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Towards a narrative theory of Virtual Reality - page 15 / 26





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exploit the characteristics of real time in the dynamic process we call “storyfication”.

An evaluation of such participative narrative media can then help in identifying key

elements towards a narrative theory of VR.

4.2 Participative narrative forms

Participative forms of narrative have already demonstrated their potential through

forms such as Live Role Playing Games (LRPG), Interactive and Improvisational

theatre (IT/IMPROV) and to some extent in live historical re-enactment. It is

immediately clear that in the case of IT, the constraints in place on the actors and the

audience present a number of similarities with VR. In IT, the actors are usually given

a certain amount of information interactively by the audience, and then act ”in

character”; applying this material creatively. Narrative emerges through the

interaction between the different actors, who may themselves be advised by a part of

the audience. A more structured version of this approach can be seen in Forum

Theatre [5]. This allows sections of the audience to halt the action in order to provide

new guidance to an actor, or indeed allows an actor to halt it if he or she cannot

continue in role without further information. Boal coined the term ‘spectACTOR’ for

the role played by audience members in this process to emphasise the difference from

passive reception.

The existence of such approaches conflicts directly with the suggestion that narrative

depends on the difference between authoring time and presenting time, making

emergent narrative a contradiction in terms. This conception suggests that narrative

can only exist if it can be defined as artefact, essentially the output of the authoring

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