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will begin with a performance by Sandow the Magnificent,
who was the most famous strongman of his time, and
is widely regarded today as the first modern body-builder.
This clip shows a preliminary animation of the first
few seconds of Sandow's routine. You can find a wealth
of information about Sandow in the online Sandow
This video shows
the final 40 seconds of Frank Bush's one-man routine.
Frank Bush was a popular comedian who depicted
a wide range of ethnic characters. Such ethnic
humor was a mainstay of 19th century vaudeville.
In this clip, Bush is performing his "Stage
Jew," the role that made him famous. This
particular character is a "Glass Puteen" (i.e.
a window installer and repairman) who is being
pursued by an angry Irishman — who is also
performed by Frank Bush in the skit.
simulates a performance in New York's Union Square
Theatre in 1895. Since this theatre no longer exists,
we have reconstructed it from the few remaining
historical drawings and descriptions, and from
careful study of extant theatres from the period.
You will be able to move through the theatre at
will to view the performance from any position
in the house or on stage, and to examine the theatre
architecture and the spectators. This clip is a
walk-through during the final 40 seconds of Frank
Bush's act. It begins in the back of the second
balcony — the only section where African
Americans were allowed to sit — and moves
down to the first balcony, then into one of the
box seats, and finally into the orchestra level.
In addition to
recreating the vaudeville acts themselves, the
Virtual Vaudeville project is
simulating the responses of the 19th century spectators.
Our virtual Union Square Theatre has 800 spectators,
all of whom are animated during the entire performance.
(In fact, there are actually only approximately 120
spectators, each of whom is repeated several times.)
Spectators respond differently to the acts depending
on factors such as their age, gender, class, ethnicity
and proximity to the stage. This video contrasts
the reactions of six spectators to the conclusion
of Frank Bush's act. (To watch the act itself, see "Conclusion
of Frank Bush Act" above.)
We are creating all the animations
of the stage performances using motion and facial
capture. This movie illustrates the process, showing
first a photograph of the historical Frank Bush,
followed by a clip of Virtual Vaudeville performer
George Contini, performing Bush's act in a motion
capture suit. The computer analyzes the performer's
movements and reproduces them on a 3D model of Frank