VIRTUAL REALITY

In the 1990s, Powell studied Virtual Reality Systems and Virtual Worlds at the Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU, and found the virtual universe to be another form of theatre. To date, she is Co-Director of the Virtual Reality Lab NY in partnership with the NYU Game Center.

Ghosts of Camp X
“Ghosts of Camp X” is a VR experience (Vive & Gear VR) set in an abandoned US detention center in Iraq. Ghosts of Iraqi detainees and American soldiers roam the grounds. While rubble pocks the pathways, the barriers and barracks’ walls are covered with actual murals painted by detainees and GIs. The piece was presented at Virtual Reality Lab’s Demo Day at Hearst Tower in 2016. (See trailer and webpage)
Shockwaves VR
“Shockwaves” is a cinematic VR story based on the experiences of military interrogators in Iraq during the height of the insurgency. The 25-minute narrative is an excerpt from Powell’s full-length play and explores how viewers might step into the claustrophobic environment of an interrogation cell. Unfolding in a nonlinear fashion, the piece shifts in time and point of view.
The Red Flute VR
“The Red Flute” is a VR narrative-game in the wuxia genre. Set in ancient China, the player must recover the lost Emperor’s Seal and rescue the Red Flute. Based on China’s Terra Cotta warriors, the characters were featured at the Virtual Reality Lab’s Demo Night at Samsung Studio, Soho in 2015.

TELEPRESENCE IN THEATRE

In 2013, Powell produced and directed in the TimeWave festival, an international theatre & technology event which gathered 40 actors, 18 writers, 17 directors and multimedia artists and streamed in new work from London, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Madrid and Montreal.

Supporters included Walt Disney Imagineering, Hathersage Capital Management, Arts Council England, Telestream and Vidyo.

In TimeWave, Powell took a 10-minute excerpt from an original TV pilot, developed with Muse Entertainment USA, and turned it into a theatre-tech piece. She directed 3 actors in NYC and 3 actors in London. NYC actors were streamed onto a London stage, interacting with British actors in real time.

She also wrote “Dead Drop,” a telepresence piece in which remote actors streamed into a performance via personal devices (tablets and smart phones).

“Sex, Flap & Jazz” (highlights), based on “Tales of the Jazz Age” by F Scott Fitzgerald, written and directed by J Dakota Powell. London cast: Francesca Bailey (“Edith Braden”), Katharine Drury (“Clara Knowles”) and James McNeill (“Gordon Sterritt”). New York City cast: Jordon Coffey (“Peter Himmel”), Brennan Pickman-Thoon (“Philip Dean”) and David Rysdahl (“Jimmy Bates”).

GRAPHIC NOVEL & 2D ILLUSTRATION

“Sire” is a graphic novel based on a trilogy of screenplays written by J Dakota Powell and Mitch Gettleman (UCLA Graduate Film) and inspired by vampire RPGs. Sire begins in the Old World – the Carpathians in Romania – where the vampires have forged a century-long truce with the locals (humans).

Looming over the Sire-world is the Mountain of Kings and the Mountain of Death, one green and the other black. While each vampire clan has carved its own niche on the Mountain of Kings, only the ancient Nosferatu clan dares to live in the cavernous gut of the Mountain of Death.

Not all is well on the green mountain. The forests are filled with brown bats — notorious for storing thousands of germs. Blessed with a bat-like super-immune system, the vampire species has enjoyed virtual immortality. But now an infectious disease strikes, spreading through the clans, turning the vampires into mad reptilians. The vampire clans must turn to humans for help to stave off a lethal epidemic.

Powell illustrated the graphic novel the old-fashioned way – pencil & paper. Then, she coloured the Sire drawings in Photoshop. Powell animated the first segment in Madefire.

THEATRE/FILM/TV

In theatre, Powell’s plays include: Bliss Moon, The Impostor, Savage Light, Overkill, Shockwaves, Blackwater, and Harry Black. Harry Black was produced in the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s New Work Series. Blackwater was selected for the National Playwrights Conference, O’Neill Theatre Center and Lincoln Center Reading Series. Powell has been produced by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Philadelphia Theater’s New Works Series, Circle Repertory Theatre Lab, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Alice’s Fourth Floor, and Duke University’s New Works Series; she has been commissioned by South Coast Repertory Theatre, Talking Wall Pictures, and PBS Great Performances. Winner of the Writers Guild of America, East screenwriting fellowship.

CREDITS

J Dakota Powell

J Dakota Powell

Powell is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of LoNyLa (London-New York-LA )/TimeWave, a transatlantic collective that explores the intersection of arts/entertainment and technology. Currently, she co-runs the Virtual Reality Lab in partnership with the NYU Game Center.

Programming has included TimeWave (timewavefestival.com), an international theatre/tech festival gathering 75 artists and streaming in new work from London, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Madrid and Montreal. Sponsors: Walt Disney Imagineering, Hathersage Capital Management, Arts Council England, Telestream and Vidyo. Velocity Lab linked multiple cities (i.e., London, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Singapore) to broadcast rehearsed readings of new plays, teleplays and screenplays. TimeWave 2014-2015 combined a transmedia lab, virtual reality (VR) hackathon and an immersive tech playground / festival. She produced NYC’s first VR Hackathon: Mythos & Moxie in 2015. Hosted by ITP/NYU, hackathon partners included NYVR, NYC Media Lab, Littlstar and Samsung Studio. Sponsors: EEVO, Fake Love, Freedom 360, Leap Motion, Littlstar, Oculus, Unity 3D and VISR. Tech Times: bit.ly/1DJwDUo

Previous to LoNyLa/TimeWave, Powell was the Producing Artistic Director of Brave New World on Broadway, the major theatrical artistic response to the first year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Responsibilities included: assembling a board of directors, funding (corporate sponsorship and private donations), managing infrastructure (administrative and technical teams), recruiting artists, and vetting and developing content. Fifty new plays and songs were presented over four performances at Town Hall, New York City. Over 150 award-winning artists participated, including: Alec Baldwin, Isabella Rossellini, Holly Hunter, Marisa Tomei, Ethan Hawke, Amy Irving, Sam Waterston, Liev Schreiber and Eli Wallach, to name a few.

Powell is a multi-disciplinary artist. Her skills include: Maya, Mudbox, Motionbuilder, Unity 3D, image/sound/video editing and coding.