-stage is challenging as there is a disconnect between the technicians and the performers. My goal is to inform the design of a technology augmented prop that brings the capabilities of the control booth directly to the hands of the performers as a tangible user interface. I interviewed five professional improvisers about their use of physical props and technical elements in improv, and their expectations of performer-controlled technology. I propose a set of guidelines for the design of a technology augmented prop that is integrated into the existing world of improvised theatre.

Presentation:

TEI 2019 (Tempe, Arizona)

Publications:

(thesis) Technology Augmented Props: Tangible User Interfaces for Performer Controlled Technical Elements in Improvised Theatre 

Mikalauskas C., Viczko A., and Oehlberg L. (2019). Improvising with Performer-Controlled Technology during the Rehearsal Process. Flash talk presented at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, Prague, CZ.

Claire Mikalauskas, April Viczko, and Lora Oehlberg. 2018. Beyond the Bare Stage: Exploring Props as Potential Improviser-Controlled Technology. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 35-43. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3294109.3295631

Project Team:

Claire Mikalauskas
April Viczko
Lora Oehlberg

Performing with an Improv Robot

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Key Responsibilities:

  • Project leader
  • Primary designer of Robot Improv Puppet Theatre
  • Coordinated and lead a 2-hour user study with 7 professional improvisers participating (included video-recording, demographic questionnaires, system walk-through, semi-structured group interview, and time for the actors to use the system/perform with the system)
  • Transcribed video-recordings of user study and performed open coding on the data
  • Primary writer for our full length research paper based on the data from our user study
  • Researched, created, and executed a 20-minute presentation at a computer science conference in Hong Kong
  • Helped coordinate demos
  • Performed as an improviser alongside our robot in all demos

Project Description: (abstract

In improvisational theatre (improv), actors perform unscripted scenes together, collectively creating a narrative. Audience suggestions introduce randomness and build audience engagement, but can be challenging to mediate at scale. We present Robot Improv Puppet Theatre (RIPT), which includes a performance robot (Pokey) who performs gestures and dialogue in short-form improv scenes based on audience input from a mobile interface. We evaluated RIPT in several initial informal performances, and in a rehearsal with seven professional improvisers. The improvisers noted how audience prompts can have a big impact on the scene – highlighting the delicate balance between ambiguity and constraints in improv. The open structure of RIPT performances allows for multiple interpretations of how to perform with Pokey, including one-on-one conversations or multi-performer scenes. While Pokey lacks key qualities of a good improviser, improvisers found his serendipitous dialogue and gestures particularly rewarding.

Demos:

UIST 2017 Student Innovation Contest (Quebec City)
Interactions Lab Demo Day 2018 (University of Calgary)
Computer Science Showcase 2018 (University of Calgary)
DIS 2018 (Hong Kong)
Beakerhead 2018 (Calgary)

Presentation:

DIS 2018 (Hong Kong)

Publications:

Frederik Højlund Westergård, Jonathan Komang-Sønderbek, Malthe Emil Blichfeldt, Jonas Fritsch, Tiffany Wun, Claire Mikalauskas, Kevin Ta, Joshua Horacsek, Lora Oehlberg, Daisuke Uriu, William Odom, Mei-Kei Lai, Masahiko Inami, Harvey Bewley, and Laurens Boer. 2019. Demo hour. Interactions 26, 2 (February 2019), 10-13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3309719

Claire Mikalauskas, Tiffany Wun, Kevin Ta, Joshua Horacsek, and Lora Oehlberg. 2018. Improvising with an Audience-Controlled Robot Performer. In Proceedings of the 2018 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference 2018 (DIS ’18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 657-666. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3196709.3196757

Tiffany Wun, Claire Mikalauskas, Kevin Ta, Joshua Horacsek, and Lora Oehlberg. 2018. RIPT: Improvising with an Audience-Sourced Performance Robot. In Proceedings of the 19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (DIS ’18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 323-326. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3197391.3205397

Project Team:

Claire Mikalauskas
Tiffany Wun
Kevin Ta
Joshua John Horacsek
Lora Oehlberg