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Avatar animation and interactive astronauts fast-forward to the future at Harbourfront Centre – May 3 – #HatchTO

TORONTO ON (April 1, 2014) Toronto-based startup Digital BlackBox mounts its first live-animation performance as part of Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH. Faster than Night is an interactive sci-fi drama that uses Twitter to give the audience a role in the story. Cutting edge motion-capture technology, first created for Hollywood blockbusters like Avatar and Lord of the Rings, now makes actor-driven, real-time animation possible live on stage. Harbourfront Centre is thrilled to feature two performances of Faster than Night at the Studio Theatre on May 3.

Faster than Night follows the story of Caleb Smith, a social media billionaire on a mission. Racing against a terrible terminal illness, Caleb embarks on a faster-than-light voyage hoping to cheat time and death. In a novel twist on A.I.s like 2001’s HAL or Spike Jonze’s Her, Caleb shares his starship with an Interactive Socially-Mediated Empathy Engine, @ISMEEtheAI, who will interact with the audience via Twitter during the show and in the weeks leading up to opening performance.

Caleb Smith will be played by RADA-trained actor Pascal Langdale, known by many for his lead role in the PlayStation 3 interactive movie Heavy Rain, and more recently as Karl Marsten in the Space/Syfy series Bitten. ISMEE will be played by recent Dora nominee Melee Hutton.

“Videogames and movies use motion capture to dress actors in the ‘costume’ of another body – an alien, a monster, or simply a digital doppelganger,” says Faster than Night director Alison Humphrey, who holds a master’s degree in theatre directing and a second in digital media. "We've hijacked this tech to bring stage and screen together in a digital ‘double event’.”

“Theatre, being live, provides the opportunity for interaction and improvisation. Just like Cmdr. Chris Hadfield tweeting from space, the audience can affect me – and I can go off-script to respond,” adds Langdale. “Human connection is what social media and storytelling have in common. We're using science fiction form and futuristic tech to tell a deeply emotional human drama.”

Digital BlackBox, founded by Pascal Langdale and Executive Producer Jo Singh Brar (Intelligent Creatures, Smoke Films), aims to use Faster than Night as the foundation of a unique approach to interactive content creation and entertainment. Faster than Night is produced with the support of the City of Toronto through Toronto Arts Council and SIRT Centre and is co-produced by Motives in Movement.

Tickets for Faster than Night and other Hatch 2014 performances are available via Harbourfront Centre’s Box Office. Patrons can call 416-973-4000, visit 235 Queens Quay West and/or go online for all ticket inquiries.
For full company and performance information, including photos, videos and details surrounding this year’s HATCH Season, please visit Connect with the season on Facebook and Twitter using #HatchTO. For a weekly update on the progress and creative process of each 2014 HATCH project, visit

Celebrating its tenth year, HATCH is a key initiative in Harbourfront Centre’s mission to develop local artists and their unique practices. Curated by Michael Wheeler and Aislinn Rose, the 2014 HATCH residency and mentorship programme provides resources and professional assistance to a new generation of engaging and innovative contemporary artists.

Harbourfront Centre is a Canadian charity operating the 10 prime acres of Toronto's central waterfront as a free and open public site. We celebrate the multiplicities of cultures that comprise Canada and enliven the city through the creative imaginations of artists from across the country and around the globe. Harbourfront Centre attracts more than 17 million visits to its site each year to experience 4,000 diverse public events and activities. Harbourfront Centre receives operational support from the Government of Canada and the City of Toronto and program funding from all levels of government, the private sector and individual donors.


Chrissi Forte
Office: 416-973-4342 | Cell: 416-704-0774

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