Death and The Powers Live Performance Media Content
Content, Design, Video Production
“Does the matter really matter?” asks Simon Powers, Richest Man In The World, lover of Money and Poetry.
“The emotion and intensity of the media content felt as vivid and present as the feelings of the actual humans.”
HEIDI WALESON, WALL STREET JOURNAL
“A must see for anybody who cares about the exciting new techno-driven directions music theater is taking.”
JOHN VON RHEIN, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Death & The Powers, a sci-fi opera by the MIT Media Lab and the American Repertory Theatre, follows the story of Simon Powers as he leaves his body behind and merges with cyberspace in an attempt to live forever. Helmed by an all-star team, including composer Tod Machover, Broadway director Diane Paulus (Hair), Hollywood production designer Alex McDowell (Minority Report, Fight Club), librettist Robert Pinsky (three time US Poet Laureate), choreographer Karole Armitage the production bowed for its world premiere in Monte Carlo at the historic Salle Garnier, followed by performances in Boston and Chicago.
As the media content designers, we visualized the actor’s live performance into a new, digital persona that inhabited a series of 15-foot-tall media walls on stage. Transforming the inflection of his voice, the aggressiveness of his stance and the rhythm of his heart rate into a new, on-stage persona that embodied everything “Simon,” albeit without all that useless “meat.” Simon spoke visually with playful typography, seduced with dream-like memories, and used symbols and stock footage to deploy his sardonic wit.
“The voice is familiar but the face is unreal”
MIRANDA POWERS, SIMON’S DAUGHTER
Simon’s new consciousness was built from over 500 unique elements that were recombined live onto the screens during the production. The realtime data streams, a motion graphics toolkit and pre-recorded video memories formed a modular system that could be performed and finessed by the actor on stage, every night as a live event.
“Death and the Powers doesn’t point the way to a new era of opera. It’s there. Now.”
DAVID PATRICK STEARNS, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER