Day 1. 30th June 2000.
Day 2. 1st July 2000.
A wonderful trip to Vadero beach
with its perfect turquoise water. Everyone was happy swimming and
playing volleyball on the beach. Later we went to "
Day 3. 2nd July 2000.
We visited the Papalote Puppet
The performance was followed by a trip to some large natural caves used by the Spanish for a sheltered harbor. They are quite huge and extensive - many kilometers deep. We saw only about two kilometers of them.
Later we had a wonderful lobster meal in a private
home. These private restaurants are called paladars.
This is very common in
Later we boarded the night train for
Day 4. 3rd July 2000.
We arrived in
|In the evening we went to the Jocas Ceramicas Exhibition Hall for a welcome cocktail
party. After this we proceeded to the UNEAC (Union National de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba)
House for a presentation by Rick Thomas from the
Day 5. 4th of July 2000.
We returned to UNEAC House for the presentations of Ben Tzion Munitz of
Ben Tzion showed the Computer aided lighting design by Belgian designer, John Bogart, for the Israeli production of “Julius Caesar.” He felt it was a good example of how the computer technology can help with communication between the lighting designer and the director when they need to work long distance with not much set up time. The computer program is vector based and has lines indicating each of the light sources and where they strike the actor. Backlight is indicated with one colored line, side light another and front light with a third. The computer figures show a crude step-by-step effect of the light changes. After the computer designs, Ben Tzion showed photographs of the realized production. He projected the images onto the grey door, which seemed the lesser of two evils. The other option was to show the work against the green walls that would have been even more disturbing to the color of the lighting design.
Rick Thomas followed with a presentation of the sound design for “The Masque of the Red Death,” by Edgar Allen Poe. He emphasized the emotive quality of music. Rick read the poem accompanied by the musical sound track and discussed how the music helped to point out and enhance the emotions behind the words.
In the afternoon we had a boat trip around the Industrial
We had a wonderful lunch by the water and then we visited
the early 17th century Spanish fortress, "El Moro," which guards
This evening we were hosted to a reception given by the Jewish Community at the Jewish Synagogue. There is a community of only 70 people who emigrated in the early years of this century. There was also an art opening of 4 local Jewish artists and Jewish folk dancing to end the evening. They have offered to donate free space for our symposiums to continue tomorrow.
Day 6. 5th of July 2000.
This morning Rick Thomas and Annette McGregor continued
their presentation on sound design at the Jewish Synagogue. They showed
video footage and sound design for productions at their University in
We walked to the Teatro Marti Children’s Theatre. The theatre use to be used for movies and is very ill equipped. They had old-fashioned three-color strip lights from the 1950ís and some old floodlights, all of which had to be turned on with a simple switch, no dimmers. They did have a new ‘Mackie’ computer soundboard, but there is not much hope for other system up grades. They have a high fly loft and an old hemp counter weight system complete with old stone weights.
The next theatre that we visited was the Orient
Theatre. It was more open with no balcony and also lacking in
equipment. This is a theatre that is home to a Dance company,
which specializes in ethnic dancing. They were rehearsing
an African piece for the Fiesta del Fuego Caribbean Festival, which is
We collected Jerome who had figured out the computer
glitches and all went for a drink at the beautiful Colonial hotel, Casa
Grande. We ordered Mojitos to drink as a
salute to Ernest Hemingway. We stayed on the lovely porch overlooking
After the parade, we returned to the house of Jose Antonio
for yet another feast cooked by his wife Barbara and his mother. This
was a celebration for married couples. The oldest couple was 47 years
and the youngest was Miodrag Tabacki and his wife Angelina Atlagic of
Day 7. 6th of July 2000.
We returned to UNEAC house for a presentation by Jerome Maeckelbergh on the Scenography web site project. The technicians had brought a white sheet this time to cover the green walls, which distort the color of the images. After the white sheet was raised, the video monitor stopped functioning. It was discovered that the outlet had only 106 volts rather than the minimum of 117 volts of electricity required to run the machine. We attempted to switch to the large video monitor in the room, but we didn’t have the right connection cables. In the end Jerome was forced to deliver his presentation on his computer screen. It is ironic since it was about communication through the web site. The preliminary view that we had was very impressive. It was agreed to adjourn until the next day when we could meet at the University and guaranteed to have enough power.
afternoon was an excursion trip going first to the Tropicana Night
Club. This is an outdoor performance space built nine years ago
specifically to attract a tourist crowd. It is run by the government,
Ministry of Tourism. The show is lavish with over 200 performers and
1200 costumes. The space has incredible production values for
There was a separate room for the hats and
headdresses with another 5 employees. There were third and forth rooms
for costume prop work and trimming with 4 more people. We watched as a
woman hand-cut glitter from sheets of mylar.
Lastly there was one air-conditioned room, which was the design office and
storage facility for the fabrics, so they would not collect mildew from the
extreme humidity. This is also the place where another employee does
all of the ordering of supplies. They have five years to create a show, so
this small group of about 20 people do all of the work. The shoes are
made elsewhere in
There scenery is also built on the premises, but there are not full-time employees who do this work. Most of the flash is in the costumes, which are like moving pieces of scenery. We stopped by the rehearsal, which was in a small non-air-conditioned room with lots of noise from the instruments playing the rhythmical music. Despite the heat the director and the singers were doing a full out performance.
