In honor of Shakespeare's 400th anniversary, the Royal Shakespeare Company is teaming up with Intel and the production company Imaginarium Studios to bring one of the Bard's most beloved plays to life for the company's commemorative 2016 season, all with the help of some core processors (and possibly a hologram or two).
In an announcement made on Jan. 11, Intel revealed its collaboration with the esteemed theater group, stating it would implement performance-capture technology, or tracking the movements of actors in specialized suits with the help of sensors, and then adding animated and/or CGI features to their performances (think Gollum from the Lord of the Rings movies).
"For the first time, performance-capture technology will be used to render an animated character live on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage. Standard Intel technology is used to manage massive data processing required for live digital content projection — from Intel Xeon to Intel Core i7 processors," the company stated.
Considered Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest centers around Prospero, a former duke who is usurped from his throne in Milan and cast away to a remote island with his daughter Miranda, where he becomes a powerful sorcerer and sets in motion a plan to restore he and his daughter to their rightful place at home.
There are no particular details on which "animated character" will be brought to life, and it's hard to even make an educated prediction: the play itself contains so many magical aspects and characters (like Ariel, a spirit who does Prospero's bidding, and the infamous Caliban, the inspiration for the term "noble savage") that one guess could be as equally good as another. No matter who it is, the RSC has promised a production seemingly on par with the Tupac hologram from Coachella 2012 -- with the legacy of the RSC and the integrity of the original play thrown in.
"Inspired by the spectacular masques of Shakespeare's day, we have set ourselves the challenge of creating the most technologically advanced production we have ever staged in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, working with Intel and The Imaginarium Studios," said RSC artistic director Gregory Doran, who is helming the production. "We will blend ancient theatre skills with innovative digital technology to conjure up Prospero's island, inhabited by fantastical characters, in Shakespeare's most magical late play, The Tempest."
"I cannot think of a clearer way of showing the 'infinite variety' of Shakespeare's work and the inspiration he has provided over the centuries. Shakespeare is for everyone and we want to share his legacy with the widest possible audience," added Doran. "His inheritance is for the many, not the few."
Get a look at the RSC's 2012 production of The Tempest in the video below.
Source: Intel PR