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Case Study: Contact was an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure piece that was written for Zoom. The audience was allowed to choose 4 different characters whose story they wanted to hear. Each of these characters was struggling to fully utilize their time. Before each round, the audience was presented with a video that, as the show progressed, connected the lives of each of the characters. The piece concluded with a dramatic accident that left the audience with the question: If you had 365 days to live, would you live in the moment or try to change your destiny?

Zoom theatre can be hard to follow, so it was our role as designers to give the audience hints for what was about to happen. We wanted to place a growing seed of dread.  For the actors, the physical act of repeating these monologues four times over carries a strong sense of desperation. They were doing the same thing over and over, much like the characters that they were playing. We wanted to emphasize how time was passing through them by having their environment gradually change around them. The shape of their journey reminded me of the shape of a sunset. The light disappears slowly but surely—the sun will definitely go down, and seconds count when you’re in golden hour. Before the start of each round, we had the actors change the light in their room so that the main source of light changed from coming from the outside world to being from their computer. This gave the sense that the world was closing in on them, their time was up.

Photos of the progression in two of the rooms are on the right.

Director: Tommy Rivera-Vega

Written by: Miguel Rosa López

Set Designer: Shayna Patel

Costume Designer: Nathalie Silva

Sound Designer: Nate Estela

Props Designer: Kevin Rolfs

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