The Hacking of Nezar Scorge
52nd St. New Horizons Theatre - 2020 Virtual Show
Written by: Patrick Lanczki
Director: Patrick Lanczki
Scene Design: Katherine Stepanek
Lighting Design: Helen Garcia-Alton
Costume Design: Margo Birdwhistell
VFX/Editor/Livestream Coordinator: Chandler Oppenheimer
Due to the pandemic of 2020, live shows were canceled. In an attempt to continue with Christmas traditions, it was decided to create a virtual production for our audiences.
Accepting that the show would be virtual, we realized that the traditional version of "A Christmas Carol" was really the best option. The director decided that we would have to update it, to bring the actual story into the present or near-future. This would make the virtual programming connect more with the story than putting a Victorian story in little video chat boxes. Instead, Scorge (this version's Scrooge) dislikes people so much, he does all of his business virtually, and the entities possess his computer.
As part of this new telling of the famous story, the design theme became a more graphic novel style. As the scenic designer for this production, I created over 85 unique backgrounds. These were made in Google SketchUp and V-Ray. We chose SketchUp in order to have movement in the background, but also so the characters who were supposed to be in the same room could actually have different views of the same room as their backgrounds (as can be seen in the Carrillo scene, above).
Occasionally, there would be an animation through a narration, or behind the actors as the entities take Scorge to different times and places. This is partly to make the story interesting, but also to maintain the attention of the audience in an era of theatre and film where they expect more than just talking heads on a backdrop.
Overall, this production was an experiment in a new style of theatre, a virtual world that can be used to place characters in the same world, in a visually stimulating situation.