More than a Moving Backdrop: Projection Design in Theatre is comprised of two parts, a research paper and a guidebook. This thesis is about using media/projection design, in conjunction with other elements of design, to create the world of the story on stage and take the storytelling to the next level. The research paper starts with information about unique opportunities offered through media, including using media as a new way to tell old stories and a way to bring cinematic elements, such as rapidly switching locations, into the theatre. This information is followed by an examination of a few disadvantages of using media in theatre. Some of these include the expense of the technology required to use media, the steep learning curve with the necessary software and hardware, and the fact that media can very easily become a distraction for the audience. The paper then covers ways to use media design with a purpose beyond simply setting location with examples from recent Broadway productions. Some of these methods include using media as a way to bring the audience into the mind of the main character, such as in Dear Evan Hansen. Another way to use media is for accessibility, such as projecting supertitles, which can be seen in the recent revival of Spring Awakening through Deaf West Theatre. In this production, the supertitles are integrated into the design and fit the aesthetic of the rest of the production. The third example mentioned in this paper is using media as a backdrop to support the production's aesthetic, such as in Anastasia. This section is followed by an analysis of three personal experiences as a media designer. The research portion of the thesis concludes with thoughts about where media could go in the future, given media's basis in rapidly evolving technology. The second part of this thesis is a guidebook, created specifically for college age directors and media designers. The guidebook starts with a brief history of media design in theatre and uses of media outside of theatre. Next, the guidebook contains the same information and examples about using media with purpose from the research portion, translated from more academic language, to more easily digestible language. This is followed by a large section, specifically directed toward media designers, about collaboration with other designers. This section is filled with information and advice gathered from personal experience and surveys sent to fellow designers. The guidebook ends with an advice section from and to directors and media designers about working together and creating a common language to collaborate successfully. Hopefully the guide will help ease trepidations for working with media design.
- More than a Moving Backdrop: Projection Design in Theatre
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