In this performance-workshop event UpStage will present their online work Jeux de Massacre. The performance will be followed by a presentation about the audio capabilities in the current UpStage software, the complete rebuild of the platform that they are beginning, and how UpStage’s global community of artists and developers relates to the festival theme of “communities near & far”. The audience is invited to participate in a brainstorming session about audio tools & functionality, providing an opportunity to contribute to the design of the new platform which they will be able to use in the future.
In 1970, absurdist playwright Eugene Ionesco wrote Jeux de Massacre (known in English as The Killing Game or Here Comes a Chopper) – a dark comedy in which the plague ravages a small town and everyone dies. As a new pandemic overwhelms the globe and people rush to isolation and internet communication, it seems appropriate and timely to translate this work from the stage to cyberspace. The project started as a creative and playful escape from the COVID-19 lockdown, allowing UpStage to collaborate remotely and adapt the play for the UpStage online platform.
UpStage is a web-based venue for online performance: remote performers collaborate in real time using digital media, and online audiences anywhere in the world join events by going to a web page, without having to download and install any additional software. UpStage is available free to anyone who would like to use it.
The UpStage project team members have been experimenting with various forms of online theatre since 1999, and since 2002 have worked together as the globally dispersed performance troupe Avatar Body Collision. The idea for UpStage was born from our experiments with using a variety of online chat technologies.
UpStage was initially created with support from the Smash Palace Fund; version 2 was developed with funding from the Community Partnership Fund of the New Zealand government’s Digital Strategy and released in June 2007. The last and final version, UpStage v3, was released in 2014 to mark UpStage’s 10th birthday. As of 2018, work has begun on Limelight, a new platform that will replace the original code base and enable UpStage to take advantage of newer technologies.
For this event Christina Papagiannouli (UK/Greece) has teamed up with Clara Gomes (Portugal), Helen Varley Jamieson (Germany/Aotearoa NZ), Miljana Perić (Serbia) and Vicki Smith (Aotearoa NZ) to produce Jeux de Massacre in UpStage and adapt it to current crises.