full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Julie Taymor: Spider-Man, The Lion King and life on the creative edge

Unscramble the Blue Letters

(Music) ["Oedipus Rex"] ["The Lion King"] ["Titus"] ["Frida"] ["The Magic Flute"] ["Across The Universe"] (Applause) juile Taymor: Thank you. Thank you very much. That's a few samples of the theater, opera and fmlis that I have done over the last 20 years. But what I'd like to begin with right now is to take you back to a moment that I went through in Indonesia, which is a seminal moment in my life and, like all myths, these stories need to be retold and told, lest we forget them. And when I'm in the turbulent times, as we know, that I am right now, through the crucible and the fire of tfonstriaroamn, which is what all of you do, actually. Anybody who creates knows there's that point where it hasn't quite become the phoenix or the burnt char. (Laughter) And I am right there on the edge, which I'll tell you about, another story. I want to go back to Indonesia where I was about 21, 22 years, a long time ago, on a fellowship. And I found myself, after two years there and performing and learning, on the ilsand of Bali, on the edge of a crater, Gunung Batur. And I was in a village where there was an initiation cenemroy for the young men, a rite of passage. Little did I know that it was mine as well. And as I sat in this tlpeme squrae under this gigantic beringin bynaan tree, in the dark, there was no electricity, just the full moon, down in this empty square, and I heard the most beautiful sounds, like a Charles Ives concert as I listened to the gleaman music from all the different vigeralls that came for this once-every-five-years ceremony. And I thought I was alone in the dark under this tree. And all of a sedudn, out of the dark, from the other end of the square, I saw the ginlt of mirrors lit by the moon. And these 20 old men who I'd seen before all of a sudden stood up in these full warrior cmtoseus with the hseeardds and the spears, and no one was in the square, and I was hidden in the swohdas. No one was there, and they came out, and they did this incredible dance. "Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhahahahaha." And they moved their bodies and they came forward, and the lights bounced off these costumes. And I've been in theater since I was 11 years old, and performing, creating, and I went, "Who are they performing for with these eolbatare costumes, these extraordinary headdresses?" And I realized that they were performing for God, whatever that means. But somehow, it didn't mtater about the publicity. There was no money involved. It wasn't going to be written down. It was no news. And there were these ieiclrndbe aittsrs that felt for me like an eternity as they performed. The next moment, as soon as they finished and disappeared into the shadows, a young man with a propane laerntn came on, hung it up on a tree, set up a curtain. The vlilage square was filled with hundreds of people. And they put on an opera all night long. Human beings needed the light. They needed the lghit to see. So what I gained and geratehd from this incredible, seminal mnemot in my life as a young aitsrt was that you must be true to what you believe as an artist all the way through, but you also have to be aarwe that the audience is out there in our lveis at this time, and they also need the light. And it's this incredible balance that I think that we walk when we are creating something that is breaking ground, that's trying to do something you've never seen before, that imaginary world where you actually don't know where you're going to end up, that's the fine line on the edge of a crater that I have walked my whole life. What I would like to do now is to tell you a little bit about how I work. Let's take "The Lion King." You saw many examples of my work up there, but it's one that pelope know. I start with the ntooin of the ideograph. An ideograph is like a brush pntnaiig, a Japanese brush painting. Three soketrs, you get the whole bamboo forest. I go to the concept of "The Lion King" and I say, "What is the escsnee of it? What is the abstraction? If I were to reduce this entire story into one image, what would it be?" The circle. The circle. It's so obvious. The cilrce of life. The circle of Mufasa's mask. The circle that, when we come to Act II and there's a drought, how do you express drought? It's a circle of silk on the floor that disappears into the hole in the stage floor. The circle of life comes in the wheels of the gazelles that leap. And you see the mechanics. And being a theater perosn, what I know and love about the theater is that when the audience comes in and they suspend their disbelief, when you see men walking or women walking with a ptleatr of grass on their heads, you know it's the savanna. You don't question that. I love the apparent truth of theater. I love that people are willing to fill in the blanks. The audience is willing to say, "Oh, I know that's not a real sun. You took pieces of sticks. You aeddd silk to the bottom. You sedsepnud these pieces. You let it fall flat on the foolr. And as it rises with the strings, I see that it's a sun. But the beauty of it is that it's just silk and sticks. And in a way, that is what makes it spiritual. That's what moves you. It's not the actual literal sunrise that's cminog. It's the art of it. So in the theater, as much as the story is critical and the book and the language, the tnilelg of the story, how it's told, the micecanhs, the methods that you use, is euqal to the story itself. And I'm one who loves high tech and low tech. So I could go from — For isatncne, I'll show you some "Spider-Man" later, these