The job of the special effects designer is to create the perception of reality in the mind of the viewer — to trick the human brain with just a few simple inputs — drops of water, say, falling from a hidden pipe, a few carefully placed lights, an offstage fan. Combine these elements properly and the audience sees a rain storm. But exactly what kind of rain storm does the show require? Here is where the art of design comes in. For example, in 1998, I used those elements for a production of ...

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