Audience members are also known as "chatters", because they can interact with the performance by typing into the text input field at the bottom right of the screen. This text appears in the text chat window, amongst the players’ text.
Audience text is grey, silent and anonymous, while players' text is slightly darker and larger than audience text, spoken and identified with the avatar’s name. Audience can identify themselves by adding their name at the start of their comments (in the future we hope it will be possible for audience members to have a name if they want).
The screengrab above, from West Side's Story (101010 UpStage Festival) shows audience and player text in the chat.
The audience chat has a life of its own. Often at the beginning of a performance, audience members will ask where other people are physically located and have conversations between each other. During the performance, the audience can respond to and commentate on the action of the performance, embellish the narrative or provide a counterpoint. Obviously every audience is different, making every performance significantly different - sometimes an audience may be very quiet but at other times very chatty.
Re-presenting the chat
Audience text can also be incorporated into the performance, for example repeated or responded to by the players. Another effective re-presentation of audience chat into the performance is the projection of chat text and its subsequent capturing and re-presentation as a web cam image, as shown in the screengrab below from Belonging by Avatar Body Collision (2007).