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Silence and Darkness

SILENCE & DARKNESS, a live movie for the cell phone age

Reviews | Tour | Production Requirements | Additional Information

Reviews

“The show was fantastic. It made all conventional drama seem old and limp. It pushed all of the boundaries of theater to the limit.”

—Lorraine Brown, theater historian and founder of the Federal Theater Project Archive

“There was striking imagery and a palpable sense of energy about the piece…”

—Rick Davis, Artistic Director, Theater of the First Amendment

“One of the main emphases of the work was on the ways in which technology (specifically, the cell phone, as well as other technologies through history) mediates human relationships. The work as a whole draws on performance art, virtual reality production, audio and video environmental installations, and physical space acting traditions (from the musical to the poetic emphases in performance art)…The production in a concrete way shows how these performance traditions and digital technologies can be woven together in powerful new forms…”

—Susan Warshauer, theater historian

“These guys make New Jack Theater.”

—Benny Sato Ambush, director

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Tour

Silence & Darkness uses cyber-tools to depict, dissect and critique cyber-culture. The show cinematically unfolds a world in which humans attempt to connect in the flesh, enmeshed in a technosphere of cell phones and satellite dishes, chat rooms and web servers, spy cams and predator drones.

In the form of a “live movie,” a fragmented space-age love story of digitized desire is punctuated by passages from Jean Baudrillard’s Simulations, Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, and Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine.

Malfunctioning animatronic simulacra of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Alva Edison, and ghostly prom queens gliding and twitching like high-voltage music-box automata, swirl in an audio-visual time warp, and gyrate to cybernetic songs and soundscapes.

Carbon-based lifeforms intertwine with silicon beings, as performers blur from stage to screen and back again—images, words and voices encoded in bits and atoms.

Full-stage, multi-screen, animated digital video projections construct a poor man’s virtual reality, a scenographic montage of global environments, disembodied characters, implanted memories, and strange weather. This “live movie” crosses the machinic-organic divide and examines human myths, tools and consciousness illuminated by the glow of synthetic fire.

Cell phoners travel from their corporate barracks, through frenzied streets, to electro-cash markets, cyber-bedrooms, data cubicles, and transhuman clubs, filled with an insatiable desire to “be there now,” ensnared in the beeps and flashes of a world that is no longer ever silent or dark.

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Production Requirements

Note: This preliminary technical package is meant to give a general sense of the scope of the production. A more complete rider will be developed for each venue. The show has some parameters that are adaptable. For example, the minimum stage dimensions required are 28' wide X 20' deep. However spaces much wider and deeper are welcome. Also, if a flyhouse is not available, then an overhead grid may be used. Please contact Cyburbia Productions directly with technical questions regarding the suitability of the venue.

Stage Requirements

  • 28' wide X 20' deep minimum
  • Wings 10' minimum
  • Three to four sets of black velour legs and matching borders
  • Cyclorama system and black scrim
  • Direct stairway access from stage †o house
  • Working fly system
  • Blue running light backstage
  • Two backstage prop tables

Personnel

Cyburbia Productions provides:

  • Seven performers
  • Two musicians
  • One Stage Manager
  • One Lighting Designer
  • One Multimedia Designer
  • Director of the production

Presenter provides:

For the load-in and load-out –

  • One master electrician
  • Two electricians
  • Two carpenters
  • One sound engineer

Local Crew for the performance –

  • One flyperson
  • One lighting operator
  • One sound operator

Lights and Projections

The lighting plot will be provided after Cyburbia Productions receives ground plan, section plan and equipment inventory for the venue.

Cyburbia Productions provides:

  • two Digital Light Projectors with mounting hardware and cables
  • five DVD players
  • six LCD rack-mounted monitors
  • two Videonics MX-Pro video mixers

Presenter provides:

  • minimum of 24 dmx addressable dimmer channels (or equivalent)
  • one programmable computing board
  • dmx cable as necessary
  • lighting instruments (as per agreement with onsite Production Manager)
  • color and color frames

Sound

Cyburbia Productions provides:

  • seven wireless microphones
  • all musical instruments

Presenter provides:

  • Main Front of House Stereo Speaker system adequate to a performance that combines mikes, acoustic and electronic instruments
  • All amplifiers and processors for normal operation
  • Run on power not shared with lights
  • Front of House mixing position and sound console
  • Three onstage wedge monitors

Headsets

Presenter provides:

  • 5 clearcom headsets

Scenography

Cyburbia Productions provides:

  • All set pieces, costumes, props and projection screens

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Additional Information

ABSTRACT:
a live movie for the cell phone age • Fine Arts Gallery • Center for the Arts • April-May 1999 / Harris Theatre • Center for the Arts • March 2001 Produced by Kirby Malone and Gail Scott White • Multimedia Design: Gail Scott White Set and Lighting Design: Kevin March • Costume Design: Stephanie Lundy • Scenic Artist: Thomas W. McGuire Live Scores by Grommit, Martin Wright and Ziggy • Sound Design: Kevin Jerome.

