Thursday, September 8, 2011

Advertising and the Theater

Below is the text of a New York Times article, titled "When the Color is Primary" by Erik Piepenburg, about an aspect of theater we don't often think about ... the advertising and how it's created. Check it out, and then head over to the NY Times website to check out the interactive feature they've got which shows a number of different posters and campaigns advertising the same show. I'd love to get a conversation going on here about the differences between these campaigns and why different ideas are effective ... or not.

BLOOD. Cherry. Brick. Sangria. With so many shades of red on the color spectrum, what’s a poster designer to do with a show called simply “Red”? Almost 30 regional theaters faced this question when they put John Logan’s drama, about the Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko, on their 2011-12 schedule. (The show was a hit on Broadway last year, winning six Tony Awards including best play.)

Taking a spare, severe approach, “Red” was spelled in large red letters on a black background on the Playbill for the Broadway production. Many of the designers who created original artwork for regional productions of “Red” took the play’s major visual motifs — canvases in red, orange and black; fat brushstrokes of paint; Rothko himself — and produced miniature works of art for posters, program covers and other promotional materials. Arena Stage in Washington used tonal silhouettes of Rothko and his young protégé, the play’s other character, in a minimalist composition. The Cleveland Playhouse depicted the title in a Rothko-like font. A poster for the Goodman Theater in Chicago shows two actors in costume, dramatically photographed from below.

Blood, of a sort, was spilled at the Arizona Theater Company. Stephen Wrentmore, the theater’s associate artistic director, was drenched in red paint and photographed as part of a macabre poster that looks like the one-sheet for a slasher film.

“I spent about an hour and a half painted red, and it took about the same time to take it off,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment