Production has commenced on the HFCC Virtual Theatricality Lab’s next show, Dinosaurus! by Edward Mast. Dinosaurus! is an entertaining and educational play with an ecological theme. The show examines what occurs when a team of oil explorers discover a colony of dinosaurs deep beneath the earth’s surface. The dinosaurs in this show are animated characters: they talk and are onstage as much as their real, human counterparts. The dinosaurs and scenery will be designed and animated by VTL chief animator Chris Dozier who previously provided the creatures and digital scenery for the VTL’s 2006 production of The Skriker.
The audience will sit on the stage with audience capacity per show at 200. The thirty-six feet width of HFCC’s Adray auditorium stage will be covered with HD 3D stereo projections, including those of animated dinosaurs synced to live onstage action. The 3D stereo effect will make the dinosaurs appear 10’ from the closest spectator. Audience members will wear 3D stereo polarized glasses to view the show. So-called “4D” effects will also be included in the production. “4D’ is a term used by theme parks to denote a physical effect that corresponds with a 3D animated effect. (It is raining in the animation and real water is splashed on the audience).
A highlight of Dinosaurus! will be a real-time character in the form of The Professor. This character will emcee and host the play and will be able to refer to schools visiting on a particular day by name and wish individual children happy birthday, etc. This character will also conduct a real-time discussion with the audience. The Professor will be created using the VTL’s Motion Capture capabilities.
HFCC Theatre Arts students, under the direction of Dr. George Popovich, director of the VTL and Director of Theatre are currently creating “guide videos” as well as voices for the show. In a guide video, actors portray the parts of the animated character. This helps the animator model the characters after the actors’ mannerisms and characteristics. This technique was recently used by director Gore Verbinski in Rango, a film that won the academy award for best animated feature in 2011.
The cast of Dinosaurus! is as follows: Gerry Dzuiblinski plays Point; Diana Galante portrays Turtle, Tall, Spike, Meatmouth, and Big. KingKing is voiced by Mike Cochrane and Zoo Zoo is created by Carolyn Cajas. Actors Gerry Dzuiblinski and Mike Cochrane play the live onstage parts of Peek and Bunk respectively.
Popovich is assisted by Alan Contino, VTL chief engineer. Anthony Lai, HFCC faculty member is creating original music and sound effects for Dinosaurus! using the music department’s recently installed state-of-the-art recording studio.
Dinosaurus! is currently scheduled for presentation in November and December of 2014.