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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Technology, performance combined in spring concert”

    Technology, performance combined in spring concert

    Whether it be a computer crash or a cell phone malfunction, most people can say they have experienced some sort of technology mishap in one way or another.

    Peter Beudert, head of the design and technological division of the School of Theatre Arts and a theatre arts professor, can attest to the grievances of some people when having to accommodate technology, particularly within the realm of entertainment.

    “”Basically, humans and machines just do not get along well,”” Beudert said. “”It is very demanding to perform onstage, and it is even harder on the performer to stay in a certain spot and wait for a piece of machinery to do something.””

    Beudert tries to accomplish some collaboration between technology and people in entertainment as the leader of the UA’s Entertainment Technology Initiative.

    “”What we have been doing for the past two years is exploring the ways performers can better utilize machinery on stage,”” Beudert said. “”This year our real emphasis is on how we make the stage a space.””

    One of the ways that Beudert and the rest of ETI are aiming to accomplish their goals is by teaming up with CrossTalk, a UA-affiliated, nine-member electronic percussion ensemble. The group uses technically advanced instruments with some bizarre names like DrumKATS and Zendrums.

    This will not be the first time ETI has teamed up with others to illustrate the wonders of machinery onstage. Last year ETI and the Department of Electrical Computing Engineering presented “”Bottom’s Dream,”” a short play that integrated stage technology with actors. For those who may have seen last year’s show, however, this year’s concert will be no repeat performance.

    “”We are taking it a step further this year by providing light in an artistic way,”” Beudert said. “”It is about creating a much more artistically sensitive stage. It is the next step forward.””

    Technical theatre graduate student Nathan “”Hoover”” Cross has been part of the team to push the envelope for this weekend’s performance.

    “”The band is going to be playing a number of instruments that we created,”” Cross said. “”We have utilized new types of laser censors to allow humans to interact with different types of devices.””

    Cross said it takes more than just scientific knowledge to create these futuristic instruments.

    “”You have to understand how an instrument works. You have know how to use lasers and how to make them function as a musical device,”” Cross said. “”So it is a little bit back and forth.””

    Cross spoke about many of the instruments that the band is going to be experimenting with onstage, including an air harp, which emits a sound when a laser, instead of strings, is strummed.

    The newly invented instruments along with the traditional ones that CrossTalk usually performs with will make for a unique performance, Cross said.

    “”It will be a very eclectic, fun and spatial experience,”” Cross said. “”It will definitely be something you have never seen before.””

    The assimilation between performing arts and science is something to consider, especially in the 21st century.

    “”I hope that audience members can realize that technology can be part of the creative process,”” Beudert said. “”I hope (the audience) gets a different view on what it means to be a technician or engineer. That would be a wonderful outcome.””

    The CrossTalk Spring Concert will be held Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Marroney Theatre. After the concert there will be a short discussion. This event is free and open to the public.

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