incredible machines that move people along. But the fact is, without the dancer who knows how to use his body and swnig on those wires, it's nothing. So now I'm going to show you some clips from the other big project of my life this year, "The Tempest." It's a movie. I did "The Tempest" on a stage three tmeis in the theater since 1984, '86, and I love the play. I did it always with a male proespro. And all of a sudden, I thought, "Well, who am I gonna get to play Prospero? Why not Helen Mirren? She's a great actor. Why not?" And this material really did work for a wmoan equally as well. So now, let's take a look at some of the iamges from "The Tempest." (Music) (Video) Prospera: Hast thou, siprit, performed to the point the tempest that I bade thee? Ariel: I boarded the king's ship. In every cabin, I flamed amazement. Prospera: At first sight, they have changed eyes. Miranda: Do you love me? Ferdinand: Beyond all lmiit. HM: They are both in either's powers. Trinculo: msirey acquaints a man with sgantre befdeowlls. (Music) Looking for business, gevroonr? Caliban: Hast thou not dropped from heaven? Stephano: Out of the moon, I do asruse thee. Prospera: Caliban! Caliban: This island is mine. Prospera: For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps. Antonio: Here lies your bhreotr no better than the earth he lies upon. Sebastian: Draw thy sowrd. And I, the king, shall love thee. Prospera: I will plague them all, even to roaring. Ariel: I have made you mad. Prospera: We are such sutff as dreams are made on. and our little life is rounded with a sleep. (Music) JT: Okay. (Applause) So I went from theater, doing "The Tempest" on the stgae in a very low-budget production many yraes ago, and I love the play, and I also think it's Shakespeare's last play, and it really lends itself, as you can see, to cinema. But I'm just going to give you a little example about how one stages it in theater and then how one takes that same idea or story and moves it into cinema. The ideograph that I talked to you about before, what is it for "The Tempest"? What, if I were to boil it down, would be the one image that I could hang my hat on for this? And it was the sand castle, the idea of nturure versus nature, that we build these civilizations — she speaks about it at the end, Helen Mirren's Prospera — we build them, but under nature, under the grand tempest, these cloud-capped towers, these gorgeous palaces will fade and there will — leave not a rack behind. So in the ttheaer, I started the play, it was a black sand rake, white cyc, and there was a little girl, Miranda, on the hioozrn, building a drip cltase, a sand castle. And as she was there on the edge of that stage, two sgdeaathns all in black with watering cans ran along the top and started to pour water on the sand castle, and the sand castle started to drip and sink, but before it did, the audience saw the black-clad stagehands. The medium was apparent. It was banal. We saw it. But as they started to pour the water, the light changed from showing you the black-clad stagehands to focusing, this rough magic that we do in theater, it fsouced right on the water itself. And all of a sudden, the audience's pcervepiste changes. It becomes something mlalcaigy lgrae. It becomes the ronatrism. The masked atcors, the puppeteers, they disappear, and the acediune makes that leap into this world, into this imaginary world of "The Tempest" actually happening. Now the difference when I went and did it in the cinema, I started the actual movie with a close-up of a sand castle, a black sand castle, and what cinema can do is, by using camera, perspective, and also long shots and close-ups, it started on a close-up of the sand castle, and as it pulled away, you saw that it was a miniature sitintg in the palm of the girl's hands. And so I could play with the muiedm, and why I move from one medium to another is to be able to do this. Now I'm going to take you to "Spider-Man." (Music) (Video) Peter Parker: ♪ Standing on the precipice, I can soar away from this. ♪ JT: We're trying to do everything in live theater that you can't do in two dimensions in film and television. PP: ♪ Rise above yourself and take control. ♪ George Tsypin: We're looking at New York from a Spider-Man point of view. sipder Man is not bound by gravity. mathaatnn in the show is not bound by gravity either. PP: ♪ Be yourself and rise above it all. ♪ Ensemble: ♪ Sock! Pow! ♪ ♪ Slam! Scratch! ♪ Danny Ezralow: I don't want you to even think there's a choreographer. It's real, what's hppnaeing. I prefer you to see people moving, and you're going, "Whoa, what was that?" (Music) JT: If I give enough movmeent in the sculpture, and the actor mveos their head, you feel like it's alive. It's really comic book live. It's a ciomc book coming alive. (msuic) Bono: They're megoylohtis. They're modern myths, these comic book heroes. PP: ♪ They believe. ♪ (Screams) (Music) (Applause) JT: Ohhhh. What was that? Circus, rock 'n' roll, drama. What the hell are we doing up there on that stage? Well, one last story, very qickuly. After I was in that village, I crossed the lake, and I saw that the volcano was enitpurg on the other side, gnnuug Batur, and there was a dead vnlocao next to the live volcano. I didn't think I'd be swallowed by the volcano, and I am here. But it's very easy to clmib up, is it not? You hold on to the rtoos, you put your foot in the little rkcos and climb up there, and you get to the top, and I was with a good friend who was an actor, and we said, "Let's go up there. Let's see if we can come close to the edge of that live volcano." And we climbed up and we got to the very top, and we're on the edge, on this precipice, Roland disappears into the sulfur smoke at the volcano at the other end, and I'm up there alone on this incredible precipice. Did you hear the lricys? I'm on the prcpiicee looking down into a dead volcano to my left. To my right is sheer shale. It's coming off. I'm in thongs and sarongs. It was many years ago. And no hiking boots. And he's disappeared, this mad French gypsy actor, off in the smoke, and I realize, I can't go back the way that I've come. I can't. So I throw away my camera. I thorw away my thongs, and I looked at the line straight in front of me, and I got down on all fours like a cat, and I held with my knees to either side of this line in front of me, for 30 yards or 30 feet, I don't know. The wind was massively blowing, and the only way I could get to the other side was to look at the line straight in front of me. I know you've all been there. I'm in the clcbruie right now. It's my tiral by fire. It's my company's trials by fire. We sivrvue because our theme song is "Rise Above." Boy falls from the sky, rise above. It's right there in the palm of both of our hands, of all of my company's hands. I have betafiuul collaborators, and we as creators only get there all together. I know you understand that. And you just stay going forward, and then you see this extraordinary thing in front of your eyes. Thank you. (Applause)

Open Cloze

(Music) ["Oedipus Rex"] ["The Lion King"] ["Titus"] ["Frida"] ["The Magic Flute"] ["Across The Universe"] (Applause) _____ Taymor: Thank you. Thank you very much. That's a few samples of the theater, opera and _____ that I have done over the last 20 years. But what I'd like to begin with right now is to take you back to a moment that I went through in Indonesia, which is a seminal moment in my life and, like all myths, these stories need to be retold and told, lest we forget them. And when I'm in the turbulent times, as we know, that I am right now, through the crucible and the fire of ______________, which is what all of you do, actually. Anybody who creates knows there's that point where it hasn't quite become the phoenix or the burnt char. (Laughter) And I am right there on the edge, which I'll tell you about, another story. I want to go back to Indonesia where I was about 21, 22 years, a long time ago, on a fellowship. And I found myself, after two years there and performing and learning, on the ______ of Bali, on the edge of a crater, Gunung Batur. And I was in a village where there was an initiation ________ for the young men, a rite of passage. Little did I know that it was mine as well. And as I sat in this ______ ______ under this gigantic beringin ______ tree, in the dark, there was no electricity, just the full moon, down in this empty square, and I heard the most beautiful sounds, like a Charles Ives concert as I listened to the _______ music from all the different _________ that came for this once-every-five-years ceremony. And I thought I was alone in the dark under this tree. And all of a ______, out of the dark, from the other end of the square, I saw the _____ of mirrors lit by the moon. And these 20 old men who I'd seen before all of a sudden stood up in these full warrior ________ with the _________ and the spears, and no one was in the square, and I was hidden in the _______. No one was there, and they came out, and they did this incredible dance. "Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhahahahaha." And they moved their bodies and they came forward, and the lights bounced off these costumes. And I've been in theater since I was 11 years old, and performing, creating, and I went, "Who are they performing for with these _________ costumes, these extraordinary headdresses?" And I realized that they were performing for God, whatever that means. But somehow, it didn't ______ about the publicity. There was no money involved. It wasn't going to be written down. It was no news. And there were these __________ _______ that felt for me like an eternity as they performed. The next moment, as soon as they finished and disappeared into the shadows, a young man with a propane _______ came on, hung it up on a tree, set up a curtain. The _______ square was filled with hundreds of people. And they put on an opera all night long. Human beings needed the light. They needed the _____ to see. So what I gained and ________ from this incredible, seminal ______ in my life as a young ______ was that you must be true to what you believe as an artist all the way through, but you also have to be _____ that the audience is out there in our _____ at this time, and they also need the light. And it's this incredible balance that I think that we walk when we are creating something that is breaking ground, that's trying to do something you've never seen before, that imaginary world where you actually don't know where you're going to end up, that's the fine line on the edge of a crater that I have walked my whole life. What I would like to do now is to tell you a little bit about how I work. Let's take "The Lion King." You saw many examples of my work up there, but it's one that ______ know. I start with the ______ of the ideograph. An ideograph is like a brush ________, a Japanese brush painting. Three _______, you get the whole bamboo forest. I go to the concept of "The Lion King" and I say, "What is the _______ of it? What is the abstraction? If I were to reduce this entire story into one image, what would it be?" The circle. The circle. It's so obvious. The ______ of life. The circle of Mufasa's mask. The circle that, when we come to Act II and there's a drought, how do you express drought? It's a circle of silk on the floor that disappears into the hole in the stage