Swashbuckling pirates, epic love and...a Wii?

Posted April 07, 2011

When pirates storm the stage this week in ACU's production of The Pirates of Penzance, they won't be shivering the audience's timbers the way they did when the opera premiered in the 19th century. ACU is utilizing cutting-edge technology to make this production something audiences will not forget.

ACU Theatre will use a performance track from Right On Cue Systems, which allows pre-recorded tracks to be conducted in live time using a Wii remote. It's a win-win: Actors have complete control over their own performances, and the audience gets the sound of a full, live orchestra in a space that does not normally allow for a full orchestra.

ROCS' track is a pre-recorded orchestra conducted with a Wii device, which controls everything from the tempo and volume of the orchestra to lighting and sound effect cues. In the past, pre-recorded tracks limited actors' freedom in their performance, but this new system allows for audience interaction, more flexible listening and reacting on stage, and supplementing with a few live instruments for a fuller sound.

ACU is the first university theatre in Texas to use this system in performance. On April 16, Dave Zabriskie, co-founder of ROCS, will attend ACU's production of The Pirates of Penzance and host a free talkback session afterward for anyone who is interested in the system.

See The Pirates of Penzance in ACU's Williams Performing Arts Center, April 7-9 and 14-16. Learn more about the production and buy tickets online here.