Navigating a stage between worlds

Justin Brake
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Liz Solo — Submitted photo

Contemporary performance art and digital media Metaverse diva Liz Solo is returning to the local stage with a multidimensional play that she says will offer audiences glimpses into “windows or portals in between different worlds or realities.”

“InWorld,” Solo’s new one-person play, runs Nov. 24-27 at the LSPU Hall Second Space.

The 45-minute “multi-reality performance piece” is a culmination of her recent work in digital media and virtual communities.

“I’ve really been thinking about finding ways to create accessible presentations for people to try to bring them into some of this media culture that I’m involved in,” she explains on the phone from the Black Bag Media Collective studio space on Water Street, where she’s on break from rehearsing with “InWorld” producer Charlie Tomlinson.

“People who are curious about digital media communities, digital media technologies, new techniques in animation, these things — this show would be a really great way to showcase that and make it really accessible to people,” she says.

“And I’m trying to do it from both ends, so I will also be bringing the show from real life into virtual space, streaming it on the Internet and putting it in different virtual worlds for people to come and view it live so that I can have an international participation as well.”

The play tells a story of a standup comedienne who has given up “the life” and taken to online gaming full-time.

“She’s gotten lost in the virtual world and is possibly trying to find her way out,” says Solo, ending the sentence as a question for ambiguity’s sake. “The story line is that this is someone who was a standup comedienne who, as the scene and the world changed, had things change for her. She became more immersed in the Internet and gaming, and she has a band in real life.

“Meanwhile, she still lives with her puppet friends, who were a part of her standup life. So they kind of represent this part of her life that she’s left behind.

“They’re trying to understand what it is that she’s doing, which essentially is what she’s trying to understand.”

To bolster the performance’s virtual element, Solo will be joined by avatar actor friends from online communities The Third Faction and Second Front.

“I needed avatars to come and do a bit of acting for me because the character in the play has many friends in virtual space and things happen there,” she explains. “So (they’ve) come to help me out as avatar actors to accomplish a few different scenes.”

In a world where so much digital technology is embraced, and in fact depended on, says Solo, there still exist a lot of misperceptions of virtual online reality, of the “Metaverse.”

“So one of the things I really want to accomplish is a demystification of these technologies and what’s going on so that they’re much more accessible to people’s understanding,” she says.

“The main thing I want to get out of this, though, is to create a very lovely piece of theatre that’s funny, that tells the story of a character in a very meaningful way, and at the same time makes the media accessible.”

“InWorld” is the first production of Roles 4 Women Theatre Company, a joint venture by Solo and Jenny Naish, which plans to stage two more plays in the coming year.

Admission to all performances but the Nov. 24 preview (which is pay-what-you-can) is $10 at the door. All shows begin at 8:30 p.m. The final show, on Nov. 27, will be followed by an artist talk.

Organizations: Roles 4 Women Theatre Company

Geographic location: Water Street

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