Calit2 at UC San Diego Names Director in Residence
San Diego, Feb. 5, 2010 -- Underscoring its interdisciplinary interest in technology and the arts, a high-tech research institute at the University of California, San Diego has selected one of the country’s leading theatrical directors to be its first Director in Residence.
The UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) appointed Christopher Ashley, age 45, to the new position. Ashley holds the 2010 Quinn Martin Guest Chair in Directing in the UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance, and he has served as La Jolla Playhouse’s Artistic Director since October 2007.
"Christopher has wonderful ideas about how to use new technology as a springboard for new ways to tell a story on stage," said Ramesh Rao, director of Calit2 at UC San Diego. "In the short run he will be using some of the visualization tools we develop at Calit2 in the staging of a new production. But we also expect that he will bring a fresh intellectual and cultural dimension to Calit2 that could lead to future collaborations between Calit2, UCSD’s Theatre and Dance department, and La Jolla Playhouse."
Funding from Calit2 will permit the purchase of high-definition displays to be used in Ashley’s forthcoming dramatic re-imagining of The Revenger’s Tragedy, a 17th century Jacobean revenge tragedy, attributed to English playwright Thomas Middleton. It is a melodramatic portrayal of unbridled lust, greed, ambition, corruption and violence in an Italian court. In Ashley’s revisionist revival, he recasts Middleton’s bloodlust melodrama into a television reality show for a TV-obsessed world, using technology to tell the story as it unravels on-stage and off.
“Theatre is, above all, a collaborative endeavor,” said Ashley, the Tony Award-nominated director whose most recent Broadway production, Memphis, played at La Jolla Playhouse in 2008. “I’m beyond thrilled to be able to collaborate with the astounding minds and forward-thinking vision of Calit2.”
“It goes without saying that we live with technology and accommodate to new tools in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Technology allows us to open up our stages to augment the imaginations of artists and audiences in an interactive event centered on human connections -- the very essence of theatre itself. To be given the opportunity to explore the parameters of this new territory with Calit2 opens up untold possibilities for storytelling in ways never experienced before. Via digital media technology, The Revenger’s Tragedy audiences will get up-close-and-personal with the characters’ most private thoughts as they scheme their way through to the top, or in some cases, the bottom.”
In the run-up to The Revenger’s Tragedy’s Feb. 11-20 run in The Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre at UC San Diego, Ashley and his team will work with Calit2 engineers to ensure that the technologies deployed on the Potiker stage will give theatre-goers a rare experience of looking at The Revenger’s Tragedy through the 21st century paradigm of reality TV – without losing the intimacy of the stage experience.
In addition to Christopher Ashley as Director, The Revenger’s Tragedy will feature the work of Scenic Designer Robert Tintoc, Costume Designer Sarah Cogan, Lighting Designer Steven Siercks, Sound Designer Alyssa Ishii, Digital Media Designer Ian Wallace, and Production Stage Manager Deirdre Rose Holland.
To purchase tickets for The Revenger’s Tragedy at the Potiker Theatre, go to http://theatre.ucsd.edu/season or call (858) 534-4574. General Admission: $20; Students: $10; UCSD Affiliates/Seniors/Alums: $15.
Doug Ramsey, Calit2, 858-822-5825, firstname.lastname@example.org; Carolyn Passeneau, UCSD Theatre & Dance, 858-822-3152, email@example.com; Becky Biegelsen, La Jolla Playhouse, 858-550-1070 x 104, firstname.lastname@example.org