Virtual Meditation #1

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The Technology Project: Redefining theatre through the use of technology.

Virtual Meditation #1 is an experiment in interactive drama. Two volunteers become the actors in the play by providing their faces and names to virtual actors, and their measurable biological signals are used as input to influence the performance of the play. We are using technology, in the guise of biofeedback sensors, virtual scenes, and 3D face modeling, to turn select audience members into actors by involving them directly in the drama. Their desires and fears of touching each other, of holding hands with a stranger, become integral parts of the play itself, changing our perception of what is traditionally thought of as a theatrical experience.


"In Meditation, the most vivid and haunting effort, Sarah Ruhl blends video images, recorded dialogue and vital-sign-monitored volunteers to create a surreal rhapsody about a man and woman's blushing initial adventures."
- Michael Grossberg, Columbus Dispatch

" of the technology projects came up a winner: Sarah Ruhl's "Virtual Meditation No. 1." Using pinpoint digital imaging of real audience faces projected onto mannequins, Ruhl created a spiffy romantic duet in which even the gadgetry (heart sensors, computer-generated voice-overs) seemed to have a sense of delicious humor."
- Anne Marie Welsh, San Diego Union Tribune

"VM1" was developed at the perfect place, Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. The school's distinguished reputation in different disciplines, engineering and theater arts, has historically led to a lot of jokes. Now, it's starting to look like the wave of the future."
- Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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