Glen Keane, former legend at Walt Disney Animation for his role animating the Beast, Aladdin, Ariel and beyond, has been talking in interviews for years about what he calls ‘sculptural drawing.’ A way of completely immersing yourself as an artist and a viewer into the artwork that’s being created. It was a difficult concept to grasp just listening to Glen, but here, you can see the first step in realizing that dream. He was never talking about 3D animation in the style of Pixar or DreamWorks as we’ve come to know it, but rather something more raw and traditional—like the lines of Degas or Cézanne suddenly bursting to life in 3D.
Which, as an artist for theatrical shows, begs the question—is this where scenic design for theatre is eventually going? Will we someday say goodbye to physical sets the same way we said goodbye to film and Kodak? Probably not for a while, but the question does ooze both with possibility and also that sad sort of nostalgia that trails along with any type of art facing possible extinction.
The good news is that theatre is, and always will be, a different medium than film and with it comes entire worlds of possibility. Imagine being able to combine the vigor of live performance with set and scenic elements that are no longer bound to the stage or gravity. Now they can suddenly be all around you, hopefully doing what good scenic design has always done—not upstaging the performances, but planting you in that world, with those characters, at that time—so that a good story can be told well in the way that it should be.
Definitely it raises a lot of questions, and hints toward the opening of a new toolbox for artists.