The avatar named Phorkyad Acropolis appeared in Second Life in 2006. At the Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference, two of my colleagues who, like me, dealt with digital performance, mentioned this Second Life thing, and suggested it might be useful for theatre. I decided to check it out, and never left. (My colleagues, on the other hand, pursued other avenues.)
I chose the name carefully, wanting to reflect the theatrical nature of my involvement in theatre. “Phorkyad” comes from the Greek mythological creatures who shared a single eye and a single tooth; I decided that, since my avatar and I shared the screen, this was appropriate. It’s also a reference to a role Mephistopheles plays in Goethe’s Faust (Phorcyas in Part Two’s Walpurgis Night’s Dream). Acropolis was Greek, and near the top of the list of suggested avatar last names.
After arriving in SL, I quickly became fascinated with the virtual world. I danced at a club and played trivia; I put my winnings into a sploder (a virtual gambling device) and won more; and I discovered I that I was addicted—I used my newfound wealth in Lindens (the in-world currency) to buy hair.
Since you can do things in SL you can’t always do in RL (real life), like fly or teleport, I began attending poetry open mics, reading my original works. I connected with other poets, and decided to publish—in SL, with a virtual printing press—an anthology of our work, entitled The Absence of Shadows. Later I would publish virtual versions of e-books I created in RL. I also began experimenting with performing readings with music; see my Poetry page for examples.
Somewhere along the way, I turned my attention to staging plays. First was avatar Zayante Hegel’s The Perm, set in a hair salon. I would later direct a production of her Orphan Train poems. (We did this in SL and also in SL and RL at the Second Life Community Convention in San Francisco. I have video!)
I also decided that staging Greek tragedies would be ideal in SL. After getting an in-world grant, I paid a pair of builders to create a Greek Theatre. There we staged Euripides’ The Bacchae, with actors in several states and countries, with custom costumes, props, and Bacchic dances. A few years later, I directed Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. Alas, the Greek Theater was gone, so we used an environment designed specifically for it. I liked my Titan avatar so much (who doesn’t want to appear god-like?) that I adopted the avatar as my regular look, just with less crazy hair. (In SL, it’s always about the hair…)
Phorkyad and I have appeared in various articles and publications, and I’ll link them as I find them (again; some aspects of my life are currently in a self-storage unit). These include everything from articles about poetry in SL to a profile in a German magazine.
These days I am in SL less frequently, doing occasional invited poetry performances and my weekly DJ gig at Starport Omega. Tune in to listen to progressive rock Sunday nights at 10pm EST at http://184.108.40.206:8308. Or join us in the venue at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Felice/239/94/500.
You can watch Prometheus Bound on youtube. Apparently it’s “age-restricted” and only viewable there…