Bio:
David Murakami is a projection designer and film director focused on the union between the cinematic and theatrical. Recent productions include Everest at Dallas Opera, Elektra at Minnesota Opera, Luis Valdez’ Zoot Suit and Valley of the Heart at the Mark Taper Forum, Singin’ in the Rain with McCoy Rigby, Sense and Sensibility at South Coast Repertory, and Gordon Getty’s Scare Pair at LA Opera Off Grand. Other design credits include Opera Parallèle's Dead Man Walking, Champion, Les Enfants Terribles, Heart of Darkness, and Little Prince; Minnesota Opera’s Das Rheingold, and Flight; the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s Daphnis et Chloé, and several musicals aboard Princess Cruises’ flagship Royal-class vessels. Other companies include Opéra de Montréal, San Jose Repertory Theater, SFJazz, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Atlanta Opera, Presidio Theatre, Arizona Opera, Skylight Theatre, and Riyadh Season. David is a proud member of United Scenic Artists 829 and teaches projection design at the University of California, Irvine. 
Artist Statement:
As a projection designer, I consider myself as a trespasser, questioning the barriers we erect between media and passionately pursuing new technologies as they intersect in film, theatre, and opera. However, my eagerness to destroy is built upon a purpose of preservation. The integration of digital media and traditional theatre is at once inevitable and impossible. Vast new possibilities are opened up by imposing the digital upon the stage, replacing sets, costumes, props, and even bodies. Though seen by many as the salvation for live performance, the cinematic is, at its core, incompatible with the theatrical. In theatre, we know nothing is real. The actor plays the character. The set represents the place. Nothing is itself…until projections are introduced. The photorealism bypasses the dramatic and is elevated to the dogmatic, much like the director’s statement in the playbill. Projections are both gilded and gelded by the real.

My work serves to conquer this disunion, using new technologies not as fetishized spectacles, but as integrated and borderless scenic elements, supporting and honoring the essential traditions of theatre and opera. As Herbert Blau says in Blooded Thought, “the one inalienable and arcane truth of theatre [is] that the living person performing there may die in front of your eyes, and is in fact doing so.” My work is defined in its own destruction, through fragmentation, negative space, mutability by live gesture, and an abandonment of screens in favor of ghosted and fully immersive projections which can be obscured, bled out, and interrupted. I give my projections a body so that they may die. I walk the line between conqueror and custodian, heathen and acolyte, and am governed above all by an uncompromising passion for the ephemerality of live performance.
Steadicam filming for Presidio Theatre's Magic Lamp
Steadicam filming for Presidio Theatre's Magic Lamp
Filming for Minnesota Opera's Elektra
Filming for Minnesota Opera's Elektra
Celebration Theatre's Buyer and Cellar
Celebration Theatre's Buyer and Cellar
Danny Pudi's RUNNING
Danny Pudi's RUNNING
SFJazz's production of Golden City Suite
SFJazz's production of Golden City Suite
San Jose La Ultima Parada
San Jose La Ultima Parada
Filming for Opera Parallèle's La Belle et la Bête
Filming for Opera Parallèle's La Belle et la Bête
B.R.O.K.E.N code B.I.R.D switching at the Berkshire Theatre Festival
B.R.O.K.E.N code B.I.R.D switching at the Berkshire Theatre Festival
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