Playable plays : an exploration in writing living narratives for interacting audiences
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This thesis is an attempt to utilize the playwriting lessons I learned at UT in service of writing compelling stories in immersive theater, virtual reality, and video games . . . and then to break down the distinctions between them, within a single piece of dramatic writing. I will reflect on my initial explorations into writing in immersive forms at UT – the video game/interactive performance Intro to Being Here, and the branching-narrative VR script Casey – and on the process that led to my play Loverboy. From this I will glean four lessons, which I will connect with my thoughts and research on immersive forms to generate a series of “bold declarations” for writing audience-interactive narratives. I will then use these declarations to take one story idea and outline it in three different forms: one as a so-called “Play-type play”, one as immersive theater, and one in virtual reality. From here I will take that story idea and explore how I could write what I call a “Playable play”: a live story experience that mixes and melds these storytelling forms to move the audience, both internally and externally.