The famous “Copa” scene in the movie Goodfellas became legendary in film circles because it was a single continuous take that lasted almost three minutes.
The multidisciplinary Vancouver company Boca del Lupo, however, will beat that milestone by almost 13 minutes when it presents its latest LivePerformance360 event.
Even Alfred Hitchcock’s lauded backward-tracking “one take” scene from Frenzy was only about a minute.
So, what’s the connection?
The Frenzy and Goodfellas sequences were mainly serving their auteurs’ artistic visions, but the latter film’s brief journey through the bowels of a famed nightclub also celebrated the technical innovations brought by the introduction of the Steadicam to the movie industry in 1975.
The two immersive virtual-reality experiences being offered by LivePerformance360 (LP360) in the latest of its spring series are also a result of a relatively recent tech wrinkle, the 360-degree digital camera.
Because the camera can film in all directions simultaneously, some applications will only require it to be stationary.
That was the case with Boca del Lupo’s LP360 production of “Pochsy at the Airport Hotel”, which utilizes the ultimate wide-angle lens to record a short (16 minute) VR experience that will alternate showings with “The Magic Hour 360”, an Electric Club and The Only Animal remounting of a 2021 production.
“The Magic Hour” was originally presented as a 40-minute, pandemic-friendly walk-through theatrical experience conceived by director Kim Collier. It is now a more constrained and immersive VR adventure that it describes as a “multi-layer mixed-media feast for the senses”.
Its LP360 companion, “Pochsy at the Airport Hotel”, sprang from the brain of Calgary-based writer, actor, and director Karen Hines.
Hines runs Keep Frozen: Pochsy Productions, which produces and manages the plays and films that come from her prolific imagination, including a trilogy of plays starring her character Pochsy (pronounced “POX-see”) that have been published in paperback as The Pochsy Plays (2004).
“It was quite a production,” Hines told the Straight by phone from Calgary about “Pochsy at the Airport Hotel”. “We shot it in a hotel room because at the time there were no rehearsal spaces available.
“My director was actually in the bathroom of the room I was in. There was no crew going around. There wasn’t any room—we were in an actual hotel room.”
Hines said the production, presented in VR at Granville Island’s perhaps appropriately named Fishbowl from March 30 to April 3, isn’t really “live”, as the series title suggests.
“They’re being a bit provocative there,” Hines said with a laugh. “They’re calling it a ‘live’ performance, and we performed it without a cut…but it’s not live; I’m not there. It feels like a live performance, but it was filmed in June .”
As for that single take?
“You rarely see a 16-minute shot on film or TV….It’s surreal,” she said before trying to explain what “Pochsy” viewers’ experiences will be like.
Potential viewers unfamiliar with Hines’s Pochsy character can reference the Amazon blurb for The Pochsy Plays: “Beckett meets Betty Boop in this trilogy of monologues by Canadian cult heroine Pochsy, a really vapid, utterly charming vixen.
“Walk a mile in her distressed calfskin boots,” it continues, “as the dark and ditzy Pochsy garbles ad slogans, self-help mantras, and desperate grabs at meaning into a postmodern pastiche that is hilarious and harrowing, sweet and bitter at the same time.”
Hines says her audiences—who will be allowed in six at a time, with VR headsets—won’t really be watching a movie or a play. “It’s like a cross between a one-act play and a short film…It’s a very powerful medium.
“It’s like you’re in the room,” she explains. “It feels more like a [live] performance in that there is no escape from this room.”
She watched it herself, she says, and “it was like I was sitting in a room with myself”.
Hines says she had a couple of friends watch in her presence and one was so clearly discomfited by what he was seeing that he “was just crawling around on his chair while watching it”.
Hines won’t reveal much of what to expect from Pochsy in this latest incarnation other than to say that the trademark-monologue material will be “50-50, old and new”.
“I decided to use some material that was tried-and-true….There is also some stuff in there that was written specifically for that location, the hotel.”
Boca del Lupo commissioned the piece in 2021, Hines said: “It came out of that early wave of digital programming that swept the country [in the early pandemic].
“Boca has used this time to investigate what theatre really is,” Hines added.