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The University of Notre Dame's Department of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) in conjunction with The Builders Association, a media and performance company based in New York City, announced their temporary site-specific theater, designed to host nine performances of Jessica Chalmers' play Avanti: A Postindustrial Ghost Story in the fall of 2004. The former Deluxe Sheet Metal Factory in downtown South Bend was transformed using screens, video projections and objects, to make them look and feel like old Studebaker factories, which were empty from the early 1960s. Located adjacent to the Grand Hall of Union Station, the factory-turned-theater space held 70 seats and incorporated actual relics from the Studebaker factories into its set design. Unlike traditional theater, in which the set is situated on a raised stage that separates the audience from the production, performances of Avanti took place directly on the floor of the Sheet Metal Factory. Chalmers added, "In Avanti, the factory is filled with lingering memories and troubled souls who don't want the past to end. These characters are surrounded by abandoned automotive debris and pools of corrosive chemicals, but; they don't see the wasteland the plant has become. Instead, they dream of the sleek, new car, the Avanti and remember the days when Raymond Loewy walked among them. Staging South Bend's Ghost Story
Deluxe Sheet Metal Factory
Avanti: An Original Multimedia Theater Production by Jessica Chalmers.
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