We sat down with Founder and CEO of the Show Show Lab, Melody Rowell, to chat about her upcoming VR/AR Comedy Show!
In the world of emerging technology, virtual and augmented reality lead the pack when it comes to accessibility and range of application. While we’ve touched on the use of VR/AR in the professional and academic fields, Show Show provides an entirely original intersection of technology, music and stand up comedy. Founder and CEO of the Show Show Lab, Melody Rowell answers some questions on what future audiences can look forward to.
It’s admittedly challenging for us to imagine how stand up comedy and virtual reality gaming would figure together as performance art. Would you be open to describing some of the experiences that audience members could expect from Show Show’s ambitious performance on February 2nd at Alberta Rose Theatre?
I’ve had the vision to mix live comedy with VR/AR/MR for quite some time now, and it’s so awesome to see it come together! Comedians perform stand up comedy then play a virtual reality game based on one of their jokes live on stage; the audience members will be invited to experience the VR games after the show. There will also be a segment featuring crowd gaming and live chiptunes by Mechlo. For those who don’t know, chiptunes are an amazing form of music where musicians turn NES consoles into instruments and play them live. The crowd gaming segment allows audience members to simultaneously play indie games by local developers and artists on the big screen, which are also based on the comedians’ jokes. Before the show begins we’ll also have a fun augmented reality experience in the lobby, so It’s going to be a wild time for sure!
Show Show has had success with combining stand up comedy with visual animation even before it ventured into musical performance and storytelling from designers. What would you say has been the most challenging part about integrating something as cutting-edge as virtual and augmented reality into your already-out-of-this-world show?
Without a doubt it’s the fact that I’m producing a showfeaturing industries that aren’t in my wheelhouse. Previously, VR/AR/MR were incredibly outside of my wheelhouse. I’ve been so fortunate to have amazing collaborators who are absolute masters in their field, and the show wouldn’t be happening without them*. It’s definitely been educational in terms of learning VR/AR/MR capabilities and the production process of video games. I think the most exciting part was experiencing virtual reality for the first time. It was so fun and amazing– I can’t wait to show the audience the cool VR games that have been developed for the show.
*Shoutout to the game developers (Cristiano Ferreira, Ben Scheiner, Kelly Gawne, Mitch Rivet), game artists (Grayson Bear, Sophya Vidal, Ben Chapin, Kelly Fry, Seven Bloom), AR developers (Alicia Navarrette, Yori Kvitchko), and VR developer / crowd gaming programmer (Michael J. Hill). YOU ARE ALL AMAZING. 🙌
People might not have expected Show Show to tackle virtual reality gaming before you did it but you’re doing it anyways. We honestly love it. What could Show Show’s fans expect next from your “variety show on crack” as you described it in Design Week Portland earlier this year?
Ah! To be honest, I’m not sure. I do know it will be totally different from previous shows. That’s just how Show Show rolls– nothing becomes formulaic and we’re always experimenting with the different immersive mediums. There’s definitely some stuff on the drawing board, but you’ll just have to wait and see!
Also, our door is always open to new partnerships and collaborators, so holla!