All posts for the month September, 2016

I added some simple interactivity to the columns in my level to change the color and intensity of the point lights above the columns.  The idea is a sort of bocce ball court at night.  Here is the what that might look like.



The goal is to make the spheres in the level movable with motion tracking and the feedback would be the lights.  The lights are a stand in for something really cool later like the instantiation of a particle system or something like that.



hedwigThe characters

Hansel Schmidt aka Hedwig Robinson – A “victim” of a botched sex change operation, born in East Germany of a German Mother and an American GI who didn’t stick around, married to American GI Luther then divorced, frontmanwoman of the Angry Inch rock band

Hedwig Schmidt – Hansel’s single mother, East German, Cold and Stern

Sugar Daddy Luther Robinson – American GI, marries Hansel after he convinces him to have a sex change operation and his name to his mother’s name, divorces Hedwig and finds Jesus

Yitzhak – Currently married to Hedwig,  Croatian illegal alien, roadie for the Angry Inch

Tommy Gnosis aka Tommy Speck – Former flame and protege of Hedwig, DnD fan and Jesus Freak, son of an American General Speck and military base commander, performance artist


The world

Hedwig, Yitzhak, The Angry Inch

Set in Belasco Theater on East of Broadway the set of Hurt locker the musical the previous night’s show.  Play bills on the floor, Middle East Ruins as a backdrop, bomb crater with an exploded car in it, pieces of debris floating (hung) in the air

Time progresses normally with some flashbacks to Hedwig’s past as told by Hedwig

Dark humor, playful anger, longing for a missing piece of himself

The social

The play takes place as a play would, in a theater, though the play is more like a confessional for Hedwig to the audience.  Hedwig is angry, bitter, and beneath it all sad that the one’s she loved or thought “complete” her ultimately leave her.

What changes?

The angry itch eventually take on Yitzhak as a front man and move on without Hedwig, like Tommy, and Luther before them.  Hedwig remains unchanged for the most part from the beginning to the end of the play although  his story shows how he changed, from a man to a woman, from Germany to the US, and several relationships. He does play the part of Tommy Gnosis at the ending song.


Three Sentences

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a gender fluid person who wants love.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a person who’s need for connection leads her to drastic and irreversible decisions with her body and her love.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a German born gender fluid performer.  Born in a city divided (East Berlin) her need for a connection, another half to make her whole, led Hedwig to make drastic and irreversible decisions with her body in an effort to make that connection.  Hedwig gave it all but one angry inch, for love.



Two scientists fall in love.

Two scientists, a biologist and a computer scientist, try to solve problems in their fields and fall in love in the process.

Elliot, a geeky computer science grad student and Molly, an equally geeky biology grad begin working together to solve problems in their respective fields. What begins as what they both claim is a professional relationship, though they know they are fooling themselves, becomes success both professional and personal.  Traversing the territory of STEM fields and love is a risky experiment.


  • Interior buildings
  • Computer lab
  • Elliot’s Apt. White board/computer
  • Molly’s Apt. Clothes on the floor/laptop
  • Outside the Science Bldg.
  • Bio-Lab
  • Computer Lab
  • Computer Lab

What changes in time?

  • The play moves over the course of a semester. Likely a fall or Winter since he doesn’t want to make her leave for the cold outside.
  • The scenes move in real time.
  • Through a season of a year for a graduate student.
  • The Play freezes up like a computer that needs a reboot

Changes in language or dress?

  • semi professional
  • bedroom i.e. whatever they threw on after sex/pj’s
  • disheveled semi professional


  • Computer fans whirring
  • email send and receive
  • clicking on keys

What changes in the action?

  • The action doesn’t really change, in fact the characters act pretty static through out the play.
  • Although it could be argued that during the sex scene or even after the action accelerates, but otherwise the action is pretty static.
  • What changes are the people.

The people?

