Livestreaming a Conversation: Chekhov, Robots, and Holograms

Arlekin Players Theatre | (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab’s The Orchard /an auction/ is the latest production from Igor Golyak, Arlekin Players, and (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab. It is hybrid with two different productions: live in-person and live and interactive online simultaneously.

The Orchard /an auction/, a new adaptation of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, features Jessica Hecht and Mikhail Baryshnikov as well as a massive robot, quadruped robot dog, hologauze and projections, video effects, Bird-Dog PTZ cameras, a live online “auction,” and a streamed-in-real-time interactive online experience which can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Join Igor Golyak and his team of collaborators for a conversation about experimentation; unusual applications of emerging technologies; what they are learning about audience behavior and interactivity; and working with partners across cultures, platforms, and art forms to create live, in-person, hybrid, and virtual theatre. This conversation livestreams on the commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network on Saturday 12 November 2022 at 12:45 p.m. PST (San Francisco, UTC -8) / 2:45 p.m. CST (Austin, UTC -6) / 3:45 p.m. EST (Boston, UTC -5) / 20:45 GMT (London, UTC -0) / 21:45 CET (Berlin, UTC +1).


  • The conversation will be moderated by Nick Sexauer, steward of moonshots and agent of chaotic good at X: The Moonshot Factory, GoogleX.
  • Tom Abernathy, narrative designer
  • Eric Dunlap, camera, effects, and streaming designer
  • Eamon Drew, co-founder and CMO of BirdDog
  • Igor Golyak, artistic director, Arlekin Players and (zero-G) Lab
  • Adam Paikowsky,
  • Magda Romanska, Principal Researched, metaLAB (at) Harvard and futureStage Project

Panelist Bios

Nick Sexauer is a program manager in the early pipeline at X: The Moonshot Factory, the team behind self-driving cars, self-flying delivery vehicles, energy kites, and internet from balloons. He has made a career of harnessing chaos and creating order which he currently does on one of the early pipeline teams at X, stewarding new moonshots into existence. Prior to X, Nick spent twelve years working in the entertainment industry doing production management on feature films for Paramount Pictures before landing in visual effects management at Lucasfilm working on the Star Wars franchise. He holds a BS in film and television production and minors in physics and philosophy from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He has a deep passion for fostering play in the workplace, storytelling, and keeping creative innovative thinking a daily practice.

Tom Abernathy is an award-winning writer, interactive narrative designer/director, filmmaker, theatre director, musician, and recovering child actor. Arlekin audiences know him as the writer of the interactive script in the New York Times Critics’ Pick chekhovOS/ an experimental game. Highlights of his trailblazing, twenty-five-year career conceiving and defining interactive storytelling include Guild Wars 2 (ArenaNet/NCSoft), The Division (Massive/Ubisoft), League of Legends (Riot), Halo: Reach (Bungie/Microsoft), The Saboteur (Pandemic/EA), and Destroy All Humans! (Pandemic/THQ)—the first video game ever to be covered in the New York Times specifically for its writing and sociopolitical satire. Film writing credits include Bad Country (Sony Pictures) starring Matt Dillon and Willem Dafoe. A graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, Tom also sits on the advisory board of the Game Narrative Summit at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the interactive’s biggest annual industry gathering. Born and raised in Atlanta, he now lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter.

Eric Dunlap has created video designs for dance and theatre, interactive video installations for museums, and live mix video performances for concerts and special events. A former dancer, choreographer, and producer from New York, he currently lives in Berlin where he pursues his work as a video artist. A thirty-year veteran of the performing arts, he spent his formative years as a principle dancer with the Alwin Nikolais/Murray Louis Dance Company, and has danced with various modern dance and opera companies. He was co-founder and executive director of Forward Motion Theater from 1995–2012. Pursuing a mission to explore movement and technology, the company created works combining physical performance and digital media, produced VJs and audiovisual artists, and curated collaborations in multi-media performance. Since moving to Berlin in 2011, he works as a video designer and technician and continues to build works combining dance and video. Two of his new video art works have been acquired by the Leo Kuelbs Collection as a part of their “Digital Fairytales” series, and he was recently awarded a research grant to explore dance and interactivity as a part of Berlin’s Neustart Kultur Fund. Recent video designs include the world premiere of “Die Machine Steht Nicht Still” with Caroline Peters and “LEDWALD,” produced by the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna), and “Sich waffnend gegen eine See von Plagen” produced by the Schaubühne in Berlin.

Igor Golyak is the founder and producing artistic director of Arlekin Players Theatre and Zero Gravity (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab. A global leader in the virtual theatre movement, he directed WITNESS, chekhovOS /an experimental game/, and State vs. Natasha Banina during the pandemic, which became international virtual theatre sensations, receiving multiple New York Times Critic’s Picks. His work has received numerous Elliot Norton Awards for The Seagull, The Stone, and Dead Man’s Diary, including a Best Director Award, This Week In New York Pandemic Awards (WITNESS and chekhovOS), and Broadway World’s Best Director of a Streamed Production Award (chekhovOS). He directed a critically acclaimed The Merchant of Venice for Actors’ Shakespeare Project; productions at Northeastern University and Boston Conservatory at Berklee; and has taught at Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Harvard University, Lesley College, Wellesley College, New England Theater Conference, the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts/Middlesex University, Moscow Specialized Institute for the Arts, and the ARBOS Theatre Festival. Golyak is from Ukraine and leads Arlekin, a company of immigrants which has performed all over the world, including festivals in Ukraine, Yerevan, Armenia, New York City, Chicago, Lviv, Monaco, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as the Moscow Art Theatre.

Adam Paikowsky, is an engineer and artist having worked on various commercial and cultural projects over the past decade. Currently he leads the creative technology practice at the innovation agency dotdotdash. He typically works on projects that sit at the intersection of software development, hardware engineering, digital fabrication, and architectural and interaction design. He uses digital tools to create for and extend the physical world. With a background in fine arts and technology, he brings a unique perspective to the team. Leveraging a deep knowledge in the development and integration of A/V media systems and specializing in lighting, media playback, sensor control and kinetic movement he has worked for clients such as the Empire State Building, Massive Attack, Nicolas Jaar, the North Face, Prada, Microsoft, and Cartier.

Magda Romanska is a professor of theatre at Emerson College in Boston, MA, and principal at metaLAB at Harvard. She is also the chair of the Transmedia Arts seminar at Harvard University’s Mahindra Humanities Center, where she curates a series of lectures on transmedia arts. She serves on the advisory board of DigitalTheatre+ and is a member of Leonardo, the international society for the arts, sciences, and technology. At Harvard, she is also a research associate at the Center for European Studies and at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She is the founder, executive director, and editor-in-chief of, the largest global digital theatre portal. In this role, she leads a team of over 150 regional managing editors worldwide, covering theatre in over 90 countries and regions. The Theatre Times launched, an interactive digital map of theatre festivals, funded through the Yale Digital Humanities Lab and an LMDA Innovation Grant; and the International Online Theatre Festival (IOTF), a yearly streaming global theatre festival, which so far has reached over a million participants. In 2021, the IOTF won a second-place Culture Online International Award for Best Online Project, chosen among 452 projects from 20 countries.