Glashelder (‘Crystal Clear’) was an interactive theatre production based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, made during the first quarter of 2010 by the second-year students Design for Virtual Theatre and Games at the University of Arts Utrecht. I led the writing team, programmed the web application that was used by the players, and contributed to various online and offline puzzles.
The main characters have a meeting at McDonald’s. This picture was revealed to the players near the end of the game.
Prime minister Hamlet is dead. While the rest of the parliament squabble over the succession and the opposition screams for new elections, more and more questions arise around the prime minister’s death. Can this still be solved by just talking? And is there still anyone who doesn’t have blood on his hands?
‘De Update’ was issued daily and provided players with the latest news from the game world.
In the midst of this situation, participants took on the role of spin doctors; advisors to the ministers, responsible for the public reputation of their employer. During three weeks of ‘pregame’ they could play their role through a website and forums and influence the political barometer, which in turn influenced what happened in the story. Moreover, active participants could find extra information by solving puzzles in both the virtual and the real world.
Players traded sensitive documents through the control panel and the forums.
Secret meetings with private detectives, buried keys and coded messages: active players faced one challenge after another.
All of this was concluded by the finale on March 18, 2010, live in the theatre. This finale consisted of influence rounds, in which five teams of participants determined the popularity of their ministers, and story rounds, that directly showed the consequences of their actions. This resulted in a performance designed to be a surprise even to its creators: we didn’t know how it would end until just before we put the final scene on stage.
The teams of participants watch the story unfold, based on their own actions.
5-7-2015 - Big website update