The Great Idle

sound / music, game-programming

Director: Benjamin Pompe, performer: Lide Olivier Groutars, production: IMPAKT Utrecht, Typeface design: Kristin Sandström

The Great Idle is a mixed-reality performance which blends live performance with real-time interactive simulation. As the audience, you control the character’s actions, which an actor performs live in an immersive, hybrid theatrical setting. You can also actively participate in the narrative by choosing from a range of prompts that influence the storyline and the character’s environment. Together with other audience members (online and onsite), you become a vital component of the story, adding an element of unpredictability to the performance. The story unfolds in a captivating game of chance, control, action and idleness, involving the live actor, the audience and the virtual world.

The protagonist of the story is a solitary character stranded on an island in the middle of a virtual ocean. The island location recalls many a well-known story – from classical mythology to medieval and pagan folklore. In Homer’s Odyssey, a timeless narrative unfolds, featuring a central character condemned to stay on a mysterious island in pursuit of immortality. The protagonist is in a deep dilemma of choosing between everlasting life, isolation, and the prospect of returning to an unfamiliar homeland. In the context of contemporary technology and our online life, The Great Idle aspires to explore parallel dilemma’s to those raised by this ancient mythological tale. What do we decide to do with our free time? And how does idleness look, sound, feel?

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