The Proust Virus
Songs from Act I
--sung by Barrie McLain
Tina is unemployed, living with her Mom and spends most of her time playing video games--in particular, “Quest.” But today, “Quest” has frozen up, there’s nothing on TV, and....
--with Eva Kantor, Jasmine Knight, Olivia Killingsworth, Stacey Perlman, Cheo Bourne, Rob Langeder and Miles Phillips
The show begins. Tina starts the game and tries to show her friend Natalie how to play. The "virus" strikes.
The Game Is On!
A World Waiting
The Proust Virus is a show about video game characters who come to life inside a young woman's computer. It explores the idea of “what is life?” in the age of advancing computer intelligence, referencing Marcel Proust’s ideas of consciousness and identity. While the show does take up video game tropes alongside some big philosophical ideas, knowledge of Proust or video games is not necessary to understand and enjoy the show.
Tina, the daughter of a French literary professor, is playing her favorite combat video game when the game begins acting strangely. Tina’s friend hits a wrong key, causing a file containing Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” to be uploaded into the game. The girls leave in frustration, but Tina soon discovers that the video game characters have come to life, and one of them has fallen in love--with her!
We meet Blue and Sultana from “Quest.” With a few other newly alive characters, they set about building a world based on their memories of Proust. However, Agent Smith from the NSA has gotten word of the Proust Virus--and is making plans to destroy it.
Act II takes place inside the computer. Under Blue’s guidance, the characters have come up with a Proustian “gameworld”--but life is not that simple. Blue becomes pathologically jealous of Tina, a Russian janitor claims to be God and a ravenous paradactylkeet roams the land. As the game characters question the meaning of life and love in their new world, Agent Smith attacks in a video game climax.
The Proust Virus will eventually be performed in front of a video that would represent the game worlds and real world settings that characters are in. The music is scored for 10 actors plus a 6-piece band of violin, trumpet, sax, piano, bass and drums.