This issue sports an astonishing mix of the old and the new, of theatrical tradition and technological innovation. I wish I could say I planned it that way, but to be honest, such a dichotomy didn't even occur to me until I sat down to write this editorial. So much for strategic planning.
Let's start with that wacky cover photo, a throwback to the Theatre Crafts covers of old if there ever was one (masks, blood: oh, the drama!). This 10 - hour production of Tantalus, directed by Peter Hall and Edward Hall and staged last October at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, (it's scheduled to tour England through this May), is a delicious blend of new technology and ancient Greek drama. Ellen Lampert Greaux, who saw the production last fall, reports on page 44.
Our report on makeup is another nod to the old Theatre Crafts, covering an essential but widely taken-for-granted aspect of design. As noted in the article, the art of makeup has advanced as much as other disciplines, so much so that designers working with makeup are advised to take a class to keep up with the latest trends. John McKeon reports on page 21.
One of the projects we're covering this month is an ingenious example of employing new technology to tell an old story. The New York Fire Safety Learning Center uses state-of-the-art lighting, audio, and video (and a design team straight out of the theatre) to teach both students and adults the role of the Fire Department and the importance of fire safety. It's the latest in the ongoing use of entertainment technology as an educational tool; I can just imagine how much better my SAT scores might have been had my teachers thrown in a strobe or surround-sound effect every once in a while. Anyway, David Barbour reports on this project on page 33.
The 2000 Entertainment Design Sound Products of the Year boast the usual collection of top-notch, high-tech audio gear, but with a bit of a twist - a lot of the winning products are not tools that are usually associated with the theatre sound designer. This year's judges wanted to honor a diverse group of products, even those made by manufacturers who tend not to pay much attention to theatre sound design - a trend, unfortunately, as old as the profession itself. Check out this year's winners on page 36.
This month's technology story focuses on a more recent trend in theatre: using the web in the actual design process. Set designer Sean Martin offers up a case study in which he was hired to design a show in a theatre he'd never set foot in, with a director he'd never spoken to, and a tech staff he'd never met, a concept virtually impossible before the advent of the Internet. To learn more about this project, go to page 50. By the way, the director made some changes to Sean's design, another trend as old as the profession itself. Everything old, its seems, is new again.
I could go on with this theme: in the news section, we cover Shadow of the Vampire, a movie that takes a look at the filming of the world's first vampire film, Nosferatu, and a downtown theatre company performing uptown at Show World, the infamous adult entertainment venue near Times Square. There's also a sneak peek at the EDDY Awards, featuring snapshots of some of the winners (a full report - and even more photos - will appear in next month's issue). One thing you won't see in the sneak peek: photos of me. In this case, everything old just keeps getting older.