floor. The circle of life comes in the wheels of the gazelles that leap. And you see the mechanics. And being a theater ______, what I know and love about the theater is that when the audience comes in and they suspend their disbelief, when you see men walking or women walking with a _______ of grass on their heads, you know it's the savanna. You don't question that. I love the apparent truth of theater. I love that people are willing to fill in the blanks. The audience is willing to say, "Oh, I know that's not a real sun. You took pieces of sticks. You _____ silk to the bottom. You _________ these pieces. You let it fall flat on the _____. And as it rises with the strings, I see that it's a sun. But the beauty of it is that it's just silk and sticks. And in a way, that is what makes it spiritual. That's what moves you. It's not the actual literal sunrise that's ______. It's the art of it. So in the theater, as much as the story is critical and the book and the language, the _______ of the story, how it's told, the _________, the methods that you use, is _____ to the story itself. And I'm one who loves high tech and low tech. So I could go from — For ________, I'll show you some "Spider-Man" later, these incredible machines that move people along. But the fact is, without the dancer who knows how to use his body and _____ on those wires, it's nothing. So now I'm going to show you some clips from the other big project of my life this year, "The Tempest." It's a movie. I did "The Tempest" on a stage three _____ in the theater since 1984, '86, and I love the play. I did it always with a male ________. And all of a sudden, I thought, "Well, who am I gonna get to play Prospero? Why not Helen Mirren? She's a great actor. Why not?" And this material really did work for a _____ equally as well. So now, let's take a look at some of the ______ from "The Tempest." (Music) (Video) Prospera: Hast thou, ______, performed to the point the tempest that I bade thee? Ariel: I boarded the king's ship. In every cabin, I flamed amazement. Prospera: At first sight, they have changed eyes. Miranda: Do you love me? Ferdinand: Beyond all _____. HM: They are both in either's powers. Trinculo: ______ acquaints a man with _______ __________. (Music) Looking for business, ________? Caliban: Hast thou not dropped from heaven? Stephano: Out of the moon, I do ______ thee. Prospera: Caliban! Caliban: This island is mine. Prospera: For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps. Antonio: Here lies your _______ no better than the earth he lies upon. Sebastian: Draw thy _____. And I, the king, shall love thee. Prospera: I will plague them all, even to roaring. Ariel: I have made you mad. Prospera: We are such _____ as dreams are made on. and our little life is rounded with a sleep. (Music) JT: Okay. (Applause) So I went from theater, doing "The Tempest" on the _____ in a very low-budget production many _____ ago, and I love the play, and I also think it's Shakespeare's last play, and it really lends itself, as you can see, to cinema. But I'm just going to give you a little example about how one stages it in theater and then how one takes that same idea or story and moves it into cinema. The ideograph that I talked to you about before, what is it for "The Tempest"? What, if I were to boil it down, would be the one image that I could hang my hat on for this? And it was the sand castle, the idea of _______ versus nature, that we build these civilizations — she speaks about it at the end, Helen Mirren's Prospera — we build them, but under nature, under the grand tempest, these cloud-capped towers, these gorgeous palaces will fade and there will — leave not a rack behind. So in the _______, I started the play, it was a black sand rake, white cyc, and there was a little girl, Miranda, on the _______, building a drip ______, a sand castle. And as she was there on the edge of that stage, two __________ all in black with watering cans ran along the top and started to pour water on the sand castle, and the sand castle started to drip and sink, but before it did, the audience saw the black-clad stagehands. The medium was apparent. It was banal. We saw it. But as they started to pour the water, the light changed from showing you the black-clad stagehands to focusing, this rough magic that we do in theater, it _______ right on the water itself. And all of a sudden, the audience's ___________ changes. It becomes something _________ _____. It becomes the _________. The masked ______, the puppeteers, they disappear, and the ________ makes that leap into this world, into this imaginary world of "The Tempest" actually happening. Now the difference when I went and did it in the cinema, I started the actual movie with a close-up of a sand castle, a black sand castle, and what cinema can do is, by using camera, perspective, and also long shots and close-ups, it started on a close-up of the sand castle, and as it pulled away, you saw that it was a miniature _______ in the palm of the girl's hands. And so I could play with the ______, and why I move from one medium to another is to be able to do this. Now I'm going to take you to "Spider-Man." (Music) (Video) Peter Parker: ♪ Standing on the precipice, I can soar away from this. ♪ JT: We're trying to do everything in live theater that you can't do in two dimensions in film and television. PP: ♪ Rise above yourself and take control. ♪ George Tsypin: We're looking at New York from a Spider-Man point of view. ______ Man is not bound by gravity. _________ in the show is not bound by gravity either. PP: ♪ Be yourself and rise above it all. ♪ Ensemble: ♪ Sock! Pow! ♪ ♪ Slam! Scratch! ♪ Danny Ezralow: I don't want