Meet the Artists: Keith Murray
Name: Keith Murray
Role on Nothing But Sky: Video Designer, (Co-)Set Designer, Lead Animator and Illustrator. Make-up Designer.
How did you first get connected to The Only Animal?
I first joined up with Kendra and the Animals on NiX in Calgary in 2009, to design videos to be projected on the ice and snow set, and giant dome. It has been a pretty amazing relationship ever since.
How long have you been working on Nothing But Sky?
Since conception about two years ago.
Tell me a little bit about the video design for this show and how it has evolved since the first workshops.
This is by far the largest scale, most ambitious project I have worked on yet. It has leaped and jumped over many design aesthetics and ideas since conception. Originally we were trying to figure out a way to stage this show in mid-air, flying dancers moving on the side of a building extremely angled stage, audience watching through mirrors etc. As things evolved, it became evident that the core of the story was about the artist's creation, and thus we started to explore what it might be like to be inside a comic book, a sketchbook. We moved from projected photographic realistic sets, to a world of hand drawn sets - where the white comic book of the set, are the blank pages for Joe Shuster's pencils and ink to draw upon, with the actors moving in and out of comicbook panels, drawing and erasing there way through the world. Running with the concept that we literally create the world we see - that our reality is a projection of our own creation, the other characters in this play, moving through their individual aesthetic bubbles, together trying to manoeuvre the interstices of their worlds, expanding to encompass the ever-elusive 'real world' out there...
What are the biggest risks you are taking in putting this show together?
I have nightmares that some glitch in the software will crash the show mid-run, leaving actors and audiences in the dark. The fact that so much of this show is depending on complex technology to run smoothly, is a huge risk. Months and months of hard work creating drawings, animations and video production are all depending on robots to funciton! Thankfully we have INCREDIBLE actors who i know could carry the show without any of the visuals. That said, with a full embrace of Cedar, i am feeling pretty confident about things.
What are you most excited to see come to fruition over the next few weeks?
All of it! The marriage of the magic of all of these incredibly talented people, the interfacing of costume, make up, projection, movement and mentations to converge on a moment - It is unlike anything I have seen in theatre before. Not only will it be a rich visual feast, but it tells a beautiful and deep story of friendship, love, and above whatever chaos of our own creation: the desire to create good in the world.