The Shadow

after H.C. Andersen
Concept, staging & programming : Georges Gagneré
Creation in Theatre na Zhukah - Kharkiv (Ukraine) - 21/09/2019 and touring in Kiev, Dniepr (Ukraine) et Villiers-Le-Bel (France)

About the project

At the beginning of The Shadow, the spectators face five shadow avatars waiting in a virtual shadow theater. Then a real actor enters the scene and comes to tell us the story, imagined by the famous storyteller H. C. Andersen, of a scientist who lost his shadow. Captivated by the story, the avatars escape from the screen and approach the story-teller. As carried by his voice, they replay the misadventures of the scientist. We witness the return of the old abandoned shadow, itself devoid of shadow, which comes to claim its freedom and gradually force the Scientist to become its own shadow. Strengthened by this human shadow, the Shadow meets a Princess whom he ends up marrying for the greatest misfortune of the scientist.
At a time of progress in artificial intelligence, the actor plays his audiovisual instrument and deploys a virtual shadow theater to ward off our ancestral fear of creatures that humans carelessly build and who eventually escape them.

Video - excerpts (3:41)

or youtube access


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Text : Hans Christian Andersen - translation David Soldi
Performer: Eric Jakobiak (France)/Pavlo Chirva (Ukraine)
Concept, staging & programming : Georges Gagneré
Music : Tom Mays
Assistant programmer : Anastasiia Ternova
Motion Capture : Remy Gorski
Credits :


Production :
Coproduction : Théâtre Na Zhuka (Kharkhiv-Ukraine) - Mairie de Villiers-Le-Bel

More information

Here is an introduction to the paper How a Hyper-actor directs Avatars in Virtual Shadow Theater, presented during the virtual Motion Computing International Conference 2020. The paper gives some explanations about the way the performance was conceived and programmed from a movement quality perspective.