Portfolio Fall 2011

Project: Boston Theater
Studio Instructor: Jonathan Levi
Site: Boston, adjacent to Paul Rudolph’s Government Services Center building
Program: 1200-person drama theater, blackbox theater, back-of-house, school, dance studios, restaurant, and cafe

In the past people went to the theater primarily to be entertained. With the advent of TV, Hollywood, and Youtube, the public’s engagement with drama is increasingly critical. We go to theater not just to find out whether Shakespeare’s love triangle will happily resolve itself in the fifth act, but also to judge (with skepticism) how convincingly a particular production of Twelfth Night is put together.

The project is about two kinds of performance that engage both ways of appraising theater: (1) the performance of the on-stage work of art, which requires the viewer to suspend disbelief and give into dramatic artifice; and (2) the rational and calculated “performance” of the off-stage, back-of-house machinery, which is usually hidden from public view but is made visible here as a means of giving viewers access to behind-the-scenes workings of the theater.

Each performance can be read, therefore, in two ways: viewers can immerse themselves in the love-triangle narrative and appraise for themselves the mechanics that make the story possible. The cafe, suspended centrally in a glass sphere, is a publicly-accessible space that serves as the site for post-performance critical discourse.

Click the image above to see more images of the project.

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