What is a Kabuki Drop and why are they important? We have several blog posts about what the literal meaning of a kabuki, but what does a kabuki do for a fan in the audience? Instead of giving you the nerdy theatrical/production terms of what a kabuki is, I want to give you, the reader, a little snippet of what the Kabuki means for me, the fan.
Back in November I had the privilege of going to one of the hottest country tickets in town-Eric Church. Many of my co-workers know that country music is not one of the genres of music I particularly enjoy even though I am from the actual Cowboy State and grew up in the town founded by the original wild west cowboy entertainer Buffalo Bill Cody. But there are some artists and bands in the country genre that I enjoy – especially in a live performance – and Eric Church is definitely one of them.
For me, though, seeing a live show is more than just the music. Sometimes it’s worth going to a show to be entertained not just by the music, but also by the production design and the infinite people watching, which for this show, was a complete gold mine in both regards. Not only was I surrounded by California ‘Cowboys’ drinking loads of beer while going crazy over pyro, but I was also surrounded by the talented production crew who took me under their wing for the night and gave me the behind the scenes look at what they had in store for fans before the show had even begun.
I loved seeing in action the large Kabuki drapes that we made for the tour – one large Kabuki at 38′ h x 60′ w along with 2 smaller ones at 38′ h x 17′ w, all in lightweight FR Black Rip Stop. Amidst the flames, the beer, the wild crowd, the lasers, the fog machines, the backdrop changes, and the speaker stacks that had the power to thud a fat man’s heart attack back into rhythm, the kabuki gracefully floats in to bring an instant calm over the crowd for a lovely acoustical interlude that was sure to make all the girls feel like Eric was singing directly to their broken heart strings. A kabuki creates a visual barrier, as well as an emotional one. It’s a seducer of a drape. It creates mystery. It provokes curiosity and heightens expectation.
The other awesome thing about Kabuki drops is that they have a plethora of uses. They can be projected on (front or rear projection), lit from the bottom, lit from the top, lit from behind, They can be used just to mask off an area, or mask off the band to create a shadow effect. Kabukis create distinct visual transitions and tensions for the musical journey of the show so that the artist and his production team can better harness the power of the fan’s emotions and make the night that much more memorable.
A Kabuki is a simple drape, but sometimes simple is all the power you need.