Magazine article Stage Directions

Recollection Blues

Magazine article Stage Directions

Recollection Blues

Article excerpt

A high school production of a Miller play fuses projection imagery with moody lighting.

Achieving dramatic lighting on a budget while using a rear screen projection became a challenge for Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando. Florida, during its recent production of Arthur Miller's The American Clock. Under my direction, student lighting and sound technicians worked to overcome some basic obstacles with illuminating effects.

From high schools and churches to regional theaters nationwide, integrated media has become the "in" thing. From PowerPoint presentations to full-scale Broadway productions, such as in The Woman in White, projected images have become a part of many production packages.

As we approached the staging for The American Clock, I decided to enhance the documentary style established by playwright Arthur Miller, personalizing it by using actual photographs and pictures from the Depression Era and then projecting them throughout the course of the play. Students and teachers brought in family photographs; we also found many in public-domain websites. Quality photographs became essential-and hard to find. These had to be sequenced to the action or movement of the play. For the play's farm auction, we located photographs of farmers and factual bank auctions. The bread lines and soup lines were heartrending, but the images also helped the actors to build their characters.

In our production, we wanted to avoid using a traditional rectangular rear projection screen. …

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