Onwards to part two of the first day of the PICNIC conference schedule–this section of three consecutive panels and presentations was all about the shifts in demographics: the role that race and ethnic background play in producing theatre on Broadway and in emerging online communities, and the role of a changing audience and the way that audience divides its attention on “traditional” media.
First off was a presentation by renowned producer David Binder, who talked us through his experience bringing Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun back to Broadway for a modern day revival. As A Raisin in the Sun is a classic African-American play, Binder wanted to honor its roots, which to him meant that he had to find an African-American director. Broadway isn’t exactly brimming with diversity (of the 40 directors active on Broadway last season, 36 were men and only one person of color), so Binder had his work cut out for him.
What followed was a mildly interesting relay of his quest for a director (he ended up working with the then relatively unknown Kenny Leon) and cast (he managed to snag Sean Combs aka P Diddy for the lead role). I think my appreciation of Binder’s excited monologue was slightly hampered by the fact that my knowledge of all things Broadway is virtually nonexistent and the fact that as a European, I’m a lot less used to such a heavy emphasis being placed on race, so some of his points sounded (literally) rather foreign to me.
On a personal note, Binder gets a lot of credit from me for having the creative guts to bring The New Island Festival to New York City. The festival is based on two important Dutch theater festivals, Oerol and De Parade. From what I gathered from his talk, reviving a play like Raisin in the Sun took a lot more guts than that.
Image courtesy of the SXSW Interactive Web Awards site.
It’s a big night for three campaigns tonight, as the teams behind The Dark Knight ARG, Lost Zombies and We Tell Stories have won major awards at the 12th annual SXSW Interactive Web Awards. The awards were handed out earlier tonight at the Hilton Austin Downtown, and according to The Underwire blog at Wired, the major hardware found its way into the hands of the wonderful people behind these highly successful campaigns.
One of the biggest wins of the night came for We Tell Stories. This project was a collaboration between Six to Start and Penguin Books and, as reported here in March of 2008, was a way for media-savvy designers to retell classic stories through the use of technology. We Tell Stories won in the Experimental category, but as a bonus, also walked away with the Best in Show Award. This is a monumental win for the company, formed at the beginning of 2008 by former members of Mind Candy.
Last Tuesday, the UK branch of Penguin Books launched We Tell Stories, a series of six stories based on classic novels. Each story is written by a different author and is retold through a different medium. Last week, Charles Cumming retold John Buchan’s classic tale The Thirty-nine Steps by walking visitors through the tale on Google Maps. Cumming’s rendition, “The 21 Steps”, provided a novel look at the book’s plot as well as the features of Google Maps.
Over the next four days, Toby Litt will retell M.R. James’ Haunted Dolls’ House and Other Ghost Stories in “Slice”. This week’s story plays out through Slice’s blog, as well as her parents’ blog.
The story also includes a Flickr account, a MySpace page, two twitter accounts, and an email address. Amusingly enough, clicking on the email address automatically fills out the email for you with the following.
Subject: I’ve come to save you from the boredom
My life is now totally worthless without you in it because…
While these stories are well constructed so far, the real purpose they serve is to whet the viewer’s appetites for the original texts. I know I’ll be heading over to my local library to check out a few of these tales — but if I lived in the UK, I would enter the weekly Author Prize Drawings — you can also win the Penguin Complete Classics Collection, valued at over £13,000.
Underpinning the six stories is a seventh tale. Clicking on the white rabbit on the bottom left corner of the main page leads to Treacle and Ink, a blog written by Alice. This underlying story fits within the alternate reality gaming framework, and has already led chelec on a hunt through St Pancras Station. You can read about that experience here or check her bliptv account for videos.
Click Here to check out the stories
Click Here for the thread at unfiction