  • The people are in pairs
  • Most of their interactions are the same in the pairs i.e. they are generally doing the same thing with each other. Breaking up Lauren and Elliot/Molly and Don, Getting together Molly/Elliot, Molly/Franklin, Nell/Elliot. Breaking up/Getting together Molly/Elliot
  • Analytical discussion of each individual’s perspective usually wrapped in the metaphor for whatever super science-y stuff they are working on, short punctuated speaking with interruptions talking-over and uhs, and umms meant to resemble the way people really talk about relationship stuff. Long diatribes about the characters field of study/research with an underlying metaphor of mate selection.
  • Meant to model most peoples thoughts about the awkwardness and mortality associated with love.

The rules?

  • The rules of the world get broken when the play has a computer type failure.
  • Blue is a theme for the play (represents love?)
  • You should answer your phone/not answer your phone, depending on whether or not you want to be in a relationship with the person calling.
  • Professional impropriety is a given.
  • Old people just don’t understand. (Don)
  • She knows what you mean, even when what you mean is what you mean and even when it isn’t (Girls are smarter than boys emotionally)
  • Suggesting someone is pregnant as a  joke is never funny.



I went back home just before the summer and when I got there I was doing a lot of driving.  I have a couple of RF adapters in my car to plug in my phone and ipod, and I got to thinking.  I have been working with micro controllers this year, and I bet there is a way for me to clean up all of the wires in my truck by using an arduino and bluetooth.  So when I returned to NY, I started looking online for a tutorial that might make it possible to make a bluetooth audio receiver that I could plug into the aux jack in my truck.  It turns out that the way that data is transferred with bluetooth and the memory constraints of arduino, it was not possible.  Undeterred I kept looking for a way to make this happen. Ultimately I came across a surface mount chip called an RN-52, which is a bluetooth digital audio receiver chip.  Sparkfun sells the chip as surface mount and also with a breakout board, and has a tutorial for exactly what I need.

Sparkfun’s tutorial utilizes all of the features of the chip, data in/out, and sound.  I am only interested in utilizing the sound for my device, I can make changes such as volume up and down, track back and forth, etc on my phone which rides in its holder in my car.  I am only interested in getting the audio to stream to a 3.5mm jack so I can plug it into my car stereo receiver.


The parts list for this device is the rn-52 breakout board, and a basic 3.3v breakout board to manage the power.

Here is the schematic and the proposed changes to suit my needs. I will use a arduino pro mini for the serial UART as a substitution for the sparkfun UART.


Here is the way to calibrate the motion capture system at magnet.

  1. Step 1 clean the space. There should be no ir reflective surfaces in the room.
  2. Step 2 open motive on the desktop of the computer.
  3. Step 3 click calibration icon on the top right first of the four buttons
  4. Step 4 Mask all light sources in the room expand masks as needed and save
  5. Step 5 get the wand to “bless the space”
  6. Step 6 get every camera over 10k samples
  7. Step 7 Hide the wand back in its home
  8. Step 8 Click Calculate this will take a minute or so.
  9. Step 9 When you see the prompt exceptional or good hit apply Save project.
  10. Step 10 Set the ground plane. Get the ground square and place the z in the direction of downstage. Click Set Ground Plane
  11. Step 11 Create Rigid bodies, go to the cabinet of wonders and pull the rigid bodies (as many as you need and distribute them throughout the space.  Left click and drag over every rigid body and right click when selected and select rigid body  one by one renaming each prop 1 prop 2 etc..  Save project.


The first assignment was to read two selections, one was EF’s visit to a small planet and the other Empty space by Peter Brook.

The first article I read was Elanor Fuchs article  on how to approach building the world of a play.  It seems to me to be a granular way of approaching standard world building.   When she was discussing visualizing holding the world as a tiny ball. I asked myself is this what Philip K Dick, Joss Whedon, or even Gene Roddenberry did to create the worlds of The man in the High Castle or Firefly or Star Trek.

