[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he City of Conversation references political and cultural events that span three decades. Director Michael Wilson sought a device that would both ease the jolt of the time span between scenes, and remind audience members of those events and images.
His solution was a video montage that could be projected on the proscenium arch at the top of the show, as well as between scenes. To make this vision a reality, he enlisted the talents of video artist, Hana Sooyeon Kim.
Kim read the play and conferred with Wilson for his thoughts. Then she sifted through the era, creating lists that she could take back to Wilson for his input on which items were best suited thematically.
As Kim explains, “I was keen on creating something that not only puts us in the mood, but also has enough political context to help us understand how the current events in the play came about — from a bigger picture.”
The video above is the finished product captured in the theatre.
In just a few moments, Kim is able to bring the sights and sounds of several decades to vivid life. One can also see a carefully crafted difference in the visual style — with the earlier montage incorporating newspaper textures and television screens treated as paper cut-outs.
Kim approached the final montage with other goals.
“I wanted to create some sort of tension throughout the piece that could eventually [be] relieved with Obama’s first inaugural speech. Transitions between events are more abstract and jagged than earlier montages. Look wise, it’s a bit more digital — covering emergence of the internet and the effect of social media.”
You can read more about The City of Conversation in Michael Van Duzer’s Rehearsal Diaries piece.