At the Interactive PlayLab, we believe in the power of serious play. We train performers to become inter-actors so they can facilitate untrained participants when they engage in the process of serious play. We also create interactive performance experiences in which audience members who choose to can recapture their natural ability to engage in make believe, a liberating practice that many abandoned in their early teens.
If you’d like to know more about why we do what we do, read on…
Prior to the early 1900’s there was no such thing as “the film industry”–no movie directors, no screenwriters, no movie stars–only a creative fringe exploring a new medium made possible by the technology of the motion picture camera.
In the last few decades, a significant change has swept through our “sit down, shut up, and pay attention” that used to be found in theatres and classrooms and businesses. The change is interactivity–an expectation that there should be a “give-and-take” between the creators and recipients of the experience.
At the Interactive PlayLab, we define “interactive performance” as any experience in which the “audience” become co-creators of a fictional narrative. Immersive theatre, video games, virtual worlds, and simulations are recognized examples of interactive performance, but there are many more forms, just waiting to be explored and created.
We foresee a future full of authors, directors, designers, producers, and performers with skills uniquely suited to the creation of interactive performance, in all of its forms. At the Interactive PlayLab, our vision is to see the field of interactive performance established, understood, and employed across multiple disciplines, connecting human beings in deeper and more meaningful ways that make the world a better place.
Here’s to the future!
Play is a powerful process. It is a means by which we “try on” the roles that we may adopt. Children have license to play. As we grow older, we come to think of the roles we are playing as “who we are.” The opportunities to play new roles seem to be fewer, occurring mostly when a new role is thrust upon us, like becoming a new parent. The capacity to discover new facets of ourselves through play exists at any age, but the older we get, the more it seems that our “license to play” has been revoked. Wirth Creative believes in the power of play and creates experiences in which individuals rediscover their capacity to play, in ways that are both illuminating and empowering.
The power of fiction lies in the opportunity to take risks without consequence. Try to walk a six-inch curb for twenty feet, and most people can do it with ease. Raise that plank 30 feet in the air, and what was easy can suddenly become nearly impossible. The size of the plank has not changed, the consequence for failing has. Consequence can undermine the natural ability that we all possess. By allowing participants to play as characters other than themselves, they are freed to play without consequence and discover the natural ability that resides within.
The goal of our work is to empower individuals and groups, so we never trick people into thinking that the fiction they are experiencing is real (as in Punk’d or Candid Camera). Participants always know that they are playing in a fiction. People are never forced to participate. When observers become participants by choice, they claim their power because it was they who made the choice to play.
We do not use our work to indoctrinate participants into a particular point-of-view. The perspectives that participants walk away with are theirs, and theirs alone.