This week on Behind the Curtain, we talk to Atlanta-based artistic director Amanda Farnsworth. Amanda talks about her unique take on the classic show, Annie, and how she used digital projection backdrops to bring something fresh and interesting to the stage.
Video Length: 1:57 (1 minute, 57 seconds)
QUESTION: “How Did You Use Projections in Annie?”
AMANDA: “Oh my gosh, when we did Annie, we had a projection of the city at night, New York City at Night, back in the day. It was so much fun. It was very stylized so you got a Guys and Dolls sort of sensibility on stage. You saw some light up and some neon and some stage lighting and marquees. It was beautiful, but what was great about it was we could have some of them move. So when Annie and Grace and Warbucks go downtown, to go out to see a movie, you felt like you were in the city but you felt like you’d gone back in time. It wasn’t the same as watching a period movie because you’re right up close to the stage, you feel like you’re there too. It’s a very immersive experience for an audience. That was a lot of fun.
Also, one of my favorite things we did with projections. It wasn’t animation but it was the orphanage in the daytime graded (slowly transitioned or faded) to the orphanage at night. It was the most fun thing I’ve seen because instead of a scene change, you leave the drop up, the projection up, and you have your actors there and then the projection shifts to a nighttime lighting and color scheme and everything. And you’ve just fast-forwarded in time. Without having anyone carry a sign that says ’12 hours later’ and walk by (laughs). You just got to go with them on that journey and fast-forward to when it’s night and they’re going to escape. It was a lot of fun and again, it was magic that I never could have come up with another way as a director. I would have had to have a a gap or a jump or a drop or an explanation in that moment. But the projection just did that for us. It was really cool.”