Taymor on ‘Spider-Man': ‘I’m In a Crucible Right Now’

Speaking at the Technology Entertainment Design conference in Long Beach Wednesday, the producer said it's still unclear as to whether her troubled Broadway show will leave her “a phoenix or a burnt char”

Speaking to a full house at a conference of innovators in Long Beach today, director Julie Taymor talked about her embattled “Spider-Man” show on Broadway, saying she’s at a critical point in “a fire of engagement,” and it’s not yet clear if she’ll become “a phoenix or burnt char.”

Much of Taymor’s wide-ranging talk seemed to symbolize her current struggles on Broadway, where she’s fighting to mount a hugely expensive production.

Her $65 million musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," has been plagued by accidents, injuries and delays.

The show, still in previews, is scheduled to open March 15 but reportedly may be delayed again, this time until June.

“I’m in a crucible right now. I’ve survived a trial by fire. My company has survived, and the only way to get through is to do it together.

Taymor's directing career spanning film, opera and theater, has been marked by wildly creative visual and musical flourishes.

She seemed upbeat in front of a supportive audience at the TED 2011 conference.  TED (Technology Entertainment Design) is a small, non-profit group that sponsors international conferences featuring groundbreaking scientists, artists and entrepreneurs in a variety of fields.

After showing a brief montage of clips from "Oedipus Rex, Lion King" (which earned her two Tony awards), "Magic Flute," the Acadamy Award-nominated "Frida" and "Across the Universe," Taymor recounted an early trip to Indonesia, which she called a seminal point in her creative growth. 

While there, she witnessed a young, tribal man on the island of Bali, dancing with abandon in the moonlight. At one point, the man hung a lantern so others could witness his performance. 

From this, Taymor said she learned, “You must be true to what you believe as an artist all the way through, but be aware that an audience needs the light. That’s the fine line at the edge of the crater that I have walked my whole life.”

After showing a two-minute promotional clip featuring scenes from the show and quotes from some of her collaborators, Taymor again talked about Indonesia and her trek to the edge of a live volcano there.

“It’s very easy to climb up and get to the top,” she said, “but I knew I couldn’t get back down the same way … You keep your eyes on the line. Stay going forward, and you see this extraordinary thing right in front of your eyes.”