Technology Interfaces with Live Theatre in LSU Theatre Lab Production of “Eiffel Tower: Revisited” Feb. 7-12
BATON ROUGE – LSU Theatre Lab will present performances of “Eiffel Tower: Revisited” Feb. 7-12 in the Studio Theatre, located in the Music & Dramatic Arts Building on Dalrymple Drive.
“Eiffel Tower: Revisited” is a re-imagining of “The Wedding on the Eiffel Tower” – Jean Cocteau’s original 1921 avant-garde performance – in a postmodern, technology-based style, incorporating social media, new modern music and contemporary cultural images with a movement-based text.
Director Leigh Clemons, Gresdna A. Doty Associate Professor of Theatre in the LSU Department of Theatre, said the production pays homage to Cocteau’s unique original vision while making the performance more accessible to college-age sensibilities. Plans are in the works to feature it in local and regional theatre publications because of its originality in visual concept and execution.
“It is truly a first of its kind for this area,” Clemons said. “Using Michael Benedikt’s 1966 translation of the text, my creative team and I plan to update the visual technological references in the performance: the phonographs will become computers, the telegrams will be Twitter messages and the old-fashioned camera becomes a modern iPhone camera. The score is a mixture of modern pop-type tunes and atonal modern sounds that reinforce Cocteau’s original narrative intent. The performance will feature audience interactivity in the form of Tweeting between audience members and select cast members during the show, interpreting the action on stage, which can be followed by all with Twitter access.
“We would also like to live-stream the production on the Web for a mass audience, who will also be provided with the Twitter hashtag information for the performance and encouraged to comment on the performance while watching. For the live-streaming audience, we would specifically target student populations at other universities, so that theatre professors at those institutions can incorporate discussions of Cocteau in general, and ‘The Wedding on the Eiffel Tower’ in particular, into class preparation for the spring semester of 2012.”
Cast member Daniel Mathews, who is also serving as social media coordinator for the production, said he feels the production is bridging the gap between modern audiences and the avant-garde through the use of familiar technology, immersing them into the show itself.
“Theatre, much like anything else, has only managed to survive through adaptation, which is what we are striving for with this production,” he said. “With social networking sites, blogs, etc., everyone is a critic these days; we’re allowing the audience to have its voice and interact with live theatre. That’s the other beautiful thing about live theatre; anything can happen any given night, especially when you’re allowing an impromptu audience to interact with scripted performers. I feel that we, as audiences and theatre practitioners, will always be excited by the spontaneous nature of live theatre.”
Performances of “Eiffel Tower: Revisited” will be held Feb. 7-11 at 7:30 p.m. each evening, with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Feb. 12. All performances will be held in the Studio Theatre. Tickets are $10 each, and can only be purchased at the door with cash.
Under the leadership of LSU Department of Theatre Interim Chair and Swine Palace Managing Director Kristin Sosnowsky and Swine Palace Artistic Director George Judy, Swine Palace continues its mission of presenting bold, innovative and thought-provoking theatre while making a significant impact on the cultural and economic landscape of Louisiana. In September 2009, the Music & Dramatic Arts Building – home of the Claude L. Shaver Theatre – re-opened following a multi-million dollar renovation. With the fully restored Shaver Theatre and a new Studio Theatre joining the Reilly Theatre, LSU and Baton Rouge has one of the finest performance and training facilities in the country. In spring 2006, the LSU Department of Theatre was awarded accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
LSU Theatre proudly offers the Lab Season productions in addition to the main stage productions. The Lab season features works varying from aerial silk performances and new works in theatre to classical plays that have stood the test of time. The season offers production opportunities in acting, directing, design and run crew to undergraduates, graduate students and doctoral candidates at LSU.