Frank and Claudia Mohler visit Theatre Magic:
Technology, Innovation, and Effect
THE MAGIC OF MODELS
One of the objects in Theatre Magic: Technology, Innovation, and Effect, currently in the Thompson Gallery, combines the oldest and newest technologies on exhibit. The model built by Dr. Frank Mohler from designs in the Theatre Research Institute microfilm of Palatina MS 3708 probably illustrates the stage house of the Teatro San Salvatore in Venice and a production of La Divisione del Mondo which premiered at the Teatro San Salvatore on February 4, 1675 with music by Giovanni Lengrenzi and the libretto by Giulio Corradi. The scenery was probably designed by the Mauro brothers. The music has been lost, but the libretto and the scenery and machinery sketches have survived in the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma. Over sixty years after its premiere Luigi Riccoboni wrote of La Divisione del Mondo:
As to the Decorations and the Machinery it may be safely affirmed, that no Theatre in Europe comes up to the Magnificence of the Venetian Opera; some of them will be handed down to our most distant Posterity. For instance, the opera entitled La Divisione del Mondo, which the Marquis Guido Rangoni exhibited in the Year 1675 at his own expense at the Teatro San Salvatore.
Internationally acknowledged as an expert in Renaissance and Baroque theatre architecture and machinery, Dr. Mohler has constructed working models of 17th-century theatres both in physical and virtual forms. The model in this exhibition has working machinery including:
Mechanized wing change
Mechanized border change
Downstage traps & elevators
Hinged upper stage
Traveling borders to allow a machine to move downstage
Tracks to allow a machine to move downstage
However, because of the fragile nature of the model, exhibition visitors cannot manipulate the machinery themselves, so exhibit consultant Marlon Barrios Solano layered Augmented Reality, a 21st-century technology, onto the 17th-century technologies to give them life and movement. The expression augmented reality, often abbreviated to AR, refers to a simple combination of real and virtual (computer-generated) worlds. Given a real subject, captured on video or camera, the technology ‘augments’ (= adds to) that real-world image or object with extra layers of digital Mobile AR refers to the use of portable smart phones or tablets to detect and see digital information overlays in real-time about the environment and its objects. The real word is augmented with digital media.
THEATRE MAGIC: TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION, AND EFFECT continues through May 11, 2014 in the Thompson Library Gallery.
Dr. Mohler is Emeritus Professor, Scenic and Lighting Designer at Appalachian State University. He received the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University where he built a number of historical theatres from microfilm records of historical theatrical documents held in the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute. Following graduation, he taught and designed at Denison University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia. Over his career he has created over 250 set or lighting designs; he also provided the conceptual design for the Appalachian’s Valborg Theatre. He has published and lectured on Renaissance and Baroque theatre architecture and machinery, as well as given conference presentations, including at Cesky Krumlov, the beautiful Baroque Czech Baroque theatre that retains its original machinery. Dr. Mohler has moved from building physical models of theatre to making virtual ones, and created and maintains the Development of Scenic Spectacle web site.
Marlon Barrios Solano is a Venezuelan artist, researcher, consultant, educator, curator, on-line producer, video broadcaster and vlogger based between in USA and Germany. He is the creator/producer/curator of dance-techTV, a collaborative internet video channel dedicated to innovation and experimental performing arts and its social network dance-tech.net. He has also conceived and developed the on-line interdisciplinary co-learning platform meta-academy.org. With a hybrid background on cognitive science, dance improvisation and new media arts he researches and explores the uses of network technologies, participatory systems and collaborative practices within cultural production and education environments. He holds an MFA in Dance and Technology 2004 (real-time digital technology, performance of improvisation and embodied cognition) from The Ohio State University, USA.