Sunday, April 17, 2016

The #Hamiltome

Lin-Manuel Miranda dropped fans where they have always wanted to be: in "The Room Where it Happens."

 On Tuesday, the much awaited narrative/article compilation Hamilton: The Revolution was officially released. Manuel, an avid Tweeter, started off his day with a humble message to his fans.

 From here, #Hamiltome exploded throughout the day as more people purchased and received their copies. Interpretations, reactions and pictures of the text quickly circulated the Internet with Miranda giving insight and thoughts to many.

The hype among fans of the show was understandable. The text is a behind the scenes look at the show in its entirety. Song lyrics are accompanied by annotations from Miranda that highlight his thought process, inspiration, or even slight historical inaccuracies. Between many of the songs are short articles about the actors or other key aspects as well as pictures of both the show in action and backstage.

This is a never-before-seen look into a show that took the world by storm. For fans to be openly invited into the minds of those who developed it from the beginning is rare, usually seen only for shows that have been around for a few years, not less than one.

What truly caught the attention of fans, however, was not Miranda's creative interpretation of history but rather history at its source. Before the song highlighting Hamilton's first time meeting his wife Elizabeth Schuyler, Miranda inserted a poem.

This poem became one of the biggest standouts of the text. It left fans "Helpless."

At the time of writing, sales have skyrocketed to the point that Amazon has sold out of copies.

This text has revealed one thing for sure: Hamilton is truly "Non-Stop."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

No Longer Settling for Stale Sets

Mammoth steel structures and rising/falling staircases in an enclosed space would, in theory, warrant praise. These are structures that inspire a sense of awe within people, that allow for a story to not rely solely on narrative. They also could kill people easily.

Set design for live theater is possibly the most under-appreciated aspect of production even though there would be no comprehensible show without it.

Through physical and digital technological development in modern years sets have become more impressive while utilizing fewer set pieces in general. In the case of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the backdrops are projected onto a grid, not built physically. There would be no better way to display a world that is seen through the eyes of a boy with autism than to have it be metaphysical and interchangeable at any moment.

Sets that utilize the ability to move with the story are becoming more popular in the modern age of theater. In Finding Neverland, rotating panels on stage right and left act as blinds that reflect the setting of the current scene all at once. Much like A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, it took advantage of projections and 3D painting to add life to flat scenes.

Then there is the groundbreaking Hamilton.

Erring from the trend of using modern trends, Hamilton uses a set that is primarily physical, employing a staircase that can be raised and lowered and a large, rotating disk center-stage. It is dynamic, matching the cadence of the show's hip hop style and music-only storytelling.

Set production is a field that has never received praise reflective of the work put in. With these great leaps in creating something singular, however, this trend may turn over soon enough.

A scene from Finding Neverland's "Stronger"

The layered set pieces of Poison in My Pocket from A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Brockport Through Twitter

Tragedies and miracles are not the only stories worth telling. Everyone has a story worth telling, a story that rests primarily on the surface waiting to be seen. Through the driving force of a Twitter scavenger hunt these Brockport stories were found and told in 140 characters, providing a lens for what unites individual people.

 First we looked for a person that was revealing school spirit. Dan Conley made the cut while sporting both a Brockport T-Shirt and lanyard. Even the walls behind him represent the school colors.
We see Dan again at his favorite eating spot on campus. He asks, "Can I get bacon on that?" as he works on designing his version of the perfect sub from the on-campus Subway.
Professors are in as big a hurry as students most of the time. Sometimes students forget that they have to travel too, they don't magically show up.
There is a stereotype against the younger generations that they are responsible for the downfall of traditional news because of an obsession with social media. This isn't the case for freshman Allan Frei.
Brockport is well on track to become a school that puts great focus into its service learning ventures. The Mini Camp Abilities helps students like Nicholas Faulds prepare to work closely with children with disabilities.
Although there are many beautiful spots to visit on campus, the beautiful artwork covering the walls of this walkway makes this my favorite spot on campus. It is a must see when visiting Brockport.
Being a photographer means admiring light that can make almost any picture look professional. The few minutes right before golden hour always give the best light to me.
Seventh, we set out to discover a little know fact about Brockport, even to those who go to school here. According to Warren Kozlowski (Koz), "McFarlane Hall was the last all girl dormitory on campus in 1978-1979.
There are many sports at Brockport that do not always receive the most attention from the media. We set out to find someone who goes beyond appreciating these under-appreciated sports.
There are many great places on campus, but few rival the graffiti brilliance of the tunnel that goes underneath the tracks.
Finally, we found one of the strongest examples of great extracurricular clubs on campus. The Arts for Children club put on a Disney Miscast concert for local children on Sunday and earned a standing ovation reflective of every song.
Many of the others in our class also had great examples of finding great stories of students and faculty on campus. Here are a few of our favorites: Aidan Verbeke's out-of-towner,
The open area James Arnold finds breathtaking,
Jadon Ceravolo and the dogs,
James Egan's spot of serenity,
And Talon's "Epic dunk scene."
The problems with the scavenger hunt seemed to center around making sure that we were able to coordinate who exactly was finding what. We wanted to make sure we didn't overlap, and in that process ended up missing one until the last minute. However, throughout it all we were able to approach and observe the Brockport campus by new means, telling the stories people who do things everyday that make life exciting for them. That was the most important part of this project, the stories we told that wouldn't have been told otherwise.