A Forgotten Future: three dark plays of tomorrow by Ray Bradbury
Act 1: "Pillar of Fire" - Directed by Brooke Jennings
Act 2: "The Veldt" - Directed by Luke Medina
& "Kaleidoscope" - Directed by David Murakami
Five days before my show was scheduled to open, I sat at my computer as I am now, racking my brain for something to say other than the silly motto "I'm feeling BarnStorm so hard right now." Though I find it incredibly presumptuous to call myself an artist, it is an ideal I strive for. I see art as a means to communicate, a way for our thoughts and dreams to break past what can be easily said or written. Imagine a world where we all were telepathic; what would be the point of art? When I submitted A Forgotten Future to BarnStorm five months ago, I confessed that I had no idea if it would work. There were no tutorials to follow or books to be read, as it had never been done before. Five days before my show, as I tried to write this statement, I confess to you that my answer had not changed. For 18 hours a day, every day, I threw myself at this challenge, repeating in my head that art does not come at the intersection of talent and opportunity, but of human limitation and human perseverance. Then I received a text. In an instant, the Barn had been shut down by my old enemy, UCSC Risk Management (vimeo.com/murakami/confession) and I was given the chance to quit. After all, it took five weeks of non-stop work to hang and 3D-map the projections, how could we be expected to do it in five days? To be honest, it would have been a relief to have an excuse to surrender, to save face from the embarrassment of my expected failure. As I paced around the empty DARC Theater, faced with an impossible turn of events, one thought drowned out all others:
- Nothing has changed. It was impossible before, and it's impossible now. -
DarcStorm had begun. Within 20 minutes, we had a plan, within 2 hours we had stormed the barn and retrieved all my equipment, within 5 hours we were re-rendering the 1800+ layers of video which comprised the show, and within 24 hours thanks to the supreme talent and generosity of the Theater and DANM departments, including Lyle Troxel, Joe Weiss, David Cuthbert, Eric Mack (who ensured we didn't all die in a fire), and countless others, we had projectors calibrated and a white stage. Four days later our show opened, a bit rough around the edges, but complete. By the final performance, the media and sound were perfect.
As I contemplate this note and what I want to say, I realize I lack the words to do so. The true joy of being a Director is finding and working with people whom I can trust without hesitation to speak for me, as I have found during this project. Do I talk about the message of my show? Do I warn against the dark and violent themes? Do I discuss the technology which was invented as we went? Only this: as I am primarily a film director and an artist fascinated with how technology affects performance, the Digital Arts Research Center was a technological Mecca I could only dream of working in, but it still wasn't the Barn. Though we joked about it being "DarcStorm," for me, the name didn't sound right. I embraced my transplant to the DARC with the enthusiasm that the situation required of me, and like Orpheus climbing up the walls of the underworld, to save my small piece of the Barn, I could not look back. With A Forgotten Future behind me, however, my now unused key to the Barn weighs heavily my pocket as I consider its own forgotten future. It's old, a bit smelly, awkwardly built, and plagued now with rats, mites, and structural problems, but BarnStorm is an opportunity which can not and must not be lost. As much as I would like to think that I am a unique or somehow gifted artist at this school, I know there are countless others like me who crave for an outlet and would blossom when given the chance I received. BarnStorm is the chance to stand up and call yourself an artist without being laughed out of the room. BarnStorm is not caring about what will be successful, but about what could be possible. BarnStorm is sifting through the proposals and picking the one that will most likely fail just to dare it not to. As I prepare to leave UCSC behind, my only wish is that students will continue to have the chance to feel BarnStorm so hard right now, as I have.
"Hold my drink; I'm going to try something."
- David Murakami
Artistic Director - Kathryn Wahlberg
Managing Director - Marissa Putnick
Production Manager - Chris Waters
Special Thanks to:
Sarah Cowell, UCSC media Services, Joe Weiss, UCSC Digital Arts and New Media, Eric Mack, Hailey Shapiro, Lyle Troxel, Tina Hand, David Lee Cuthbert, Brent Foland, John & Jan Reehl, Jessi Bond, and Night Owl Cookies
“First you jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury