you don’t need to be a gymnast, you just
need to be comfortable with your body. You can be fluid and move smoothly.
I can find an actor who can’t fly, and I could teach him how to fly.
Hi, I’m Paul Rubin, and I’m an aerial choreographer.
As an aerial photographer, I not only create and design and choreograph the
flying sequence that the actor is going to do.
I meet with a vendor to decide what equipment it’s going to take to achieve
that, and then I meet with the producers and the directors and the choreographers
to bring their vision to life. I’m brought in for shows that either fly
or simulate something that is flying-based, simulate swimming or just a
hanging. Anytime somebody’s feet leave the ground
or have to be off the ground for a period of time, they usually call me and say,
look, this is what we’re trying to do. How safe can we do it?
I think flying is statistically safer than dancing on stage.
There are more dancer accidents than there are flying accidents.
These are the fly wires. They’re 3 32nds of an inch.
They’re just a little bit thicker than pencil lead, but they’re a lot stronger.
Each one of these will hold roughly roughly a thousand pounds.
This is the harness that the actors wear, and this would sit right on their hip.
And this swivels, which it gives them the ability to somersaults, or they can lie
out like Superman, or they can dive down and create all of these amazing body
positions. And it’s a real easy connection.
This is the piece. Slides right into the harness like so.
And they’re hooked up. I started doing magic when I was eight
years old. And I was doing professional shows by the
time I was 11. I think being a magician and an
illusionist helped in creating flying sequences.
In the sense that you are able to suspend disbelief.
We all know that people really can’t fly, to create that you work with the actors
and motions and aerialography I call. It’s choreography in the air and when it
hit a certain point you just need to angle your body.
What are the hardest parts of, of making somebody fly, is making it look natural
but when you focus on the actor and have him or her work with the movement and
make it look like they’re motivating it, then it’s going to look smoother.
I’m working on this production of Joseph, it’s an original production.
It’s in a dream sequence, and what he does is he flies around the stars and the
sun and the moon. If your foot hits it, it still looks
cool, because you’re just melting right back into the rock.
During today’s rehearsal, I was finessing with the actor how to react to all of the
actions. Every time he would fly in one direction
and then he would have to turn around, we were finessing how to turn, how to make
every motion that he does natural. And this is where you dip down.
[MUSIC] Then you’ll come up. [MUSIC] Look at the star.
[MUSIC] Fly over to here, and now, when you start to turn, turn your shoulder and
lean into it. There you go.
As you back up, try and put your hands out like you’re slowing yourself down.
because if you were going backwards. It’s a little bit like a mime because
you’re miming what it would feel like to push off the air.
So I worked with him today on, on cleaning that up and giving them an
action and a reaction to all of the emotions so they don’t look like they’re
just hanging there. Cause nobody wants to see a piece of meat
in a nice techna colored coat on. I sit in the back of the house, or I sit
house left or right and I look at all the sight lines and make sure that whoever is
sitting where is seeing the same thing in a believeable form.
My first significant project I worked on Broadway was, Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby.
It was the quintessential show for a flying designer, because that’s what
you’re known for. Everybody knows flying is in Peter Pan.
And it was one of the most amazing, exhilarating feelings, because here you
are on Broadway, creating the sequence for the person that’s known for Peter
Pan. And I think, in my career that’s, one of
the biggest highlights. Well, for Wicked, I I worked directly
with Wayne the choreographer, because it was more towards the musical numbers.
So I gave him the foundation, he finessed it, and then I cleaned it up from his
idea. If it happens while there’s no music then
I deal more with the director. Working on curtains was an amazing
experience for me. I got to work with John Candor Scott
Ellis the director, but I also got a chance to work with David Hyde Pierce.
The effect that we had him do was pretty strenuous.
I’m sure he probably wouldn’t want to do it again.
But he was, he was very professional and, and very willing to, to do what it took
to make the effect work.>>[NOISE] It’s not only just the actors or the
director and choreographer I have to work with.
I have to work with the lighting designer, so when the person flies, we
have to make sure that you don’t see the wires.
I, I also deal a, a lot with the set designers because we don’t want the
actors either flying into scenery pieces or the wires actually getting caught.
And then I also have to work with the dressers cause the dressers have to help
the actors put on the harnesses. I have to work with the dance captain.
So when I leave a production, the dance captain is making sure that all the, the
artistic integrity is left with the show. So I, I actually pretty much go through
every department. I don’t go to work, I go to play.
I don’t have a job. It’s, it’s every theater I go to it’s
just a, a different playground that I get to play in.
And I really can’t see myself doing anything else. [MUSIC] [MUSIC]