Beyond Liveness: The Dramaturgies of Augmented Reality in Live Theatre

I’ll hazard a guess that few of you (save the real geeks among you) know that this quotation comes from British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination,” in which he posits three universal truths of scientific prediction. Yet whether or not you’re acquainted with Clarke’s Third Law, I imagine that it resonates with a moment you’ve experienced in the theatre, when a virtuosic stage effect goes so far beyond the realm of your technical understanding that it induces in you a mystic reverence, a kind of theatrical sublime. While I’ve had many such magic moments in the theatre, none have rivaled my first experience with augmented reality. So, as with an overeager child observing a particularly impressive hat-trick, I have become obsessed with its mechanics.

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