Cover Me Explores The Relationship Between Actor And Stage, People And Reality

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You begin offstage. The hallway and stairwell leading up to place behind the drapes are quiet, but once you reach your destination, you can hear the faint sound of applause beyond beckoning your presence on stage. Before you go, you catch a glimpse of a poster, the image of a revolver advertising a play called Words Are Loaded – and so are images, as we’ll soon learn.

Before you know it, the space around you begins to fade, and you’re thrust into the world of Cover Me, a short, interactive experience by Charlotte Madelon.

Cover Me is an experimental project that explores the relationship between people and the world around them, as actors on a stage. After your faceless character enters the literal stage, the game assumes a first-person perspective and shifts suddenly from a world of realism to a world of abstraction. You float through a misty, grid-like realm until you arrive, finally, at a series of objects. A grandfather clock. An easel. A table. A piano.

These objects are translucent, empty three-dimensional shapes with their wire frames exposed. Until you click on them, holding down and granting them the privilege of color and tangibility, do they come to represent the objects their frames suggest.

It’s as if to propose that you, the player, the actor on a stage, hold the power to contextualize these objects. Until then, they are just props – mere suggestions of an object, waiting to be lent meaning. It’s the treachery of images. Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

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Cover Me is a brief experience, but interesting if you enjoy abstract expressionist and suprematist painting and visual explorations of what I can only refer to as the meaning of meaning. Also, if you’re a lit theory nut and want to see deconstructionism explored in a game, well… here it is.

“We have built our theatre and gave our own values to the walls, streets, lights and the people that live there,” says developer Charlotte Madelon. “We understand because we have built it. It stands strong, but sometimes, for no reason, it breaks and falls apart.”

Cover Me was developed as a student project for the Interactive Perfomance Design program at the Utrecht School of Arts.

To read more about the story behind Cover Me, check out its presskit or play it for free here.

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