So it’s been almost 6 months since our new artistic director, Ethan McSweeny, started his tenure. So far, it has been a true joy seeing our work through new eyes and imagining what is yet to come—we are a theatre of imagination after all. As you can see in Ethan’s vision statement, we found someone who loves what we do and had tremendous ideas for new things to try and new approaches that still resonate with who the ASC has been for the last 30 years.
On Monday, December 17th, we will take one giant step on our journey into exploring the capabilities of our beautiful building. A firm from Richmond, VA will be coming in to scan our space. The 3D rendering they produce can be plugged into design programs (like CAD) and let us play around without having to get out a 20-foot ladder. Now, we know that Shakespeare’s company didn’t have that ability, but we also know the machinery they did have made that kind of playing around easier—you can check out a number of papers written by the students in our masters program after we built the theatre and see how much we’ve learned about space since we opened it. Donald Osborne wrote about the trap in the heavens and just how Jupiter might’ve come down, James Mainard O’Connell wrote about the trap in the stage and how an elevator may have gotten people and props to the stage—and taken them down, too.
Looking forward to the next building we might build, Kris Ayers explored the stage design that may have been used in the 1613 Globe. All of this work over the years has fascinated me and inspired many others—from architects to tourism and business developers to other scholars and we know we will continue to learn as we perform more plays in this hall. Likewise, Lauren Shell wrote about lighting effects used in the 16th and 17th centuries—and reproduced some of them to great effect in her presentations (she is now a member of the affiliated property craftspersons in LA—that’s Hollywood, friends!).
Thinking about what the scan could reveal to us as we move forward and Lauren’s work from 2009, I can’t help but get excited about the possibility of using real candles—as our friends at Shakespeare’s Globe do in their indoor space, the Wanamaker.
The candles at Wanamaker Theatre and my continuing interest in looking at ways to bring interdisciplinary conversations into our space got me really interested in this video that I discovered on PBS Learning Media this week. I know that we won’t get to do all of these (who has leftover liquid nitrogen lying around?), but some of them could make for some pretty neat special effects. What other design possibilities are you excited about exploring in our space?