REVIEW: Sutherland Dam Theatre of The Absurd

by Pixeleen Mistral on 27/03/10 at 10:54 pm

For those who missed last night’s performance, Crap Mariner has captured some of the zeitgeist of the Sutherland Dam theatrical troupe’s performances with a spoof of M Linden’s fixation on holding avatar based meetings in the Second Life game world.

But a superficial treatment of these performances does not do justice to the effort noted Second Life dramaturg Prokofy Neva has put into developing a consistent – if absurd – narrative to tie the weekly improvisations together.

On the surface, the plot seems simple enough – Friday evening salons with the the ever cordial virtual man Prokofy Neva holding court to dissect serious topics such as the land rentals business, the evils of open source software, the L$ spacebux economy, land rentals, in-world search, and land rentals. Did I mention that Linden policy changes that could affect land rentals are also discussed?

While this may sound less than exciting, the ever present possibility of Neva feeling slighted and spinning out of control in the intellectual equivalent of a nasty NASCAR pileup adds a certain frisson to the proceedings. A guilty pleasure to be sure, but the possibility of witnessing a live Prokofy meltdown draws a consistent audience more than willing to join in the show. This is immersive theater at its finest.

Pandering to the need for dramatic tension, Neva has constructed the stage to supercharge the drama. The Sutherland living room is directly next to a large section of Linden protected land where those who have been ejected from Prokofy’s land can fly just out of reach of Neva’s ban rights. Theatrical critics agree that this is an essential part of the performance aesthetic – why hold a meeting where you could control the audience and limit the chaos – the show must go on!

Chaos is a crucial part of Neva’s theatrical performances. Without a vile enemy to rail against, Neva’s over the top emoting and incoherent dialog would make even allies groan, so it is understandable that Neva welcomes conflict – and there are groups that are more than willing to play this role. For Friday’s performance, a contingent from the Soviet Woodbury improvisational troupe was acting as a greek chorus floating just outside the reach of Neva.

Shortly after I arrived, the Sutherland Theater’s ad-hoc special effects department began to crash everyone’s Second Life client. This led to the expected Neva soliloquy on the evils of griefing as terrorism – although the victims managed to log back into Second Life none the worse for wear.

Unfortunately, like many Hollywood productions an excessive reliance on special effects compromised the show, and I had seen enough after the third of fourth client crash. Still, both Neva and Soviet Woodbury stayed true to their respective narratives and we can assume that the performances will continue next Friday evening – unless Prokofy finally decides to hold real meetings instead of Sutherland Dam Theatre.

15 Responses to “REVIEW: Sutherland Dam Theatre of The Absurd”

  1. psychotic break

    Mar 28th, 2010

    Apparently some kind of damned thing happened at the dam on Friday last, and due to some kind of damned sim crashing that took place at the dam, the real prize from a dam session, the chat log, which can later be whipped around like a damned switchblade, was lost.

  2. Crap Mariner

    Mar 28th, 2010

    Yep, the video was removed.

    Despite that public meeting being held in a public place by a very public persona that posts chatlogs publicly, filmed under fair use and parody/satire as per US Law, apparently the Metanomics folks pointed people to it without a full background and explanation.

    One of those people bitched about being filmed without permission, despite the fact that you’d be hard pressed to identify any avatar there by looks alone except for Prokofy.

    So, to demonstrate who’s the mensch, I’m dumping that vid.

    But keep an eye on the YouTube feed, because this has inspired some more ideas for future videos.

    Stay tooned,

  3. deep cover

    Mar 28th, 2010

    It was a great video Crap. I got to watch it. The voice for that dumb looking M thing with the squirrelly eyes was spot on. And all those swirling poofy things that were swirling around everyone, how creepy. That was one of the creepiest gatherings I have ever seen in SL. Thanks for the brief window into what a Dam Gathering looks like. It saved me having to burn an agent to get video like that. But I have to deny that there is any covert operation at this time to infiltrate and expose the Secret Neva Wiki. Yes I said the Secret Neva WIki…

  4. All Seeing Eye

    Mar 28th, 2010

    You can always make a nice parody with
    Just remember to use a fake account name so they can’t trace back to you so easy.

  5. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Mar 28th, 2010

    Video removed. Sounds like someone has sand in their vagina.

    I can’t help but comment on this, though:

    “the ever cordial virtual man Prokofy Neva”

    Should we refer to you as the “‘virtual woman’ Pixeleen Mistral?” Personally I have never given a damn what gender someone’s avatar is, but if you’re going to troll prok, atleast try not to be a hypocrite.

  6. Kate

    Mar 28th, 2010

    @ Alyx:

  7. Pappy Enoch

    Mar 28th, 2010

    I are a gonna go to this-here shindig ol’ Proctology Never tosses.

    Am the fake drinks free? I reckon we should ALL go.

    I are a virtual man, as y’all knows: IRL I are a supermodel (of Hillbilly origin) livin’ in Monaco on Omar Sharif’s yacht. Omar calls me his Lil’ Sweet Pee-tater. Ain’t that the cutest thing?

  8. IntLibber Brautigan

    Mar 29th, 2010

    Frankly I’d rather watch a production of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead if I want to see absurdist theater. Neva’s productions are tenditious demiurges filled with pedantic 20 page soliloquys that make Ayn Rand seem pithy and Dostoevsky seem concise and fast paced.

    Oh yeah, she’s racist too.

  9. Kitten Jigsaw

    Mar 31st, 2010

    @ IntLibber
    >> tenditious demiurges

    Eep…revenge of the archontically tendentious gobbledygeek?

  10. IntLibber Brautigan

    Apr 5th, 2010


    Yeah, verily. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of teh nerd, I shall not wax pedantic, for my pith helmet is with me, thereby I remain pithy.

  11. [...] the grid stabilize in time for the traditional friday night improvisational theatre of the absurd performances? We hope so – and beg the data center staff to heed Oskar’s warning [...]

  12. Guest

    Aug 4th, 2010


  13. [...] Audion gifted his entire virtual net worth – an L$103,000 account balance – to the ever-popular Prokofy [...]

  14. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Sep 22nd, 2010

    Nice to see that Ian and the gang are still having fun.

  15. [...] the years, many have wondered if the rhetorical excesses of Second Life resident Prokofy Neva might be the result of an overly immersive approach to online roleplay. Sadly, this does not appear [...]

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