After more than two years of preparation and nine months of construction, the three exhibits representing the US at the Prague Quadrennial have begun their journey overseas. All three exhibits are sponsored and supported by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), the professional association for design, production, and technology professionals in the performing arts and entertainment. A team of faculty and students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led by Tom Korder and R. Eric Stone, completed the finishing touches in the last few weeks, making the structure of the exhibits came alive with the design contents.
A unique feature of this year’s National Exhibit will be areas allocated for the display of puppets and costumes. Among the puppets on display is an animated model for Michael Curry’s paper ghosts from Cirque du Soleil’s new production, LOVE, used to visualize George Harrison’s song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Susan Hilferty’s design for Elphaba, the witch in Wicked, will greet visitors at the entrance of the USITT PQ USA National Exhibit.
The Architecture Exhibit highlights 17 performance spaces for the next generation, focusing on training facilities for universities and colleges, professional theatres, and performing arts facilities. Two projects emerged as featured designs: the Class of ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts from Architect William Rawn Associates; and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York from Architect Gehry Partners, LLP.
The Student Exhibit includes cubicles representing 16 theatre design training programs across the country as well as production photos, props, and costumes from several more. Distinctive facets of this display are the “Design as Performance” DVDs and live performances to take place on a stage within the exhibit.
The construction team hosted a gala reception for their UIUC hosts on March 27. The team will be reunited with the exhibits in Prague on June 10, when the set up for the entire PQ begins. Upon arrival, the exhibit pieces will be delivered to their pre-assigned locations in the Industrial Palace, and the team will have three days to assemble all three exhibits. This PQ will be the largest ever in square footage as well as number of participants. The gala opening for all exhibits will begin at 7pm Thursday, June 14, 2007.
USITT's vice president for International Activities Alexandra Bonds serves as commissioner for all three exhibits and assembled the curators who selected which works would be included in the Student and National exhibits. Richard Pilbrow organized the curators for the Architecture Exhibit.