Reason Not the Need is an interactive mobile AR adaptation of the thunderstorm scene from William Shakespeare’s King Lear. Through the use of volumetric video, motion-capture animation, and affordances like semantic object recognition and collider boxes, Reason transforms the user’s own bathroom into Shakespeare’s stormy heath. Inspired by the impact of the pandemic on live theatre and daily life, Reason explores themes of isolation, madness, and the ways in which immersive, connected technologies turn vulnerable private space into theatricalized space.

Fabula(b), designed and created Reason from June 2020 to May 2021, entirely remotely. The project was a collaboration with Jo Cattell, Directing Fellow at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago whose work integrates immersive technology and theatre. We created Reason for Cattell as a proof-of-concept to source funding for King, her full-length version of the production. The full version will envision a Lear whose own misuse of technology leads to his estrangement from society, his abandonment by family, and eventually, his madness. Fabula(b) focused on the thunderstorm scene as part of Dr. Hunter’s use digital technology to explore the dramaturgy of famous production problems in theatre.

Reason was generously supported by The George and Judy Marcus Fund for Excellence in the Liberal Arts, the CSU Entertainment Alliance, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Volumetric video capture of actor Aldo Billingslea playing the role of King Lear.
Hand-drawn inspiration sketch for the Fool from King Lear
Early prototype model of the Fool
Test animation of the Fool using Deepmotion video to 3D.