Director piggybacks promotion with TCG video jacket

In the jam-packed week of Theaterpalooza, Unbound Productions’ co-artistic director Jonathan Josephson knew he would need a way to catch people’s attention for the short run of his company’s update of Mark Twain’s “A Ghost Story.” So he thought of the TCG conference theme – “Why not?” – and commissioned a fully-wired jacket with a video screen on his back, turning him into a walking, talking trailer for his show.

“We’re all about new ideas,” said Josephson. As he stood in the check-in hall for TCG, conference attendees slowed to view the clips from the show playing on his back. “People have been adjusting my shoulders to see it.”

The video jacket was created by Video Tattoo, a Santa Monica company that creates futuristic multimedia attire. For any future theater presenters looking to make a real statement, Engine 28 recommends the Silver Metal Jacket, which could be repurposed as a costume for any play set in outer space. Each jacket contains a digital screen that can loop up to four hours of video.

Josephson says his company has experimented with plenty of new-media ways to get the word out about their shows, but the video jacket is one of their more offbeat ideas. But even though the bright screen attracts plenty of eyeballs, old-fashioned promotional skills still came in handy: While talking to this reporter, the battery on Josephson’s video jacket ran out of juice, leaving him no choice but to shill his show the dead-tree way, with flyers.

The final two performances of “A Ghost Story” are tonight at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel tonight at 9 and 10 p.m. Read Ben Fulton’s review for Engine 28 here.