Arias With a Twist, an extraordinary collaboration by Joey Arias and Basil Twist, was first seen in 2008 at the Here Arts Center, and recently restaged at the Abrons Arts Center (with rave reviews), both in New York City. Projection design is by Daniel Brodie, whose video images are part of Joey Arias’ psychedelic hallucinations as a result of eating a particularly potent, and rhinestone-encrusted, mushroom in a fantasy musical that has a cult following.
Yet the Abrons revival required some revamping. "The proscenium opening for the new space is about four times larger than the size of the original, which means a larger surface area for the projections," says Brodie. "And that caused two major problems: one, more surface area means you need a brighter projector, and two, the original material we used for the downstage scrim, Texteline, isn't made in the size we needed."
The brighter projector problem was solved thanks to a very generous accommodation from Sound Associates, according to Brodie: "They provided us with a Digital Projection Lightning 40isx+ which is an amazing 21,000 lumen DLP projector. The change of the material was a little more problematic, because our only real option for a seamless material to use was a resin-coated black scrim, which just does not have the same reflective and transmissive properties as Texteline does. In the end, the result was still beautiful, but it required a lot of extra work on the lighting designer's part to adjust to the new scrim material."
Brodie reports that every single cue was remade for the new version in higher resolution, although many of the same looks remained. "A lot of things changed, though. We made an all new sequence for the alien abduction scene, which tells the story a little better and I made a new fractal image, which required a thirty hour render using the UltraFractal software for Windows," he explains. "Also, because the theatre didn't have enough circuits or front of house hanging positions to devote to specials, many of the original lighting tricks had to be done by the projector. Several spotlight specials were handled by projection, and the entire jungle sequence was half lit by projection in order to make enough of the green front fill and to replace the gobo-rotators."