Offering a welcome diversion from the monotony of winter in a pandemic, a light show at the Hatch Memorial Shell in Back Bay is providing a bright spot for spectators. In honor of 20 years of partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Esplanade Association (EA) is presenting “Hatched: Breaking through the Silence,” a four-week visual-auditory experience at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell.
The outdoor concert venue, located on the Charles River, is characterized by its art deco style, an architectural style defined by geometric forms, and its semicircular arch design. The modern architecture is complemented by the light show, which was carefully planned to accentuate the dome’s circular construction.
The colorful projections on the dome include geometric shapes and animated objects, such as clapping hands and beating drums, which are accompanied by a complementary soundtrack.
“My favorite projected image was of the clapping hands,” said Susan Clancy, a Boston native. “[The show] was synchronized with the music, and even the audience joined in [with clapping].”
This new exhibit, which premiered on Jan. 22, was developed by MF Dynamics, a design team led by Maria Finkelmeier and composed primarily of women, according to the EA website. The final product created a COVID-safe outdoor exhibition.
“I feel completely safe attending this show,” said Clancy. “The audience stands in a spacious field, listening to the music on their own phones. It’s so great we have an opportunity to enjoy art together again.”
The 15-minute music composition, which is accessible through individual smartphones, is distinguished by sounds of marimba, strings, drums, and clapping. In order to listen to the musical accompaniment, viewers are able to scan a QR code, and social distancing is ensured by both the size of the venue and viewers accessing the audio accompaniment from their personal devices.
According to the EA website, the soundtrack was composed by Finkelmeier and recorded by local artists, including Steph Davis, Ashleigh Gordon, Francesca McNeeley, Rachel Panitch, and Brittany Karlson.
“This is a tech city,” Janet Shepherd, another spectator from Dorchester, Mass., said. “It makes sense to expect people to be able to access the show through smartphones.”
The Hatch Shell Oval Lawn is spacious enough for spectators to safely view and follow social distancing precautions.
“The idea was to give us a respite from the terrible winter and the awful pandemic,” said Boston resident Mary Jane Patrone. “It was safe and lovely.”
Attending the show is free of charge, and no reservations are necessary. The light show, which runs through Feb. 21 takes place between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. every night, scheduled in 20 minute intervals to provide multiple opportunities to view the spectacle.
“It’s so nice to see so many neighbors and children enjoying this exhibition in the winter,” said Patrone.
Featured Image by Elinor Ketelhohn / Heights Staff