We left the Tropicana and continued our excursion to
On to the Bocanoa for our belated luncheon and OISTAT meeting. There was a splendid buffet at the hotel where we all ate and ate, then we adjourned to the beach for our OISTAT meeting. There was extensive discussion of the web site database that Jerome Maeckelbergh is preparing. We continued the discussion back by the pool of the hotel where we were served coffee and cake. Jerome proposed a plan to make the web site self-supporting. He has applied for a grant to research this idea. He needs 5 countries from the European Economic Union who will join in the project. The hope is to have an OISTAT employee who would keep each country web site up to date and answer email for the members and dispense information from the central organization of OISTAT to scenograhers in each country. It would be paid for with advertisements from various equipment producers or theatres.
We returned to
Day 8. 7th of July 2000.
At last today we had a good set up for our presentations and
adequate electrical power. We were situated at the
Dirk Spillemaeckers discussed his
school program for stage technicians, which is in
Robert Blackman & Marianne Custer's work
Crow showed a variety of designer's work from the
The next presentation was from Ivo Kersmaeckers, a Belgian from the Technology Commission. He discussed a long-range project of the Technology Commission, the Theatre Atlas, to translate theatre venues for touring companies. The computer translates basic measurements and terms for theatres located in the countries represented by OISTAT. There is a comprehensive list of touring theatre facilities with contact names, addresses, fax and phone numbers. The site will link to the Theatre Words Project run by OISTAT, which has been compiling comparative theatre terms for 10 years. He said the Technology Commission is still trying to come to an agreement about standardized drafting symbols. Jerome Maekelbergh volunteered to be the liaison to the Scenography Commission for the standardization of symbols.
The last presentation was a brief description of the "ShowTech" to be held in
We adjourned for lunch and after lunch; Jerome Maekelbergh ran a practical workshop on PhotoShop for interested students. He tried to download Strata 3-D for them since it is free share ware, but it requires more memory than their machines can handle. The Cubans have only limited computer equipment and limited access to the Internet. It seems to be available only on the University Campus. They have email services at home for some, but it is very difficult to have access to the World Wide Web. Jerome will work with Strata Corporation to see if they will send a copy of the program to José Antonio Prades Hung in Zip Disk form.
This night we went to the Tropicana show. It was very
Day 9. 8th of July 2000.
Several of us were awakened at 6:30 A.M. to be questioned by the police. They do routine bed checks to make sure that the homes that host tourists are recording all of the people who stay there. They pay a tax based on their earnings, so it is important to the government that all paying tourists are recorded in the account books. It was a little alarming, but the police were very polite and apologetic for waking people up.
Once more we met at UNEAC and once more we had a voltage problem. It was a second session planned for Jerome Maekelbergh since the first had been plagued with technical difficulties. Among the audience was a journalist for the Communist party and he asked if we could talk more about digital media. There seemed to be other Cubans there who also wished to talk about multimedia for technicians rather than about design, so the OISTAT Scenography web site was put aside in favor of a discussion of the possibilities of electronic media.
We had a formal meeting with the head of UNEAC, Rudolfo Vaillant Garcia, who greeted us and encouraged us to come back another year to attend the Carnival.
All went separate ways and rejoined for an evening farewell
dinner and final meeting of OISTAT. Jerome Maeckelbergh
reiterated his interest in being a liaison between the Technology Commission
and the Scenography Commission about the
standardization of symbols for designers. He will be positioned
well to communicate with Ivo Kersmaeckers,
who is working on the Theatre Atlas and is also a resident of
Richard Thomas, a Sound Designer from the
José Antonio Prades Hung has
committed to making further communications with
We closed with greetings from the head of the Scenography Commission, In-Suk Suh of
(Laura Crow stayed on and visited Carnavale Preparations in both Santiago and Havana and has a further report which is soon to be seen on the Costume Working Group Web Site to be unveiled in Bregenz, Austria in August.
Mr. Jerome Maeckelbergh, Belgium
Mr. Ivo Kersmaeckers, Belgium
Mr. José Antonio Prades Hung, Cuba
Mr. Pedro Marzan, Cuba
Mr. Alejandro Gomez Vale, Cuba
Mr. Harald Reichert, Germany
Mr. Jochen Meyer, Germany
Mr Ben Tzion Munitz, Israel
Mr. Marko Gorjanc, Slovenia
Mr. Arcan Matjaz, Slovenia
Mr. Richard K. Thomas, USA
Ms. Annette McGregor, USA
Ms. Laura Crow, USA
Mr. Dirk Spillemaeckers, USA
Mr. Miodrag Tabacki, Serbia and Montenegro
Ms. Angelina Atlagic, Serbia and Montenegro
International Symposium Presenters were:
Loyce Arthur – Carnival in Trinidad,
Peggy Rosefeld – Mardi Gras in
Miguel Romero – Puppetry Design in Street Parades
Rolando de Leon – Carnival in the
Treva Reimer – Carnival in
Kazue Hatano – Japanese Kimonos and Street Festivals
Hilary Baxter – A New Carnival: Gay Pride Parades in the
Lon Monroe – Santeria and Its History and Meaning in
Ho-Sook Ahn – The Traditional Korean Tea Ceremony
Cuban Symposium Presenters
Maria Luisa Bernal de Figueroa – 40 years of Costume for Cuba Carnival
Jose Antonio Prades Hung – Carnival Design on
Elio Mirialles Rodriguez – Hombres Carossas
Jose Loreto Horruitiner & Ana Amelia Perez – The Masks & Poster for Carnival in
Mayo Ayra – Carnival in
Dr. Miguel Secades Martinez – Carnival in
Ileana Luna – Coordinator of Carnival Presentations in
Nieves LaFerté, Carlos Padron Montoya
Lazaro Noreigo Aguirre – Choreography for Piños Nuevos, Using the characters from the Santeria Religion.