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New Media Performance in a Box

With the scene structure, transitions and design in place the next challenge was fitting the performance component into a ‘black box’ theatre. Projection, live sound, live art and dance are the principal surfaces for the Bridge Song performance imagination. As production designer I worked with plans of the theatre to determine proximity and flow of each element hoping to establish integration of these surfaces. The projection design incorporates three projection systems including sophisticated dual screen rear projection with intermixed live camera feeds through a third projector. A fourth projector is used to front project during the ‘Bridging the Gap’ ropes scene. Both the musicians and dancer have feature scenes using projected live camera to amplify their visceral presence within the black box environment. Only minor adjustments were needed to accommodate the planned staging and projection design into the Judith Wright Centre’s performance space.

The bump-in progressed through the rigging of cyclorama, scrim and masking, the legs, drum cage and other properties. The projection system was rigged with video and data routed through patch-points between control room and stage. The bump-in and rehearsal schedule for the theatre season became compromised as a public holiday on the Monday meant a day was lost compressing and eliminating opportunities for some functions. For example dedicated run through for video documentation was not feasible. This impacted on the Thursday evening preview showing as not all intended final elements were integrated. These included tweaking lighting focus and some live camera feeds, which were resolved for the subsequent two show season. After all this there remained some areas left underdeveloped due to lack of skill, financial resources and dedicated theatre rehearsal time. For example I felt unsatisfied with the rhythm and timing of some cue points between video projection, sound and performance, also the costume design, choreography and dramaturgy. It has been a long-held aim to work with an outside choreologist and/or third eye, to date the financial resources and opportunity for this engagement has not been met.

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