Last week I was lucky enough to see the play “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.”
Lucky because this excellent play ends it’s run in the West End of London before the end of April.
This is certainly a different sort of play and a very different sort of murder mystery.
Without giving away too much, a dog is the unfortunate murder victim.
If you don’t know the story, it shows the world from the point of view of an autistic teenager.
I say autistic but in fact, the hero’s real condition is never specifically identified.
In trying to solve the mysterious death we are offered an insight into how the world is viewed so very differently by people who “see the world in a surprising and revealing way. The book is not specifically about any specific disorder.”
That’s the description offered by the author of the book of the same name, John Haddon.
If you have seen this play, I’m sure that one of the things that will strike you as it did me, was the massive amount of complicated dialogue that the lead actor had to learn.
Joshua Jenkins, playing the part of Christopher, the teenage subject of the play, did this brilliantly.
The other thing that struck me was the stage set.
This too was unusual and for someone involved in exhibitions, really interesting to say the least.
Essentially the stage was built as a giant three-sided digital box.
Soon after the play commenced it became clear why this was.
Things that were drawn on the stage floor appeared in full view on the digital walls.
Maps, numbers and math calculations all appear throughout the play.
The screens are in fact, an integral part of the play as is the sound system.
The only play where the providers of the projection equipment were thanked
This was also the first play I’ve attended where the suppliers of the projection equipment (Panasonic) were thanked at the end of the show.
It was easy to understand why they got mentioned. The effects produced were exceptional.
To say that I’m a regular theatergoer would be stretching things a little but I do usually get see half a dozen plays per year.
Most of the recent ones were period pieces, so I made a mental note to get out to more contemporary productions to ensure that I wasn’t missing more of this kind of theatre tech!
How did the show go down with the audience?
Standing ovations all over the place at the end and a lot of rapturous applause and cheering from a predominantly young and enthusiastic crowd.
It was easy to see why they felt that way.
There was nothing stuffy or boring about this play by what has all of this got to do with trade shows?
The ideas that we could borrow and apply of course!
Clever but practical tech
The thing to highlight about the theatre set walls was that they were constructed using lots of digital screen tiles.
It wasn’t made from three ginormous TV-type screens bolted together.
One of the other clever features (and there were many) of the giant screen stage set, was that some of the screen tiles could be opened.
The purpose of opening them was because props used in the play were stored or passed out through them.
Space-saving show application there I thought…
And your business could achieve a show-stopping stand of its own borrowing from this idea and for a lot less money.
I’ve shown the picture below before but it’s useful because you can see a stand made pretty much all from high-resolution digital screen tiles.
We built this stand in an area of ExCeL London that was awash with bright natural sunlight.
This was to show how the screens would be unaffected by that light.
It also provided the opportunity to show would-be clients just how strong the display possibilities were using a “digital stand.”
The stand shown was 24sqm in area but because wall tiles are modular, smaller spaces could also be easily digiwalled.
If you are thinking about how to make your show presence more impactful and attractive, this is one idea you might want to consider.
Projection: The stand with no products
I was also reminded of a stand I saw nearly two years ago at a retail show at Olympia.
Like the theatre set, the small shell scheme that grabbed my interest had no “real” products on it.
Instead, virtual “exhibits” were projected onto the walls.
This meant that a huge range of products could be shown by an exhibitor on very modest 9sqm stand space.
Better still, stand visitors could choose the products that they wanted to see.
By scrolling through an iPad they could select products to be projected onto the wall or walls of the stand.
Not only did they see the product of their choice, but they were also able to read all of the specification details too.
Bikes and other sports-related equipment paraded through the stand continually. Very clever.
The point to make about this type of display was that it was achieved using projection, not digital walling.
In fact, the walls were plain white Octanorm shell scheme walls. They worked extremely well for projection.
Setting-up this kind of display on-site is very fast. You unpack and fix the projectors and you are ready to go.
The time-consuming bit is, of course, the pre-loading of the data related to the products that you want to display.
But again, this is a highly effective form of exhibiting and one that could save you money on your display space.
It could also help you to take part in more shows. Create your digital catalogue and take it with you to more shows using smaller spaces.
Another idea to consider.
Combining digital with graphics
Here is a job we helped put together for a client at bett this year.
The stand neatly combines touch screens (which we sourced), with high impact graphics.
Using touchscreens enabled the stand team to engage in detailed conversations with show visitors.
The sales team talked visitors through applications of their software and when the screens weren’t being used for demos, they played corporate messaging.
This simple idea delivered a highly successful stand for TASC Software.
One other thing that also came out of my trip to the theatre was a renewed respect for the power of sound to create drama and attract attention.
That will the subject of another post in the near future.
Meantime, I really recommend that you make some curious trips to the theatre of your own. Feel free to share your fresh thinking. I would be delighted to publish and share your ideas.