Dec 1, 2011

Lights, Magic, Opening

The December issue of American Theatre is out today, with two great main features: One is by David Barbour, editor in chief of Lighting & Sound America (and one of favorite critics over at StageGrade), on the use (and abuse) of projections in the theater. Fans of Wendall K. Harrington, read up on this surprisingly old theatrical technique here.

Meanwhile, the Bay Area's own performing arts polymath, Chloe Veltman, contributes a fascinating piece on the way magic takes advantage of theater techniques, and vice versa, which contains this odd, almost Onion-worthy story:
[Ryan] Majestic has become so disenchanted with magicians' current love affair with the theatre that he tries to remove the trappings of stage performance from his work whenever possible–including, curiously, the audience. Every night for nearly two weeks in April 2010, the magician broke into an abandoned house in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles late at night to perform his act. Majestic deliberately didn't tell anyone about his activities. "I did the show at midnight each night regardless of whether anyone walked in or not," Majestic says. "I hoped that if someone did come by, it would be a truly organic moment rather than feel fake, like a theatre performance."
Now that's commitment.

I've also got a few pieces in the issue: an extended conversation with the McCarter Theatre's Emily Mann and Victory Gardens' Chay Yew about being playwrights who run theaters (aren't many of those), and a Strategies column on a pet topic of mine: theaters that provide childcare for financially strapped parents like myself.

Fave quote from the Yew/Mann dialogue, by the way: "I see running a theatre as if you’re directing a play that never opens." Funny, I often feel that way about working at a theater magazine, even on publication day.

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