What if we could access opera and theatre through a digital game world? Who would be interested in an experience that combines gaming with live elements taken from theatre? Mahagonny is an exploration into these questions.
For this work Bettina John took the Brecht opera “Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny” and worked it into a game sketch that will incorporate live elements known from the toolbox of theatre. It is a response to the changing theatrical landscape that we have been experiencing over the past two years.
While this digital development is fairly recent and some critics might suggest that it will soon have lost its appeal, there are strong indicators that some of the changes are not only irreversible but also hugely beneficial for theatre as an art form and its audience alike.
The sketch below is a work in progress that Bettina John has been developing with the help of director and dramaturg Aida Rocci and game designer Mascha Ermakova. It has been developed with the help of an artist bursary from the Investitionsbank Sachsen-Anhalt ‘Kultur ans Netz’, which has been awarded to artists in response to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
The work will be further developed over the next year with the aim to have a public performance that allows audience members to watch and interact over the course of 90 minutes with actors in the game world and in real time. It will allow some audience members to access this experience from the comfort of their home. In the tradition of 1990’s Lan Parties, there might be a potential for audience members to experience the piece collectively in the theatre.
This game sketch is built for WebGL and will not run on any other platforms such as Android or IOS.
Please click into the game and then use arrow keys or WASD to navigate through the world. Additionally please use the mouse to look around and change direction. Mouse sensitivity can be changed using the scroll function. To exit the game, please press ESC.
Below are work in progress images.