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Towards a narrative theory of Virtual Reality - page 6 / 26





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Real time also brings certain constraints on the dramatic intensity of any narrative. To

be of interest to an audience, a narrative displayed in real time must be either

multiple, interactive or exceptionally rich in dramatic features. Real time is in fact

incompatible with certain narrative forms such as Literature or Cinema. From an

authorial point of view, it would imply the author writing, telling and displaying the

story at the same time as the reader is reading or viewing it. From a reader or

spectator’s perspective, it would mean that narrative time was exactly that needed to

read the book or the feature length of the movie. While real time in literature is

actually impossible (the author would have to know how long it would take every

reader to finish the book for instance), it is theoretically possible to direct a movie that

could achieve, at screening, a simulation of real time for the spectator. However, this

would only be valid from the spectator’s perspective given that the action certainly

does not actually happen at the moment it is displayed.

Theatre in its different forms, classic and modern, can display a narrative in real time

and keep the audience interested, through the use of dramatically very rich narratives

(classic) or by allowing narrative space for interaction between actors and what can be

considered as “spectators/actors” [5]. However, it is important to note that, from an

authorial point of view, classic theatre still does not present an exact representation of

real time since the lines pronounced by the actors have been written beforehand. If the

narrative time of a play obeys real-time constraints, this is not true of the narrative

communicated, unless it is improvised.

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