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Metaverse to be brought to stage through ‘Ultraworld’

National Theater of Korea invites overseas production for first time in five years

Scene from “Ultraworld” (NToK)
Scene from “Ultraworld” (NToK)
With many betting on the “metaverse” becoming a huge part of our lives, the National Theater of Korea has invited a German project team to stage “Ultraworld” this month, a production that delves into the ambiguities of the real and virtual worlds.

“Ultraworld,” directed by Susanne Kennedy, had its premiere in January 2020 at the Volksbuhne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz theater in Berlin, Germany. According to NToK, the Volksbuhne theater has been presenting some of the most exciting works in the German theater scene.

Director Susanne Kennedy (NToK)
Director Susanne Kennedy (NToK)
Scheduled for Nov. 25 to 27, it will be the first time in five years for the National Theater of Korea to invite a production from overseas since “Rhinoceros” by the Theatre de la Ville de Paris in 2016. The German troupe consists of eight actors.

“Ultraworld” is a 90-minute show produced by Susanne Kennedy, one of the most prominent theater figures in Europe. Kennedy joined hands with multimedia artist Markus Selg to create the visually unique show which takes the audience inside a computer game.

The play is set in a virtual computer game world. It tells the story of an avatar named Frank. Tired of its humdrum routine in the game, Frank tries to break free from his fate as a computer game character.

The audience will be able to relate to Frank, who has no control in the game, just as humans have to accept there are things not within their grasp, the theater said. The play compares avatars in virtual reality with real humans and questions the existence of human beings, asking where we come from and who we are.

Prior to the performance, the theater will have an audience lecture, titled “Stage Login,” on Nov. 16 on mobile carrier SK Telecom’s metaverse platform Ifland, to help the audience understand what the metaverse is. Media artist Lee Jin-soon will talk about the latest technologies that connect virtual reality with the real world.

A talk will be held after the performance on Nov. 25 for the audiences to discuss the play with the director.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

Scene from “Ultraworld” (NToK)
Poster for “Ultraworld” (NToK)
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