The Benefactor - a Hyperdrama (2004)

In 1997 I wrote and produced Europe's first Hyperdrama, The Benefactor. For me, writing a Hyperdrama was about proving to the performing arts world that working with new technology wasn't just scientific, and therefore diametrically opposed to artistic creativity, but that it was a great way of pushing artistic boundaries. My emerging interest in the internet as a platform for artistic performance grew out of wanting to reflect my lifestyle and the technology in it with my art. My contemporaries and I were growing up with technology integrated in our lives, and I felt that new technology should be integrated into art, if art was still to reflect upon, respond to, and challenge community, society, personality and culture. So writing a play that worked when you read it on the internet as it did in live performance was the beginning of my work exploring this area. A hyperdrama is a ...

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In 1997 I wrote and produced Europe's first Hyperdrama, The Benefactor. For me, writing a Hyperdrama was about proving to the performing arts world that working with new technology wasn't just scientific, and therefore diametrically opposed to artistic creativity, but that it was a great way of pushing artistic boundaries. My emerging interest in the internet as a platform for artistic performance grew out of wanting to reflect my lifestyle and the technology in it with my art. My contemporaries and I were growing up with technology integrated in our lives, and I felt that new technology should be integrated into art, if art was still to reflect upon, respond to, and challenge community, society, personality and culture. So writing a play that worked when you read it on the internet as it did in live performance was the beginning of my work exploring this area. A hyperdrama is a play that is written in hypertext, that is performed as a promenade and that is realised on multiple levels. Scenes happen simultaneously throughout a performance space. In this hyperdrama, there are five different locations where the action takes place. The scripts for the different locations are divided into levels which represent the time span of the piece (about 45 minutes real time). All the characters and locations in this hyperdrama are of equal importance. As a reader, you could follow the path of one character through the play by clicking on their hypertext links; read all the separate scripts in a linear fashion; or explore the hyperdrama more randomly by swapping between rooms via the hotlinks.

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