The Fry Chronicles - A Gallanty Show


My response to the YourFry digital storytelling challenge takes the form of a Gallanty show nodding back to the day when everything was 2D. A Gallanty is 'a pantomime shadow play, especially one in miniature using figures cut from paper.'

'The Fry Chronicles' - shaped by Mr Fry's polymathic presence with their fusion of vaudeville, musical theatre, debauchery, indulgence, geekery and the celebration of old and new media - chime with my own inner performer and media archaeologist and exemplify the material for which the ShadowEngine was created.

In the ShadowEngine the shadow puppet is given a digital make-over using the real-time graphical 'omph' of a games engine and touch surfaces (iPads) as puppet and cinematic controllers. Multiple performers or interested audience members take control of the digital puppet show using iPads and rehearse or casually respond to the story-making and improvised flow. We've done tests with live music and foley.

I'm still working on the software, control system and technique and need to rehearse the very real-time act of performance - the environment seeks to support improvised real-time co-created play. It works via custom programming in Unity 3D, graphical processes preparing and jointing virtual puppets and the network communication of touches using Open Sound Control (OSC).

Additionally, the ShadowEngine Project is an ongoing investigation into visualising archival puppet designs, digitally restoring performances and creating digital storytelling with a sensitivity to old media forms, like silhouettes, magic lanterns and puppetry.

I sincerely hope the choice of three vignettes, the imagery, the cast of characters prepared to date, the graceful - sometimes disgraceful - puppet movement and the overall look and feel lend an impression of the promise of my digital animation system and the wonderful vitality of the chronicles of Stephen Fry.

In this teaser, the video capture has been sped up a touch. More lovely images and videos about the project are collecting on my web site:

Creatives Ian Grant
Theme Technology
Technology Experiential
Hashtag #frysgallanty
Location London, United Kingdom