All the World's a Stage
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Yudell, whose firm only recently completed the masterful renovation
and seismic reinforcement of the Powell Library and construction
of the Law Library, boasts the perfect resumé for this project.
He is the son of a former Martha Graham dancer, the author of a
frequently cited essay on "Body Movement" featured in an architectural
textbook and a lover of dance whose own admittedly haphazard training
ranges from classes with Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade
to Daniel Nagrin and Dan Wagoner. He and his design team are also
remarkable listeners who have convened countless meetings with groups
of faculty and staff to brainstorm the functions of every part of
one such meeting, Peter Sellars goaded the architectural team to
push beyond standard notions of what a theater should look like,
describing the image he had in his mind of a warm, wood-lined space
-- "No more black boxes," Sellars exclaimed -- that would be as
appropriate a setting for sacred ritual as for experimental theater.
"Soundstage meets Shinto shrine," he mused.
was great about what Peter was saying," says Yudell, "was the encouragement
to create a space that was beautifully made but also enormously
flexible, that has a strong character but which also allows choreographers
and directors to explore many different modes of presentation. In
fact, we were in a funny way looking for that kind of nudge."
new plan (still subject to change) calls for the old basketball
court in the building to be converted into a serenely plain and
elegant theater with a simple balcony suspended on three sides.
Rolling banks of seating will fold up and practically disappear
when the space is being used for rehearsal or if the audience is
seated in alternative configurations.