Ecce Homo "Behold the Man"

Playwright Jonathan Luskin and director Lisa Tromovitch


On April 13, Media X and the Department of Theatre Arts collaborate with the School of Engineering and Computer Science to bring together live motion-capture and the theater in the inaugural production of "Ecce Homo," by playwright Jonathan Luskin, which is making its debut at University of the Pacific.


The story follows two aspiring actors, Troy Steel and Annabella. Troy is an aspiring action movie hero, fired from a reality television show for his inability to lie and left publicly humiliated but internationally famous. Annabella is a talented actress, too big-boned and brusque for a career on screen, she can only find work performing behind the mask of computer animated characters.

When Troy is hired to animate a heroic warrior using a motion-capture suit, he is unable to perform even the simplest of scenes without suffering a crisis of confidence. The producer coerces Annabella to act Troy's part for him. The animated pilot is a wild success and Troy and Annabella are bound together by her secret work on his behalf and his unknowing collaboration.

Their journey together is perilously guided by therapy sessions with Oona, a plush-toy orca, and Troy's grandparents, famous vaudeville actors who return from the past.


Theatre arts Professor Lisa Tromovitch selected Luskin’s multimedia production to celebrate Pacific's digital media major, Media X.

This new major is designed for students who are interested in pursuing combinations of coursework that relate to traditional, digital and emerging media. Tromovitch saw "Ecce Homo" as a perfect fit to highlight this mission, given that the play itself is on the cutting edge of live production, mixing real-time motion capture sequences and digitally recorded motion capture video combined with animated digital sequences.

The play is the product of hard work by actors and the production crew, students who are all dedicated to bringing the characters on stage (and on screen) to life.

“To have actors in the play who truly understand their characters, that bring their characters to life — that is something that people cannot miss.” — Luke Weinberg '18, who plays character Gus Lund


The changing role of technology in the entertainment industry is one of the main themes of the production.

“(As the story unfolds), you start to see how — yes, there’s technology — but you have to be a good actor in order for the technology to be useful. You see people being afraid of the technology. You see people embracing the technology, but ultimately it doesn’t matter that we keep throwing technology at it, we still need the live performers — actors trained as actors.” — Lisa Tromovitch, play director
Jess Hess, who plays Annabella, on green screen


"Ecce Homooffers a critique of the gender bias that women face in the entertainment industry. Despite the fact that Troy is not as strong an actor as Annabella, his celebrity status earns him the lead role in the animation. That highlights the persistant issue of gender bias in the entertainment industry by looking at its implications in animation. It begs the question, according to Tromovitch, “Who cares? It’s animation. Actors should be cast in the role they fit best.”

"Ecce Homo" allows the audience to examine the issue as the production unfolds. "It unmasks us. It's animation, and we still make up excuses for gender bias and for pigeonholing people and saying that they should be a certain way. There’s no reason for it. We’re in animation now and we still cling to this gender bias that has been going on forever,” Tromovitch said.


Engagement in the arts provides a variety of useful skills for students, including the ability to change the perspective from which they see the world to foster empathy and compassion.

“The arts and humanities in general remind us that we do have to work at being human — at least the humane part — it’s not necessarily automatic that we can learn to be compassionate and empathetic. The arts give us the chance to do that. Theater is especially great because you get to try things on for size.” — Tromovitch
"Acting connects to just about everything. Acting enables you to use your voice, to be better in public speaking, to observe things and make connections. There is nothing more important than the aspect of role playing. You have the classic line, 'walk in someone else’s shoes.' The theater actually enables you to do that.” — Weinberg
Actors Luke Weinberg (in the hat) and Eric Orosco

Weinberg is acting in his first production at Pacific. His passion for acting is something he plans to continue into his career. "For me, theater has been this tool that provides an outlet to express yourself," he said. "The arts have done that for generations. You can see yourself being a different person, which is just a fun thing to do.”


"Ecce Homoincorporates live motion capture into the production in real-time. That means audience members will get a behind-the-scenes look at how this popular type of animation is done.

"Even more than a typical play, the digital technology components of this production require that (actors and crew) have to be on their game. They learn time management. They learn how to be really focused — you can't screw up a cue because that screws up everybody." - Tromovitch
Crew members Michelle Yan and Javier Guerra

Audience members will witness live motion capture in the making and have the opportunity to hear actors reflecting on what acting means to them. Tromovitch believes that "Ecce Homo" is a great play for all types of people, even those who have never been to the theater before.

“It’s a great first play. A group of people can go and each of them will find something different that they liked.”

Weinberg encourages people to attend because the theater provides “a surreal experience. It's s nothing like going to a movie theater. People will enjoy watching a story unfold in front of their eyes that has to do a lot with societal changes.”

Online reservations for tickets are free. The reservation period will end 24 hours before the show. Tickets will be $5 at the door.



Troy Steel .................. Eric Orosco

Annabella ........................ Jess Hess

Dick Pacman ............... George Cruz

Fanny .............. Rosalind Jackson Roe

Gus ............................. Luke Weinberg

Oona/Mandee ............. Morgan Post


Director .............. Lisa A. Tromovitch

Stage Managers ........ Javier Guerra and Lee Kaj

Scenic & Sound Designer, Technical Director ...... Gary Scheiding

Costume Designer & Shop Manager ......... Kathleen Lowe

Lighting Designer & Assistant Technical Director ..... John Farrell

Props Master ...................................... Lulu Zhang

Wardrobe Manager & Dresser ............... Michelle Yan

Sound Board Operator .......................... Liz Malone


Animator ............ Austin Broder

Concept Artist .................... Jess Eth

Motion Capture Director ....... Mike Doherty

Motion Capture & Coding ............. Mike Davis and Zach Sturtz

Animation Modeling .............. Daniel Hong

Farm Game Designer ................. Luke Bolle


Editor & Director of Photography ................... Jon Sosidka

Film Crew .................. Cameron Matabuena, Cleve Brown


Producer ............... Cathie McClellan

Administrative Assistant ................. Adnan Hashtam

Marketing Coordinator & Box Office Manager ....... Alayna Myrick

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