The Way Out West

Projection and Interaction Design
Millumin, Processing, Adobe After Effects

The Way Out West tells the story of the housewives and scientists of the Manhattan Project working for the war effort in stiflingly hot and dusty Los Alamos, New Mexico, in 1945. The first successful test of the atomic bomb forces them to grapple with the consequences of their actions and inactions.

Where does the balance lie between personal and governmental responsibility? And what does this question mean in the context of today’s weapons technology?

For this show, we used a four-projector system mapping over the entire stage and the backdrop to create captivating spectacles and enhance storytelling.

By drastically transforming time and space, media expanded the world within a traditional theater space.

I contributed to concept ideation, created video content, and helped build the multi-projector system all through the design process, load-in, rehearsals, and performances.

My most important creation for the show was an interactive system for generating and rehearsing live particles effect. As shown below, during a scene, when actors walked on stage, the particles on the floor can move based on the show-runners’ manipulation and avoid their foot steps. (The photos were taken during rehearsals.)

I created the interface below in Processing, which was connected to our run-show system and the projectors. It allowed the show runner to manually create the “particle-avoiding-footsteps” effects. It also allowed us to play with different visual designs during our prototyping phase. This interface was used during rehearsals as well as actual performances.