OK, so it’s not really a course in virtual theatre studies… but it’s pretty close: students at Kent State University are putting on a virtual play (in Second Life ®) as part of their final exam.
I know from my own experience in music and theatre that creativity often flourishes when your options are constrained. For example, one of my favourite exercises when I studied drama in high school was taking a short section of script, and acting it out in 2 or 3 different ways — we had to utilise techniques other than dialogue to convey differences of meaning. I should imagine that something similar is true of acting in Second Life — one must learn to focus on what is possible, and squeeze every drop of dramatic potential out of it.
In this case, there is great flexibility with costume, since you can make them look pretty much however you like. However, programming animations must be quite a laborious task, requiring careful thought and planning (you’d need to be very careful to keep everything in sequence!). The article doesn’t mention whether the dialogue is delivered by text or voice.
I love to see this kind of thing happening… it’s a genuine challenge for the students, and promotes great innovation. It also benefits the SL community as a whole.