The Magic of Design

A look at the onstage creation of
A look at the onstage creation of “ADA/AVA” from Manual Cinema. (Photo by Yi Zhao)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that you can either have amazing stage effects or you can have story, but not both. For the inaugural edition of what will be an annual Design & Tech issue, we’ve set out to dispel that myth. From magicians becoming storytellers to technology taking centerstage, from designers seizing the means of production to playwrights making work with robots, there’s more to the work of stage visuals and their technical realizations than creating beautiful surfaces or whirring machines.

Design and technology, in short, need not be an afterthought or a gimmick. As projection designers, technical personnel, magicians, and sound designers could tell you, it’s clear that the sweat and labor that go into creating stage effects may be invisible to the audience. But when done with deliberation and purpose, it is as integral to a play’s essence as the text.

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