you to even think there's a choreographer. It's real, what's _________. I prefer you to see people moving, and you're going, "Whoa, what was that?" (Music) JT: If I give enough ________ in the sculpture, and the actor _____ their head, you feel like it's alive. It's really comic book live. It's a _____ book coming alive. (_____) Bono: They're ___________. They're modern myths, these comic book heroes. PP: ♪ They believe. ♪ (Screams) (Music) (Applause) JT: Ohhhh. What was that? Circus, rock 'n' roll, drama. What the hell are we doing up there on that stage? Well, one last story, very _______. After I was in that village, I crossed the lake, and I saw that the volcano was ________ on the other side, ______ Batur, and there was a dead _______ next to the live volcano. I didn't think I'd be swallowed by the volcano, and I am here. But it's very easy to _____ up, is it not? You hold on to the _____, you put your foot in the little _____ and climb up there, and you get to the top, and I was with a good friend who was an actor, and we said, "Let's go up there. Let's see if we can come close to the edge of that live volcano." And we climbed up and we got to the very top, and we're on the edge, on this precipice, Roland disappears into the sulfur smoke at the volcano at the other end, and I'm up there alone on this incredible precipice. Did you hear the ______? I'm on the _________ looking down into a dead volcano to my left. To my right is sheer shale. It's coming off. I'm in thongs and sarongs. It was many years ago. And no hiking boots. And he's disappeared, this mad French gypsy actor, off in the smoke, and I realize, I can't go back the way that I've come. I can't. So I throw away my camera. I _____ away my thongs, and I looked at the line straight in front of me, and I got down on all fours like a cat, and I held with my knees to either side of this line in front of me, for 30 yards or 30 feet, I don't know. The wind was massively blowing, and the only way I could get to the other side was to look at the line straight in front of me. I know you've all been there. I'm in the ________ right now. It's my _____ by fire. It's my company's trials by fire. We _______ because our theme song is "Rise Above." Boy falls from the sky, rise above. It's right there in the palm of both of our hands, of all of my company's hands. I have _________ collaborators, and we as creators only get there all together. I know you understand that. And you just stay going forward, and then you see this extraordinary thing in front of your eyes. Thank you. (Applause)

Solution

  1. swing
  2. strange
  3. incredible
  4. banyan
  5. lyrics
  6. temple
  7. nurture
  8. assure
  9. island
  10. headdress
  11. painting
  12. gunung
  13. climb
  14. years
  15. costumes
  16. movement
  17. light
  18. glint
  19. sitting
  20. strokes
  21. essence
  22. gamelan
  23. actors
  24. comic
  25. misery
  26. sword
  27. added
  28. films
  29. lives
  30. notion
  31. moment
  32. spirit
  33. sudden
  34. suspended
  35. people
  36. survive
  37. volcano
  38. instance
  39. bedfellows
  40. medium
  41. elaborate
  42. stuff
  43. music
  44. circle
  45. rocks
  46. villagers
  47. person
  48. platter
  49. aware
  50. large
  51. lantern
  52. governor
  53. telling
  54. mythologies
  55. images
  56. quickly
  57. throw
  58. julie
  59. times
  60. equal
  61. floor
  62. shadows
  63. manhattan
  64. theater
  65. artists
  66. happening
  67. audience
  68. coming
  69. focused
  70. castle
  71. ceremony
  72. woman
  73. roots
  74. limit
  75. precipice
  76. matter
  77. stagehands
  78. mechanics
  79. horizon
  80. magically
  81. beautiful
  82. trial
  83. brother
  84. crucible
  85. artist
  86. spider
  87. perspective
  88. prospero
  89. gathered
  90. moves
  91. village
  92. rainstorm
  93. erupting
  94. stage
  95. square
  96. transformation

Original Text

(Music) ["Oedipus Rex"] ["The Lion King"] ["Titus"] ["Frida"] ["The Magic Flute"] ["Across The Universe"] (Applause) Julie Taymor: Thank you. Thank you very much. That's a few samples of the theater, opera and films that I have done over the last 20 years. But what I'd like to begin with right now is to take you back to a moment that I went through in Indonesia, which is a seminal moment in my life and, like all myths, these stories need to be retold and told, lest we forget them. And when I'm in the turbulent times, as we know, that I am right now, through the crucible and the fire of transformation, which is what all of you do, actually. Anybody who creates knows there's that point where it hasn't quite become the phoenix or the burnt char. (Laughter) And I am right there on the edge, which I'll tell you about, another story. I want to go back to Indonesia where I was about 21, 22 years, a long time ago, on a fellowship. And I found myself, after two years there and performing and learning, on the island of Bali, on the edge of a crater, Gunung Batur. And I was in a village where there was an initiation ceremony for the young men, a rite of passage. Little did I know that it was mine as well. And as I sat in this temple square under this gigantic beringin banyan tree, in the dark, there was no electricity, just the full moon, down in this empty square, and I heard the most beautiful sounds, like a Charles Ives concert as I listened to the gamelan music from all the different villagers that came for this once-every-five-years ceremony. And I thought I was alone in the dark under this tree. And all of a sudden, out of the dark, from the other end of the square, I saw the glint of mirrors lit by the moon. And these 20 old men who I'd seen before all of a sudden stood up