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UPDATED: April 5, 2016, at 5:15 p.m.
Projections, live cameras, and moving walls were just some of the more experimental features of the first production sponsored by the new Theater, Dance, and Media concentration at Farkas Hall on Friday.
The new concentration, which launched last October and currently has nine sophomore concentrators, requires all of its students to participate in four productions, two of which must be “concentration productions” that are not led by student groups. This weekend’s show was the first such production.
Directed by Marcus Stern, the associate director of the American Repertory Theater, “The Man Who” by Peter Brooks brought together students and professionals to work on every aspect of the show, according to Martin Puchner, a professor of Drama and chair of the TDM department.
“We just started in October, so the spring was our first chance to do a bigger show,” Puchner said. “We’re going to present a whole spectrum of shows; some really student-generated thesis projects, and on the other end of the spectrum, bigger productions like this one where we invite a lot of professionals to work with students.”
Bringing students and professionals together was challenging at times, according to stage manager Emily E. Bergquist ’18, who said it was sometimes difficult to coordinate with professionals and students who operate on very different schedules.
“The idea of this form of a professional and student team was a new concept, and there was a lot of figuring out what works as we went,” Bergquist said. “I’m a full-time student, whereas these people, this is what they do for a living... There was a lot of everyone being as flexible as possible, learning as we went with what works and doesn’t.”
In addition to giving students the opportunity to work with professional designers and technicians, the show was a chance to prove the viability of combining the concentration’s three constituent parts, Puchner said.
“All the people who collaborated were very conscious of the fact that it was the first TDM show,” Puchner said. “We really wanted to demonstrate how we could combine theater, dance, and media in a technically complicated and very interesting show.”
According to some of the show’s four student actors, working with video and media components was both exciting and nerve wracking.
“It was hard at times,” Juliana N. Sass ’17, one of the cast members, said of working with the media portions of the production, particularly live cameras whose images were projected onto screens in the theater. “It was awesome to get to learn how to have spontaneous moments and connections and interactions with our scene partners, sometimes maybe even because of the intimacy of the camera.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: April 5, 2016
A previous version of this article indicated that Theater, Dance, and Media had five sophomore concentrators. In fact, TDM has nine.
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