Live Image Processing & Performance Live Performance Writeup
I attended a performance on April 18th at New York Live Arts. The performance was directed by Kaneza Schaal and it was titled Jack &. From the description, I believed that this was a performance that would be a example of object theatre, but after watching the performance, it was more of an acting piece rather than an installation piece. From the description, this piece was about the impact prison has on one’s mental/dreaming state. The piece progresses between the main characters present and past and ends with a dream-like/ritual-like dance complete with fog and live visuals of a goldfish along with an overhead view of the characters. Although this piece was more of a theatre performance, there were aspects that mimicked object theatre. Rucyl Frison (also happens to be an ITP alum, I think) did live sound mixing during the performance. The main actor, Cornell Alston, proceeded to complete the steps needed to bake a cake, which is something I have never experienced. There were also live projections onto a large loop-type screen and normal cloth. The projections were of the overhead view as the actors and actress danced during the dream/ritual-like sequence and of a goldfish that was shown throughout the performance. The performance ended with the main actor inviting the audience members to have cake onstage.
Although I have seen plays and shows before, I have never experienced a performance with live vocal/audio mixing and unconventional projected images. There was a lot more acting than the performances we did for object theatre, and a lot less manipulation, but I would consider this within the spectrum of object theatre. I don’t know what my expectations were going in, or maybe I had no expectations. I thought there would be more visual/projected images and less acting, but it was more of an theatre performance. I suppose I’m quite dense when it comes to imagery or storytelling in plays, movies, and shows. I thought the types of visuals that were projected were very interesting and the overhead view was particularly captivating considering the pattern that was already on the floor. The live feed of the goldfish was also interesting because I’ve never seen something like that, but I suppose it was supposed to represent a jail that the goldfish is in. It provided a really nice aesthetic when the room filled with fog and I found the projector light conflicting with the fog to be extremely captivating. As I pointed out above, there were 2 projectors and 2 cameras along with microphones and a midi controller for audio. The projection of the overhead camera onto the round surface was really interesting because normally things are projected onto very modular surfaces, and this projection was mapped onto the circular screen perfectly considering they moved the screen during the performance.
A lot of the parts of this performance was live, from the acting to the visuals and audio. I think I have a pretty good understanding of how this technically, conceptually I have no idea. The live vocal mixing is the only part I am unsure about, but she may have used ableton or some other software to achieve that. The show was set up as a normal theatre, where the audience was sitting and the performers were onstage. There were three characters, a live audio mixer, and two stage helpers that moved things around who also sang. Later the audience was invited on stage to eat cake. I believe this performance would be just as effective in other venues, I think it was also performed at BAM, due to the common theatre setup. I thought the performance was interesting and engaging, but also limiting because I went into the performance with little to no context. They did some simple, but interesting things with projection and live video. I’d be open to attending another show like this, but hopefully with more context.