When you “see” this other world, when you experience its space-­‐time dynamics, its architectonics, then you can figure out the role of language in it.
If too tight a focus on language makes it hard to read plays, too tight a focus on character creates the opposite problem: it makes the reading too

Seeing the fleshed out worlds of a United States if Germany had won the war or if humans were colonizing space and living as if it was the wild west and how these dynamics effect the characters and the decisions they make are thoroughly enjoyable, though I have never enjoyed the creative process of screenwriting myself. It has always seemed really laborious but I do really love it when someone who is good at it does.  For instance, Kenneth Branaugh’s As you like it,  imagining of Shakespeare’s play but set in Feudal Japan and played mostly outdoors.


It is interesting what rules this presentation had imposed on this performance of the play and how it breathed new life into not just that play but Shakespeare itself for me.

Which brings me to Peter Brook’s Empty Space. Brook divides the current state of theater into four categories: Deadly, Rough, Holy, and Immediate.  We were to read about the deadly and the immediate theater.

Peter Brook refers to the Deadly theater as I understand it as a theater that will kill theater itself.  It lacks the passion and fervor that theater has to potential to bring.  Its derivative and out for the cheap entertainment.

Deadly Theatre with dull successes, universally praised. Audiences crave for something in the theater that they can term ‘better’ than life and for this reason are open to confuse culture, or the trappings of culture, with something they do not know, but sense obscurely could exist—so, tragically, in elevating something bad into a success they are only cheating themselves.

An interesting part of Brook’s discussion of Shakespeare is how he talked about the actor’s performance of the language being something remembered.  I had just recently seen this video that discussed how the Globe Theater is doing performances of Shakespeare in the OP or original pronunciation.  When Brook describes the less modern versions of Shakespeare he says that it “lends itself to dullness” and that actors seem to recycle the performances they have seen which were performances which they in turn had also seen which takes the life out of the plays.  But it appears this use of the original pronunciation of the language makes the plays have more meaning to modern audiences and breathes new life into the plays.

Brook continued with his pessimistic view…

There are occasional new movements, good new writers and so on, but as a whole, the theatre not only fails to elevate or instruct, it hardly even entertains. The theatre has often been called a whore, meaning its art is impure, but today this is true in another sense—whores take the money and then go short on the pleasure

This made me think of what happened in television with the onset of shows like the Bachelor, or Keeping up with the Kardashians and shows of this type.  They appeal to the very least of what is the dramatic vehicle.

“...when audiences applaud indifferent classics because they enjoy just the costumes or just the way the sets change, or just the prettiness of the leading actress, they is nothing wrong. But none the less, have they noticed what is underneath the toy they are dragging on a string? It’s a wheel.

I found it interesting when Brook talks about the interactivity of the audience and the players on the stage.  The exercise of putting a member of the audience on stage to read aloud the powerful descriptions of Auschwitz and the layers of silence that can be found in a moving performance when the audience is engaged in it.

The immediate theater Brook describes hearkens back to the first chapter and the speed at which plays must come together.  A breakneck speed with tons of moving parts, which in the context of the designer and the director poses problems toward allowing the play to speak to the director or letting a staging or placement come out organically. Which may “trap” the play so it could never “evolve”

It is interesting that Brook speaks as if the play is a living being here. He talks about try though you might to come prepared to the first rehearsal the best laid plans will instantly blow up in lieu of the performance itself. This approach needs flexibility from the designer.  A designer’s work is “open” not “shut” which again brings in the fourth dimension of time. As a result the production evolves over the fourth dimension, and becomes more immediate.

It is interesting that Brook uses the analogy of Japanese costume to illustrate what a designer brings to an actors performance, in Branagh’s As you like it, most of the cast were dressed in fairly good approximations of feudal Japanese costume.  This gave the production and the performances a certain delivery that drew me into the work and made it a fresh look for me.  This production design, much like Branagh’s Hamlet


plays on changing the context of the plays through the production design itself.  It is something that I think Brook would consider as immediate theater rather than deadly theater, since its freshness has resonated with me on a deeper level.