ShadowLight Theater (see videos below)
TrackBack URL: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/104291
Aside from the mergence of diverse cultural aesthetics, sound and movement, what I enjoy most about the ShadowLight Theater is the many “tricks” employed to achieve a wide range of visual effects. These include the depth created by layering slides with shadows as well as the special mask designed for the actors to be able to see the screen but have their profile remain in shadow. These “tricks” seem to be a derivative of ancient approaches combined with contemporary tools such as projectors.
I also enjoy the combination of human movement with puppetry, whether that emerges in the form of wearing a costume/mask or a puppet interacting with a live figure. There is something about this unique mix of movement and form that allows one to travel into another time and space. Having experience working this way, I can say that having the ability to place the shadow of a live figure in any setting within a matter of seconds is extremely liberating to one’s imagination.
“Shadows are a link between the small world inside of us, the large world around us, as well as the past and the future.” I see this being even more of a relevant statement considering the advanced technological possibilities available to us at present day. With multiple projectors, mirrors and computer software one can host a complicated range of events. Add to that traditional, cross-cultural techniques and one is left with a seemingly infinite range of possibility.
There was a certain amount of film history or directorial knowledge packed into this set of clips that I truly appreciated. The ShadowLight Theater took important stories and used simple techniques to create a sophisticated and complex aesthetic. The film noir piece with the cross dissolve was extremely clever. Something I never would have thought to do myself. As well as the masks with two faces on each side. Very simple ways of creating a feeling or emotion with shadows. Something as simple as attaching a cut-out to a popsicle stick and putting it behind a sheet can be very visually striking.
He also stated that there was a fair amount of experimentation with where and how much light source was needed. This is a good reminder that not everything works the first time.