A.D. Player’s theater is a mainstay of the vibrant Houston theater scene. In recent years, A.D. Players has pushed the creative boundary by developing original plays meant to be seen in their state-of-the-art George Theater. And on this project, they shot for the moon – literally.
Apollo 8 is an original piece written by A.D. Player’s new executive director, Jayme McGhan, and starring the outgoing executive director, Jake Speck, and current artistic producer, Kevin Dean. The play features an ensemble cast of historical figures from Martin Luther King Jr. to Lyndon B. Johnson and, of course, the brave three astronauts who climbed into a hunk of metal named Apollo 8 and were the first human beings to leave earth’s orbit, fly around the moon, and return to earth.
A.D. Players had a great play, and our goal was to capture the spirit of the story. The story was about decades-old space exploration, adventure, and bravery. We didn’t have anyone from NASA on speed dial so the question was obvious; how do we get a sense of the story, when our filming location was restricted to the lobby of the George theater?
Using everything from reference images found on Pinterest to a little-known Orson Welles documentary for inspiration in the edit, we developed a visual style centered around the moon.
Our good friend and marketing director at A.D. Players, Jennifer Dean, put together a smattering of dialogues and monologues from the play which gave us the pieces we needed. A strong performance on the part of the actor playing Lyndon B. Johnson provided the through-line creating context and bookends to the promo.
Most video marketing for stage theaters lack cinematic punch. They end up being footage of the play, rather than arresting visuals meant to deliver the feeling of the play. As we do with all of our projects, we began this project by thinking in cinematic terms. In other words, instead of pushing the medium of stage performance through video, we give video center stage by leaning into what it does best. The result, as you see above, generates intrigue in the story and the power of the play.