DIRECTOR'S NOTE:

Welcome my son
Welcome to the machine
What did you dream?
It’s alright
We told you what to dream
—Roger Waters

SILENCE & DARKNESS uses cyber-tools to critique cyber-culture. The show depicts a world in which humans attempt to connect in the flesh, enmeshed in a technosphere of cell phones and satellite dishes, chat rooms and web servers, artificial intelligences and content providers. In the form of a "live movie," a fragmented space-age story of love and desire is punctuated by passages from Jean Baudrillard’s SIMULATIONS, Guy Debord’s SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, and Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine. Malfunctioning animatronic simulacra of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Alva Edison swirl in an audio-visual time warp, and groove to 21st Century tunes and techno-industrial soundscapes. Animated video projections construct a sort of "poor man’s virtual reality" in which cell phoners swarm from corporate barracks around ghostly prom queens behaving like 18th Century automata, caught in a world that is no longer ever silent or dark.

MARCH 2001 PRODUCTION

CAST:
Sarah Hochkeppel, Charles Lee Holley, Josh McCarthy, Drew Myers, Chris Parsons, Nicholas X. Parsons, Maria Rio, Turtle Wegrzyn, Rebecca Wilbur

GROMMIT:
Nelson Cuellar, Mauricio Sanchez, Greg Stein, Joseph Stephens, Sarah Hochkeppel and Rebecca Wilbur

DIRECTOR:
Kirby Malone

PRODUCERS:
Kirby Malone and Gail Scott White

STAGE MANAGER:
Nicole McClain

MULTIMEDIA & SET DESIGN:
Gail Scott White

LIGHTING & SET DESIGN:
Kevin March

COSTUME DESIGN:
Stephanie Lundy

VIDEO DESIGN:
David P. Rueckert

SOUND DESIGN:
Kevin Jerome

PROP DESIGN:
Jill Buxrud

MASTER ELECTRICIAN:
Rob Hencken

SOUND ENGINEER:
Grafton Cole

COMPANY MANAGER:
Marilyn Moran

ASSISTANT DIRECTORS:
Jeremy Frank and Julia Laxer

ASST. SOUND DESIGNER:
Jill Buxrud

ASST. COSTUME DESIGNER:
Alecia Gower

MULTIMEDIA ARTISTS:
Gail Scott White, David P. Rueckert, Chris Ashton, David Bjerke, Karina Braszo, Jill Buxrud, Nami Hashemizadeh, Maryam Kasmai, Dan Sharnoff, Greg Stein, Lee Vaughan, Stagehands, Chris Ashton, David Bjerke, Valerie Curry, Alecia Gower and Julia Laxer

VIDEO OPERATORS:
Jill Buxrud and Dan Sharnoff

PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS:
Scott Rowan and Alexei Samsonovich

DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER:
Trinity Tongg OsbornThe Cyburbia towers and fly-throughs are based on paintings by Thomas W. McGuire.

Special thanks to Tim Thompson of Arena Stage for sound advice.

Made possible by support from:
College of Arts & Sciences; InterArts and Theater Divisions, Institute of the Arts (IOA); Poetry Theater; University Life Programming Committee; & Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)

APRIL-MAY 1999 PRODUCTION

Cast:
Charles Lee Holley , Sarah Maxwell, Drew Myers, Chris Parsons, Karen Rivera, Rebecca Wilbur, Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Director:
Kirby Malone

PRODUCERS:
Kirby Malone and Gail Scott White

LIGHTING & SET DESIGN:
Kevin March

SCORE & SOUND DESIGN:
Martin Wright and Ziggy

COSTUME DESIGN:
Stephanie Lundy

VIDEO DESIGN:
Greg Stein and Thomas W. McGuire

PROJECTION DESIGN:
Karina Braszo, David Danner, Gail Scott White and Kirby Malone

SLIDE ANIMATORS:
Karina Braszo, Gary Comerford, David Danner, Marcela Lopez and Doug Vazquez

PRODUCTION & STAGE MANAGER:
Stephen Balazs

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER:
Michael West

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR:
Michael Sherman

ASSISTANT SCENIC DESIGNER:
Doug Vazquez

PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS:
Ben Ashworth, Mike Ittner and Autumn Pike

DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Gretchen Hilmers and Thomas W. McGuire

Made possible by support from:
Institute of the Arts' Division of Art and Visual Technologies, and Division of Theater; ARTS Bus; The Center for the Arts’ Concert Hall; and subTerrain studio

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