Exit the King

Interactive scenography for the theater play – Exit The King – by E.Ionesco, realized in collaboration with the Boston University – Theatre One, Boston 04-07.05.2022

The School of Theatre production of Exit the King opens for a five-show run in Studio ONE. And the performance will mark the debut of Random Actor, a software tool for creating live, interactive stage projections that’s been in the making at BU for four years.

“It’s almost magical. It’s really wild,” says Declan Schliesmann (CFA’22), who stars as the King.

Written by Eugène Ionesco and translated by Donald Watson, Exit the King is the absurdist tale of King Berenger the First, whose empire has crumbled and whose life is coming to an end. As directed by Clay Hopper (CFA’05), a CFA senior lecturer in directing, this production will look different from anything you’ve ever seen.

Three motion detectors will capture data on Schliesmann’s movements on stage and feed that information to the Random Actor software, which in turn will give directions to another set of equipment that produces the projections. Random Actor will also use input from stage mics that capture the King’s voice. And the software will be operated by a graphic designer who can tweak the projections in real time.

Behind the theatrical project is a technical one, supported by the Shipley Center for Digital Learning & Innovation and driven by visiting artist Paolo Scoppola.

“The Random Actor project is our first collaboration with CFA, and a showpiece of the Shipley Center’s mission of enhancing the undergraduate experience at BU through the creative use of technology,” says Chris Dellarocas, associate provost for digital learning and innovation and Shipley Professor of Management at Questrom School of Business. “The project strengthens CFA’s ability to educate creative artists for a digital future.”

Random Actor began at a CFA meeting four years ago, where Hopper started talking about projections in theater with James Grady, BU Spark! creative director and a CFA assistant professor of art, graphic design. They agreed most projections were lacking, not integral to the production, “a TV with a play happening in front of it,” as Hopper says.

Instead, they wanted to create projections that were more about what was happening among the actors on stage, “so the environment could change to reflect the interior life of the characters,” Hopper says.


Director: Clay Hopper
Interactive Project Design: Paola Scoppola
Scenic Director: Alyssa Jewell
Costume Designer: Danielle Bazan
Lighting Designer: Max Wallace
Graphic Designers: Chen Lou & Arjun Kumar
Sound Designer: Will Tinsley
Technical Director: Lawren Gregory
Stage Manager: Sienna Siciliano
Production Manager: Eric Sprosty
Production photos: Jacob Chang-Rascle

Guard: Charlie Berger
King: Declan Schliesmann
Marguerite: Charlotte Peartree Moon
Juliette: Rachel Harris
Marie: Lola Kennedy
Doctor: Michael Ticknor


Boston University Press

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