Office Chats: Chris Jaehnig - Prague Quadrennial Festival

Monday, Dec 1, 2014

Office Chats is a recurring blog series where we talk to fellow Tisch students and teachers about their minor, extracurricular activity or anything interesting they are currently working on. The goal is to learn something more about the people around us and the programs Tisch and Tisch Special Programs has to offer. This week we spoke with Chris Jaehnig, The Director of The Production and Design Studio, about the Prague Quadrennial Festival. Can you tell me a little bit about the festival? What do students who are unfamiliar with it need to know? The Prague Quadrennial (PQ) has been around for almost 50 years and is this amazing gathering of theater designers, performance space makers and theater creators from around the world. Dozens of countries send displays of professional work as well as separate student displays. The organization of the festival is planned to be in multiple, small-to-mid sized locations this summer which, I think, will lead to very interesting engagement between theater design and the city of Prague! What can students who are enrolled expect to do while at the Festival and in Prague? We plan to explore both the exhibition and the city of Prague for three weeks at the end of June 2015. Our first week will be engaged with studying the ideas and tradition of "scenography" along with visiting FAMU/AMU and Latterna Magika. Once the PQ begins, our days will be split between discussions/seminars, continuing our exploration the city of Prague with its deep architectural and social history and, of course, participating in the PQ exhibitions and workshops. In the evening, we will optionally attend performances from around the world. We will take a day trip to the preserved Baroque Theatre at Cesk Krumlov Castle, only a few hours south of Prague. Each day we will discuss and reflect on the sites, exhibitions and performances. Who should take this class? The class is intended for undergraduates. While the class is originally pitched to the theater design students in the Drama Department, I would love to have the multiple viewpoints of actors, dancers, film-makers, playwrights, directors - even just theater lovers - who have a great interest in theater design. How is what s going on in Prague relevant to the work being done at 721 Broadway? I think that we try to find opportunities to do current design work in the Drama Department - of course that is highly dependent on the shows we are doing and the approach our directors take when conceptualizing the production. This fall's production of Troilus and Cressida was an excellent example of creating a contemporary design approach to the Greek story written by Shakespeare in the early 1600's. Favorite place to eat in NYC? For a fast dinner - we love Mighty Quinn's Barbeque on 2nd Avenue or Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken on 1st Street at 2nd Avenue. What play/movie/exhibition are you most looking forward to in the coming months? I'm looking forward to getting to the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center to see "Broadway Revealed: Photographs by Stephen Joseph Behind the Theater Curtain" which is an exhibition of photos of Broadway studios and workshops. Contemporary Design: Prague Quadrennial Festival is open to all NYU and visiting undergraduate students. To learn more about the Prague Quadrennial Festival and to get involved, click here!