Armadillo. Photo by Oliver Bryant
Within Armadillo the news and media both parallel and inform the live action on stage. The connection between Sam and the media was an essential tool to shift the video elements in Armadillo away from a naturalistic portrayal of news, Instead, video is implemented as it's own defined character; at times an antagonist or an extension of the main protagonist. It is also the catalyst that ignites Sam's memories of past trauma and propels her behavior.
Rough 3D render based on Jasmine Swan’s set drawings for basic pre-visualization.
The most important aspect of designing this show was to allow the projection to be completely intertwined with the live nature of the performance. In moments when the video was driving the narrative forward, it was vital that there was a collaboration from all departments to engulf the space with sensory overload. Director Sara Joyce aimed for the audience to be conflicted between watching Sam's live reaction in front of us and the inner workings of her mind on the back wall.
Filmed footage pre and post manipulation. Left shows RAW 4K, green screen camera footage. Right shows the first pass of manipulation before colour and distortion effects are applied.
The projections depict the 24-hour news media seen through Sam's eyes. The images distort, focus, and continuously react to the information about a missing girl, Sam was abducted as a girl, so the footage mirrors her childhood experience in a conscious and haunting way. Initially, the content projected onto the entire width and height of the Yard's back wall is something recognizable to her and us. However, gradually, as we move deeper into the story, it becomes more chaotic, frantic, and fragmented. This fragmentation also aids in making the filmed footage and animation less flat, adding depth and making the content feel like it has a three-dimensional reprieve.
Left The Double Secret, 1988 by René Magritte. Right A collection of digital distortion references.
Inspiration for the video aesthetic came from a mixture of analog and digital imagery, from the surrealist creations of René Magritte to visual synthesizers that distort video imagery live. It was clear both the natural world and the digital world should be reflected in the design. The digital world is acting as Sam's oppressor and the natural world, representing Sam's fear. None of the design, however, would have been possible without the fantastic, media recording performances by nine incredibly talented actors. They were all individually recorded before rehearsals had started, with a four camera set up, to capture varying angles and perspectives to allow for considerable post manipulation.
Written by Ash J Woodward
Armadillo at The Yard Theatre
Written by Sarah Kosar
Director - Sara Joyce
Set & Costume - Jasmine Swan
Lighting Designer - Jessica Hung Han Yun
Video Designer - Ash J Woodward
Composer & Sound Designer - Anna Clock
Movement Director - James Berkery