in these full warrior costumes with the headdress and the spears, and no one was in the square, and I was hidden in the shadows. No one was there, and they came out, and they did this incredible dance. "Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhahahahaha." And they moved their bodies and they came forward, and the lights bounced off these costumes. And I've been in theater since I was 11 years old, and performing, creating, and I went, "Who are they performing for with these elaborate costumes, these extraordinary headdresses?" And I realized that they were performing for God, whatever that means. But somehow, it didn't matter about the publicity. There was no money involved. It wasn't going to be written down. It was no news. And there were these incredible artists that felt for me like an eternity as they performed. The next moment, as soon as they finished and disappeared into the shadows, a young man with a propane lantern came on, hung it up on a tree, set up a curtain. The village square was filled with hundreds of people. And they put on an opera all night long. Human beings needed the light. They needed the light to see. So what I gained and gathered from this incredible, seminal moment in my life as a young artist was that you must be true to what you believe as an artist all the way through, but you also have to be aware that the audience is out there in our lives at this time, and they also need the light. And it's this incredible balance that I think that we walk when we are creating something that is breaking ground, that's trying to do something you've never seen before, that imaginary world where you actually don't know where you're going to end up, that's the fine line on the edge of a crater that I have walked my whole life. What I would like to do now is to tell you a little bit about how I work. Let's take "The Lion King." You saw many examples of my work up there, but it's one that people know. I start with the notion of the ideograph. An ideograph is like a brush painting, a Japanese brush painting. Three strokes, you get the whole bamboo forest. I go to the concept of "The Lion King" and I say, "What is the essence of it? What is the abstraction? If I were to reduce this entire story into one image, what would it be?" The circle. The circle. It's so obvious. The circle of life. The circle of Mufasa's mask. The circle that, when we come to Act II and there's a drought, how do you express drought? It's a circle of silk on the floor that disappears into the hole in the stage floor. The circle of life comes in the wheels of the gazelles that leap. And you see the mechanics. And being a theater person, what I know and love about the theater is that when the audience comes in and they suspend their disbelief, when you see men walking or women walking with a platter of grass on their heads, you know it's the savanna. You don't question that. I love the apparent truth of theater. I love that people are willing to fill in the blanks. The audience is willing to say, "Oh, I know that's not a real sun. You took pieces of sticks. You added silk to the bottom. You suspended these pieces. You let it fall flat on the floor. And as it rises with the strings, I see that it's a sun. But the beauty of it is that it's just silk and sticks. And in a way, that is what makes it spiritual. That's what moves you. It's not the actual literal sunrise that's coming. It's the art of it. So in the theater, as much as the story is critical and the book and the language, the telling of the story, how it's told, the mechanics, the methods that you use, is equal to the story itself. And I'm one who loves high tech and low tech. So I could go from — For instance, I'll show you some "Spider-Man" later, these incredible machines that move people along. But the fact is, without the dancer who knows how to use his body and swing on those wires, it's nothing. So now I'm going to show you some clips from the other big project of my life this year, "The Tempest." It's a movie. I did "The Tempest" on a stage three times in the theater since 1984, '86, and I love the play. I did it always with a male Prospero. And all of a sudden, I thought, "Well, who am I gonna get to play Prospero? Why not Helen Mirren? She's a great actor. Why not?" And this material really did work for a woman equally as well. So now, let's take a look at some of the images from "The Tempest." (Music) (Video) Prospera: Hast thou, spirit, performed to the point the tempest that I bade thee? Ariel: I boarded the king's ship. In every cabin, I flamed amazement. Prospera: At first sight, they have changed eyes. Miranda: Do you love me? Ferdinand: Beyond all limit. HM: They are both in either's powers. Trinculo: Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows. (Music) Looking for business, governor? Caliban: Hast thou not dropped from heaven? Stephano: Out of the moon, I do assure thee. Prospera: Caliban! Caliban: This island is mine. Prospera: For this, be sure, tonight thou shalt have cramps. Antonio: Here lies your brother no better than the earth he lies upon. Sebastian: Draw thy sword. And I, the king, shall love thee. Prospera: I will plague them all, even to roaring. Ariel: I have made you mad. Prospera: We are such stuff as dreams are made on. and our little life is rounded with a sleep. (Music) JT: Okay. (Applause) So I went from theater, doing "The Tempest" on the stage in a very low-budget production many years ago, and I love the play, and I also think it's Shakespeare's last play, and it really lends itself, as you can see, to cinema. But I'm just going to give you a little example about how one stages it in theater and then how one takes