If you have a special child in your life or one you are harboring inside your outward adult, you will not want to miss Henry Ford College’s virtual reality production of Dinosaurus!, which pairs human actors with 3-D dinosaurs.
The show, written by Edward Mast and Lenore Besinger, was masterfully adapted for the digital stage by George Popovich.
From the moment you put on your 3-D glasses, the fun begins. Furry prehistoric rats rush toward you, giant dinosaurs swing their heads in your direction, and strange creatures seem to wing their way forward and backward across the stage.
The plot is simple: two oil company scientists, played by Matt Van Houten of Southfield and Mike Cochran of Detroit, discover an underground world where dinosaurs have inexplicably survived. One wants to tell the world and gain fame and fortune, while the other feels the planned exploitation of his colleague will create a final deadly scenario for the stealthily survived species.
Audiences, seated onstage, watch the action from chairs set on risers. The physical set mirrors the colors and textures of the virtual set, which projects onto a 20-by-36 foot screen.
You will not be thinking about that when you are watching the show, though – you will be having too much fun watching the 3-D prehistoric creatures come to life, move, fly, lumber and even burp. The 45-minute show packs a lot of fun into the story.
Popovich said the work involved in building a show with digital technology is very time intensive, and requires team members who understand computer science behind motion capture and the software.
Kudos to Alan Contino of Dearborn, the chief engineer who helps make the magic, along with Christopher Dozier of Detroit, who created the digital scenic design and animation.