Category: EK Product News

Fancy your EK with no strings attached? Let us know what you think.

We’re looking at options to take EK wireless – hence the ‘no strings attached’ headline. Should really be ‘no cables attached’, but you get the idea.

We already have EK users out there in entertainment land who have implemented their own wireless EK systems. Our friends at Wiltshire-based Quantum SFX developed their own control system based around our EK modules. They often deploy this wireless kabuki drop solution as part of their remit in staging prestigious events. If you need a pyrotechnics and special effects company to stage your event, give Quantum a call.

Our other options include developing our own wireless solution. A feasibility study is on our schedule. What we’d really like to know is the potential level of interest. We design and build EK modules and controllers. So no one knows the innermost details of Electro Kabuki engineering like us, which is why we’re favourably disposed to the notion of wireless.

What benefits does wireless control offer?

First, you get to dump all the cables. Aside from the rigging convenience this affords, it opens up opportunities to control your EK system from distances not practical with cables – like from half-a-kilometre away! Could be invaluable in a large arena or outdoor festival.

You also get to control every EK module independently. That permits fancy reveals like end-to-end, centre-out or outside-in drape peel and zip effects. Impressive.

Independent EK module control offers further advantages for theatre productions where props need to be dropped at selected points during a performance. Wireless EK lets you rig any number of single modules above a stage and release each one-at-a-time, right on cue. That’s sure to delight the audience.

Maybe there are applications we haven’t imagined. Please let us know how you’d use Wireless EK. We would welcome your feedback and will include your thoughts, observations and possible uses in our feasibility programme.

Great EK editorial coverage in Germany

Respected German publication, KEM Konstruktion, requested editorial information on Electro Kabuki for its Hannover Fair preview edition. The magazine covers equipment and technology used in staging, theatres, cinemas and product launches, so we were only too happy to oblige. Colleagues at our parent company in Germany – Magnet Schultz Memmingen – are exhibiting Electro Kabuki among the organisation’s electromechanical products and solutions on show at the trade fair.

The KEM article gave us a fine opportunity to explain the innovative engineering features in EK while providing some valuable additional awareness in a country known for its dynamic theatrical market and heritage.

You can check out the EK editorial coverage in KEM Konstruktion online or in the PDF version of the printed magazine also viewable online. You’ll need to scroll to page 44 for the latter. And you’ll need to be able to read German to understand either!

It’s worth pointing out that the Hannover Fair is the world’s leading trade event for industrial technology, and one of the largest too. This year it takes place at the Hannover Messe from 23rd to 27th April. If you’re able to visit the show, be sure to see the Electro Kabuki display on the MSM stand H07 in Hall 15.

Reveal up to 4 Thai Ladyboys with the new EK Firing Box!

A new basic firing box has been added to the EK accessory line-up. The 4-way box is only termed ‘basic’ because it deploys the straightforward push-button firing mechanism of the standard Basic Firing Box – but this new model offers the ability to fire up to four strings of EK modules, one string at a time, so there’s nothing ‘basic’ about that.

With simplicity in mind, the new firing box features a rotary switch to select each of the circuits.

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Get DMX Automation from an EK Starter Pack

Since its introduction a couple of years back, our Basic EK Starter Pack has been pleasingly successful in helping to introduce staging professionals to the benefits, and rock-solid reliability, of Electro Kabuki.

For many of these people, being able to prove the dependability of the EK system before deploying it in anger at a high-profile event was key. And our special Starter Pack pricing means a minimal investment, which makes the whole thing affordable. It’s worth mentioning that a very high percentage of Starter Pack users have gone on to extend their EK systems significantly.

We began to notice an increasing number of EK enquiries asking about DMX control. It’s clear that some people need this automation option from the outset. As it turned out, that proved to be the case in many instances, but there was another motivator…

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What exactly does Kabuki mean?

Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theatre featuring classical dance-drama, with its roots back in the Edo period early in the seventeenth century. It is an art form rich in showmanship. Kabuki theatre is known for its elaborate costumes, eye-catching make-up and outlandish wigs. Not to mention the exaggerated actions performed by the actors.

Of more relevance to our adoption of the term kabuki, as in Electro Kabuki, is the driving force behind the desire to manifest one frequent theme of kabuki theatre, namely that of the sudden, dramatic revelation or transformation. Kabuki theatre uses dynamic stage sets, such as revolving platforms and trapdoors to allow these rapid changes of scene (or the reveal and disappearance of actors) for which the genre is famed. So now you get the picture. Electro Kabuki does just that, of course. It is used the world over to quickly reveal something or somebody, delivering a rapid scene change.

Gender Switching

Here’s a kabuki fact that has no bearing whatsoever on our Electro Kabuki systems and modules! When it originated, kabuki was acted only by women and was popular mainly among common people. Later during the Japanese Edo Period (1603 to 1867), a restriction was introduced by the ‘Tokugawa Shogunate’ (the last feudal Japanese military government that existed between 1600 and 1868) forbidding women from participating. That edict obviously stuck as, even today, traditional kabuki theatre is performed exclusively by men. Several male kabuki actors are therefore specialists in playing female roles. They are called onnagata or oyama, which loosely translates to ‘female-role’.

Cultural Recognition

Kabuki theatre is now recognised as one of Japan’s three major classical theatres (the others being noh and bunraku). Kabuki was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in 2005.

Further Fascinating Kabuki Reading

Our thanks to Wikipedia for providing some of the additional detail above. To find out much more about the fascinating early days and incarnations of kabuki, follow this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabuki to the Wikipedia page. Read how kabuki was, essentially, an early form of pop culture in Japan that brought together people from a variety of social classes, much to the displeasure of the government. Find out about the link with teahouses that surrounded the theatres and its popularity in the Edo (now Tokyo) red-light district. And how the original ensemble and dance performances by women troupes featured “ribald and suggestive themes” with its appeal further popularised by the fact that the performers were often available for prostitution.

Sounds like quite a night out, doesn’t it? Or perhaps a whole day out, as early kabuki performances ran from morning until sunset. Today, kabuki performances still run during the day and are usually divided into two or three segments from early afternoon into the evening.

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