that same idea or story and moves it into cinema. The ideograph that I talked to you about before, what is it for "The Tempest"? What, if I were to boil it down, would be the one image that I could hang my hat on for this? And it was the sand castle, the idea of nurture versus nature, that we build these civilizations — she speaks about it at the end, Helen Mirren's Prospera — we build them, but under nature, under the grand tempest, these cloud-capped towers, these gorgeous palaces will fade and there will — leave not a rack behind. So in the theater, I started the play, it was a black sand rake, white cyc, and there was a little girl, Miranda, on the horizon, building a drip castle, a sand castle. And as she was there on the edge of that stage, two stagehands all in black with watering cans ran along the top and started to pour water on the sand castle, and the sand castle started to drip and sink, but before it did, the audience saw the black-clad stagehands. The medium was apparent. It was banal. We saw it. But as they started to pour the water, the light changed from showing you the black-clad stagehands to focusing, this rough magic that we do in theater, it focused right on the water itself. And all of a sudden, the audience's perspective changes. It becomes something magically large. It becomes the rainstorm. The masked actors, the puppeteers, they disappear, and the audience makes that leap into this world, into this imaginary world of "The Tempest" actually happening. Now the difference when I went and did it in the cinema, I started the actual movie with a close-up of a sand castle, a black sand castle, and what cinema can do is, by using camera, perspective, and also long shots and close-ups, it started on a close-up of the sand castle, and as it pulled away, you saw that it was a miniature sitting in the palm of the girl's hands. And so I could play with the medium, and why I move from one medium to another is to be able to do this. Now I'm going to take you to "Spider-Man." (Music) (Video) Peter Parker: ♪ Standing on the precipice, I can soar away from this. ♪ JT: We're trying to do everything in live theater that you can't do in two dimensions in film and television. PP: ♪ Rise above yourself and take control. ♪ George Tsypin: We're looking at New York from a Spider-Man point of view. Spider Man is not bound by gravity. Manhattan in the show is not bound by gravity either. PP: ♪ Be yourself and rise above it all. ♪ Ensemble: ♪ Sock! Pow! ♪ ♪ Slam! Scratch! ♪ Danny Ezralow: I don't want you to even think there's a choreographer. It's real, what's happening. I prefer you to see people moving, and you're going, "Whoa, what was that?" (Music) JT: If I give enough movement in the sculpture, and the actor moves their head, you feel like it's alive. It's really comic book live. It's a comic book coming alive. (Music) Bono: They're mythologies. They're modern myths, these comic book heroes. PP: ♪ They believe. ♪ (Screams) (Music) (Applause) JT: Ohhhh. What was that? Circus, rock 'n' roll, drama. What the hell are we doing up there on that stage? Well, one last story, very quickly. After I was in that village, I crossed the lake, and I saw that the volcano was erupting on the other side, Gunung Batur, and there was a dead volcano next to the live volcano. I didn't think I'd be swallowed by the volcano, and I am here. But it's very easy to climb up, is it not? You hold on to the roots, you put your foot in the little rocks and climb up there, and you get to the top, and I was with a good friend who was an actor, and we said, "Let's go up there. Let's see if we can come close to the edge of that live volcano." And we climbed up and we got to the very top, and we're on the edge, on this precipice, Roland disappears into the sulfur smoke at the volcano at the other end, and I'm up there alone on this incredible precipice. Did you hear the lyrics? I'm on the precipice looking down into a dead volcano to my left. To my right is sheer shale. It's coming off. I'm in thongs and sarongs. It was many years ago. And no hiking boots. And he's disappeared, this mad French gypsy actor, off in the smoke, and I realize, I can't go back the way that I've come. I can't. So I throw away my camera. I throw away my thongs, and I looked at the line straight in front of me, and I got down on all fours like a cat, and I held with my knees to either side of this line in front of me, for 30 yards or 30 feet, I don't know. The wind was massively blowing, and the only way I could get to the other side was to look at the line straight in front of me. I know you've all been there. I'm in the crucible right now. It's my trial by fire. It's my company's trials by fire. We survive because our theme song is "Rise Above." Boy falls from the sky, rise above. It's right there in the palm of both of our hands, of all of my company's hands. I have beautiful collaborators, and we as creators only get there all together. I know you understand that. And you just stay going forward, and then you see this extraordinary thing in front of your eyes. Thank you. (Applause)

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
comic book 3
seminal moment 2
imaginary world 2
black sand 2
sand castle 2
dead volcano 2
line straight 2

Important Words

  1. abstraction
  2. acquaints
  3. act
  4. actor
  5. actors
  6. actual
  7. added
  8. alive
  9. amazement
  10. apparent
  11. applause
  12. art
  13. artist
  14. artists
  15. assure
  16. audience
  17. aware
  18. bade
  19. balance
  20. bali
  21. bamboo
  22. banal
  23. banyan
  24. batur
  25. beautiful
  26. beauty
  27. bedfellows
  28. beings
  29. beringin
  30. big
  31. bit
  32. black
