Motion Capture and Virtual Reality for Physical Theatre Training


Project Team Members:
Professor Jeanine Thompson, Theatre
Vita Berezina-Blackburn, ACCAD
Lakshika Udakandage, Design MFA

Acting MFA cohort 2015-2018, other undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Theatre


This project furthers the work undertaken during the development of the Marcel Marceau project. One of the main aspects of the project was to research ways of engaging students in working with the archival motion capture data of Marcel Marceau. One of the activities involved students learning Marceau’s adagio At the Bar, then motion capturing their versions and viewing them in the same virtual space as Marceau's. Both Marceau’s and students’ avatars were identical in their appearance. The idea was that it would allow the students to most easily focus on the motion quality rather than specificities of bodies and faces. As the immersive VR headsets became available we revisited this idea of the technology based approach to learning Marceau’s adagio by the students in Jeanine Thompson’s Mime class. Using VR headset the students are able to view Marceau's figure and performance visualized on a human scale, walk around him and physically follow his movements. Reviewing their motion captured performances the students are not only able to identify how their movements differ from Marceau's but also what movement qualities contribute to their own unique movement identity.  This experiment is also a prototype for a broader quest to incorporate meaningful human movement experience in virtual reality applications.