HFCC Presents Virtual Reality Theater

Kirkland, Matt/Dearborn Times Herald/25 September 2006: C15

     George Popovich will be directing Henry Ford Community College’s Virtual Reality 3D stereoscopic production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” Wednesday – Saturday, April 2-26 at 8 p.m. in the Adray Auditorium, located on the HFCC campus. Popovich has been the director of theater arts since 1985. When he first took over the department 18 years ago, only two theater classes were offered. Now more than 30 classes are offered. The college now also offers an associate of arts degree in theater. Popovich has poured more than a decade of his life into bringing virtual reality to the stage, something he calls a “combination of a live theatrical play and a live TV show.”

     “We chose ‘The Tempest’ because of its magic. The movie, ‘The Forbidden Planet,’ is basically ‘The Tempest,’ Popovich explains. “The Shakespearean words are taken out, but there is a homage there,” says Popovich. HFCC’s production of “The Tempest” takes place in the future, using 3D stereoscopic images. The audience will wear 3D glasses to interpret them. The students involved in this production, both cast and crew, are currently enrolled in Popovich’s “Virtual Reality Theatrical Production” class where they learn about VR Theater. According to Popovich, all images of this production are original and have been created by staff and students of the Virtual Theatricality Lab.

     He says that implementing VR technology on the stage isn’t an attempt to supplant live performances with computers. Quite the contrary, VR technology is used to heighten the live performances. Popovich has been involved in all aspects of theater; he has done performing, directing, writing, scenery design, lighting, costume design, sound, and special effects. Additionally, he has reviewed plays for many newspapers and magazines. With cutting-edge special effects of “The Tempest.” it’s no big secret that’s Popovich’s stock-in-trade.

     A holder of many degrees, Popovich received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English as well as standard secondary teaching and community college teaching credentials from California State University; a master’s degree in theater from The University of Texas; and a doctorate in theater from Ohio State University. He has taught at high school and college levels.

     For further information call 845-6478

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