  33. blanks
  34. blowing
  35. boarded
  36. bodies
  37. body
  38. boil
  39. book
  40. boots
  41. bottom
  42. bounced
  43. bound
  44. boy
  45. breaking
  46. brother
  47. brush
  48. build
  49. building
  50. burnt
  51. business
  52. cabin
  53. camera
  54. cans
  55. castle
  56. cat
  57. ceremony
  58. changed
  59. char
  60. charles
  61. choreographer
  62. cinema
  63. circle
  64. circus
  65. civilizations
  66. climb
  67. climbed
  68. clips
  69. close
  70. collaborators
  71. comic
  72. coming
  73. concept
  74. concert
  75. control
  76. costumes
  77. cramps
  78. crater
  79. creates
  80. creating
  81. creators
  82. critical
  83. crossed
  84. crucible
  85. curtain
  86. cyc
  87. dance
  88. dancer
  89. danny
  90. dark
  91. dead
  92. difference
  93. dimensions
  94. disappear
  95. disappeared
  96. disappears
  97. disbelief
  98. drama
  99. draw
  100. dreams
  101. drip
  102. dropped
  103. drought
  104. earth
  105. easy
  106. edge
  107. elaborate
  108. electricity
  109. empty
  110. entire
  111. equal
  112. equally
  113. erupting
  114. essence
  115. eternity
  116. examples
  117. express
  118. extraordinary
  119. eyes
  120. fact
  121. fade
  122. fall
  123. falls
  124. feel
  125. feet
  126. fellowship
  127. felt
  128. fill
  129. filled
  130. film
  131. films
  132. fine
  133. finished
  134. fire
  135. flamed
  136. flat
  137. floor
  138. focused
  139. focusing
  140. foot
  141. forest
  142. forget
  143. fours
  144. french
  145. friend
  146. front
  147. full
  148. gained
  149. gamelan
  150. gathered
  151. gazelles
  152. george
  153. gigantic
  154. girl
  155. give
  156. glint
  157. god
  158. gonna
  159. good
  160. gorgeous
  161. governor
  162. grand
  163. grass
  164. gravity
  165. great
  166. ground
  167. gunung
  168. gypsy
  169. hands
  170. hang
  171. happening
  172. hast
  173. hat
  174. head
  175. headdress
  176. headdresses
  177. heads
  178. hear
  179. heard
  180. heaven
  181. held
  182. helen
  183. hell
  184. heroes
  185. hidden
  186. high
  187. hiking
  188. hold
  189. hole
  190. horizon
  191. human
  192. hundreds
  193. hung
  194. idea
  195. ideograph
  196. ii
  197. image
  198. images
  199. imaginary
  200. incredible
  201. indonesia
  202. initiation
  203. instance
  204. involved
  205. island
  206. ives
  207. japanese
  208. julie
  209. king
  210. knees
  211. lake
  212. language
  213. lantern
  214. large
  215. laughter
  216. leap
  217. learning
  218. leave
  219. left
  220. lends
  221. lies
  222. life
  223. light
  224. lights
  225. limit
  226. line
  227. lion
  228. listened
  229. lit
  230. literal
  231. live
  232. lives
  233. long
  234. looked
  235. love
  236. loves
  237. lyrics
  238. machines
  239. mad
  240. magic
  241. magically
  242. male
  243. man
  244. manhattan
  245. mask
  246. masked
  247. massively
  248. material
  249. matter
  250. means
  251. mechanics
  252. medium
  253. men
  254. methods
  255. miniature
  256. miranda
  257. mirren
  258. mirrors
  259. misery
  260. modern
  261. moment
  262. money
  263. moon
  264. move
  265. moved
  266. movement
  267. moves
  268. movie
  269. moving
  270. music
  271. mythologies
  272. myths
  273. nature
  274. needed
  275. news
  276. night
  277. notion
  278. nurture
  279. obvious
  280. ohhhh
  281. opera
  282. painting
  283. palaces
  284. palm
  285. passage
  286. people
  287. performed
  288. performing
  289. person
  290. perspective
  291. peter
  292. phoenix
  293. pieces
  294. plague
  295. platter
  296. play
  297. point
  298. pour
  299. powers
  300. precipice
  301. prefer
  302. production
  303. project
  304. propane
  305. prospera
  306. prospero
  307. publicity
  308. pulled
  309. puppeteers
  310. put
  311. question
  312. quickly
  313. rack
  314. rainstorm
  315. rake
  316. ran
  317. real
  318. realize
  319. realized
  320. reduce
  321. retold
  322. rise
  323. rises
  324. rite
  325. roaring
  326. rock
  327. rocks
  328. roland
  329. roll
  330. roots
  331. rough
  332. rounded
  333. samples
  334. sand
  335. sarongs
  336. sat
  337. savanna
  338. screams
  339. sculpture
  340. seminal
  341. set
  342. shadows
  343. shale
  344. shalt
  345. sheer
  346. ship
  347. shots
  348. show
  349. showing
  350. side
  351. sight
  352. silk
  353. sink
  354. sitting
  355. sky
  356. sleep
  357. smoke
  358. soar
  359. song
  360. sounds
  361. speaks
  362. spears
  363. spider
  364. spirit
  365. spiritual
  366. square
  367. stage
  368. stagehands
  369. stages
  370. standing
  371. start
  372. started
  373. stay
  374. sticks
  375. stood
  376. stories
  377. story
  378. straight
  379. strange
  380. strings
  381. strokes
  382. stuff
  383. sudden
  384. sulfur
  385. sun
  386. sunrise
  387. survive
  388. suspend
  389. suspended
  390. swallowed
  391. swing
  392. sword
  393. takes
  394. talked
  395. tech
  396. television
  397. telling
  398. tempest
  399. temple
  400. theater
  401. thee
  402. theme
  403. thongs
  404. thou
  405. thought
  406. throw
  407. thy
  408. time
  409. times
  410. told
  411. tonight
  412. top
  413. towers
  414. transformation
  415. tree
  416. trial
  417. trials
  418. true
  419. truth
  420. turbulent
  421. understand
  422. video
  423. view
  424. village
  425. villagers
  426. volcano
  427. walk
  428. walked
  429. walking
  430. warrior
  431. water
  432. watering
  433. wheels
  434. white
  435. wind
  436. wires
  437. woman
  438. women
  439. work
  440. world
  441. written
  442. yards
  443. year
  444. years
  445. york
  446. young