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Reality specs opens French theatre to English
The French ministers of culture and economy, Fleur Pellerin (L) and Emmanuel Macron (R) try out the glasses. Photo: Fabrice Sabre

Reality specs opens French theatre to English

Oliver Gee · 4 Dec 2015, 12:49

Published: 04 Dec 2015 12:49 GMT+01:00

The future is right in front of your eyes - at least if you head to the Paris theatre Le Comedia this month. 
 
The team at Theatre in Paris has announced that it is rolling out special glasses for non-French speakers that send perfectly synchronized translations into the air by the stage. 
 
It sounds complicated, says Carl de Poncins, the co-founder company Theatre in Paris - but it's not really. 
 
"It's very similar to Google glasses, except the screen is larger and the words are positioned closer to where you're looking," he told The Local.
 
"It's a lot less effort from a user standpoint - you see the words on a virtual and transparent screen."
 
The futuristic concept - which was developed by the team at Theatre in Paris and IT company ATOS - will be trialed between December 5th and January 3rd for the show "Mistinguett, Queen of the Cabaret".
 

See Mistinguett, Queen of the Cabaret - with English text. Photo: AFP
 
If translated French theatre sounds familiar to you, perhaps you've already heard of the previous work by Theatre in Paris - which earlier this year introduced surtitles (yes, surtitles - they're on top of the stage, not below) at several shows. 
 
De Poncin told The Local at the time that he had noticed that tourists were bored during the evenings in Paris.
 
"They've already walked around all day, checked out the Louvre, visited Versailles, climbed the Eiffel Tower... and then what do they do at night? Cabaret? Frankly, that's a pity."
 
He said on Friday that he is working at rolling out the concept, adding that theatre directors are "just getting started" when it comes to the possibilities of combining shows with augmented reality.
 
"We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to breaking down the language barriers in theatre," he said. 
Story continues below…
 
 

 
A closer look at the new glasses. Photo: Optinvent

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