Cason Murphy presents on theories of theatre/game play at international conferences


Assistant Professor of Theatre Cason Murphy recently presented virtually at two international conferences, sharing research into theatrical/video gaming hybrid performances that came to fruition during the pandemic.

Murphy shared his findings – “No Longer ‘Merely Players’: Porting the Elements of Theatre into Video Gaming” – at both the Video Games as a Common Ground International Conference, hosted by the University of Zadar in Croatia, as well as the Live Performance and Video Gaming International Conference, co-hosted by Zurich University of the Arts’ Institute for the Performing Arts and Film, Université Paris 8, Université de Lorraine, and Université de Lausanne’s GameLab in late 2022.

At each of these conferences, Murphy was able develop and refine his theory of “game/plays,” or pieces of live theatre staged within video game worlds by professional theatremakers who had migrated to these platforms because of the shutdown of theaters during 2020 and 2021.

Using two game/play case studies – Celine Song’s “The Seagull on The Sims 4” (2020) and Samuel Crane’s “Hamlet in Grand Theft Auto” (2022) – Murphy’s work has defined the unique characteristics of this form to distinguish it from other hybrid forms on the theatre/gaming spectrum, and considers the impact that these game/plays have had on theatre today and may have on the praxis of theatre tomorrow. Murphy is an invited contributor to an edited collection entitled “Pandemic Play: Community in Performance, Gaming, and the Arts,” to be published by Palgrave Macmillan later this year. 

Murphy teaches courses in musical theatre, acting for the camera, and introduction to performing arts. He is the author of “The World at Play: Performance from the Audience’s Perspective,” published by Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, and his scholarship can be found in journals including Theatre Topics, Theatre Journal, Shakespeare Bulletin, Theatre/Practice, and the Journal of Film and Video, as well as several edited collections. For ISU Theatre’s 2022-2023 season, he is directing “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen, which runs in Fisher Theater on March 30-April 2, 2023.