In June, when it was confirmed that our theater department would not be able to have regular in-person shows, we were all faced with the question: how do you make theater online? The faculty held a meeting where students could voice their potential answers to that question. My name is Lily Lundine, and I presented the idea of an Alternate Reality Game (ARG). An ARG (in our case, as there are many different types) is basically an internet scavenger hunt with a plot.
At the time of the presentations, mine was a roughed out idea without character names, so I had to use placeholders. The first media artifact that leads players toward your game is called a rabbit-hole, a nod to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, so I decided to go with ‘Alice’ for our protagonists name. The idea was picked up, and fast forward to our first team meeting, her name was such a hit that we decided to make the whole game follow suit. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was perfect inspiration because of how fun, theatrical, and complex it is.
We were nearly at our first beta test when we met with a game engineer who knew about the award and encouraged us to apply. We were all very excited and the idea potentially adding our little project to such an esteemed collection of works.
Covid-19 has thrust artists everywhere into the online world, where we’ve been tasked with marrying old texts with new media. I know that especially in theater, we’re often late to pick up new technologies, so this transition has been a time of great growing pains and inspiration. Theater is all about connecting people through art, something much more challenging online. But our team believes this project has done just that, and is representative of the struggle to do so during this time in art history.