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On Friday, December 14, 2012 PUSH Physical Theatre along with a group of NTID (National Technical Institute of the Deaf) theatre students debuted two works in progress at RIT’s Panara Theater. In addition to some audience favorites such as “Waterfall” and “Web,” the one-night-only event showcased two new pieces–“Red Ball” and “Giovanni”–from a new project called PUSHinterPLAY of Art, Culture and Technology. PUSH began work for this show back in October with help from not only NTID students but also Marla Schweppe, a professor of 3D digital design from RIT. The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation supported the show by providing a $28,030 grant for PUSH’s show as part of a program that seeks to integrate arts & culture with contemporary technology.

In the case of “Red Ball,” the cast has integrated the use of iPads featuring a variety of interactive animations into a whimsical story about a troupe of bumbling, bickering characters and their escapades with a simple red ball. This piece is thrilling because, for much of the show, the ball only seems to exist on the screens of the iPads. It is pantomimed and invisible in the hands of the characters–until it materializes suddenly to the audience’s delight.

“Giovanni,” a touching story inspired by Tomie dePaola’s children’s book The Clown of God, uses projections on both hanging scrims and actors’ bodies to recount the life of an orphaned boy who rises to fame as a juggler. The adult actor depicting Giovanni is made to look like a small child by casting a tiny, concentrated shadow onto a scrim beside the massive, shadowy image of the actor portraying his father. The piece ends with the breathtaking effect of slow-motion juggling as Giovanni, now an old man whose fame has faded, performs with all of his heart for a statue of Mary and the Christ child on Christmas Eve–until his heart gives out.

While we were unable to attend the moving December performance (which was incredibly well-received from what we hear) we had the opportunity to view many highlights from PUSHinterPLAY at a pickup shoot yesterday. Darren and Heather wanted a promo put together specifically for the purpose of pitching the show to clients who might like to book the new show. This was Envision Production intern Jessica Thurston’s first day on set with us! She kept track of shots through day of multiple takes with the PUSH cast.

The reel probably won’t be posted on the blog since it “gives away” a lot of the best parts of the new show, but I hope this post gets you interested enough to check out a PUSH performance in the future!

“Messy” Project

As if Christmastime isn’t a hectic enough time of year without taking on additional responsibilities, we at Envision decided to work with a friend to put together a video on the topic of the message of Christmas–one that wasn’t commissioned by any client.

On the one hand, we don’t know what we were thinking. On the other, we think it turned out well!

We’re sharing this video on the blog to demonstrate that freelance artists shouldn’t shy away from working on unpaid, un-commissioned projects. Even if these works don’t result in monetary compensation, they can be added to your portfolio and used to create rapport among community members who might pay you for your services in the future!

Our schedule is a little messy right now, but we took the time to make this video entitled “Messy” to encourage everyone to just slow down, sit back, and remember the reason for the season.

Biodance Breaks a Leg

The beautiful, breathtaking, and eerie dance company Biodance just closed a fascinating show at the Hochstein Music Hall for the fifth season in a row.  While inspiring solos and duets were a part of this creative feat, the two highlights of the evening were a reprise of the technically astounding Liebeslieder (a waltz by Strauss performed live by vocal group RESONANZ) and the Rochester premiere of No Dancing Allowed, a playful yet powerful nod to youth in WWII America. Both featured contemporary dance styles, which (for those of you who don’t know) means the abstract kind that makes you go “Hmmm?”

Choreographer Missy Pfohl Smith has worked with Envision in the past and commissioned us to record the event for the purpose of creating a DVD, and we are in the process of working on it now. When intern Jessica Thurston starts work at Envision at the end of the month, this will be one of her first projects.

Rochester Business Ethics Award

The Rochester Business Ethics Award (affectionately known as the ‘Ethie’) is an annual award that goes to companies in this region who demonstrate high ethical standards in their everyday business dealings as well as in the face of crises or challenges. As part of the competition, business applicants are asked to present an introductory video displaying a basic overview of the company’s practices.

This is the 4th year that Envision has produced all of the videos for the competition highlighting the companies.

Behind the Scenes of ‘Humans vs. Zombies”

For the past several years, a student at Brockport College named Nate Sorrentino has been producing a film version of the widespread Humans vs. Zombies nerf war that is now a tradition on campus. He has been gaining momentum this past year, expanding the projects into short films with actual plots and later a large-scale web mini-series (rather than the theatrical trailer parodies he had done in the past.)

We helped him gain publicity recently by producing a behind the scenes video of one of his recent films.

Gamebreak Films at Millenium Games

For a recently filmed episode of Gamebreak, we found ourselves at Millenium Games, a popular and thorough gaming store in Henrietta, NY. We wanted to not only explore the store, but also to stop by the attached gaming room where patrons actually take the games they have bought in the store in order to try them out with other gamers.

On this particular day of filming, the Rochester Gaming Society was holding their regular meeting in Millenium’s gaming room, and we had the opportunity to interview a few of their regulars–including one of the founding members. They are a great group of people, and you’ll be able to see more about them when the episode airs.

We were then greeted by, Joe, a helpful sales associate who gave us an introduction to the store and then took us on a tour of all of Millenium’s deck-building games–Dominon, Eminent, Domain, Nightfall . . .

Can you guess what the topic of an upcoming episode is going to be?

If not, hopefully you won’t have to wait for long to find out! This episode is coming soon! Also, stayed tuned for more episodes filmed at cool locations outside of the Fortress of Gamitude.

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