Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thought it was time for me to share.

In our meeting Clay, you said that you and Isaac wanted to do something different, so I have been trying to ignore the stage directions (thinking of them as suggestions, not absolutes), and this is where I am right now:

My main concept is the fragile nature of beauty, that something can look beautiful and in reality be something horrific. The idea of the beautiful painted tapestries for the sets, which are the fuel for the pyre, the gorgeous theatre which was built so poorly that it became the coffin for 72 people that night.

I would like the victims of the fire to show they were victims – I would like them to be burnt. Makeup distorting their appearances, nothing too graphic or haunted house cheesy, a light hand will be needed to create a subtle but terrifying image. This is a fine line I realize, I definitely don’t want to “hit the audience over the head” with this, I just don’t want them to forget that these people were burned alive.

In our meeting Clay, you mentioned you wanted the audience to be aware of themselves and their environment, to re-evaluate their surroundings, wonder about and question their safety and security. I think the way I can do this is by showing the effects the fire and smoke would’ve had on the clothing and the bodies.

I like the idea that Clay mentioned, that this is the story the ghosts tell to themselves when everyone else goes home and I would like the clothing to reflect this. This means period clothing for everyone, and they should all show signs of wear, especially for the victims.
I love the idea that the clothing looks like it is dry rotting on the actors, it would be a challenge to create this look without the clothing actually falling apart – I realize it does have to last the run of the show. :)

The fabric used in this period really lends itself to the phantasmic and spectral aspects of the show. It was mostly lightweight muslins and linens, with layers of semi-sheer fabrics. I want the dresses to be lightweight and ethereal, cobweb like. I dont want them to be heavy or too costumey.

I have a few logistical questions. Knowing these will really help me in fleshing everything out. Will we see the parents, or are they just voices off stage? I also would like to know if we have an actor for the role of carpenter, since no one was cast for it, also, are children in the show (there should be 3) or are the roles of the children played by the actors? I also have questions about the bleeding nun, how is that going to be staged?? I would also like to know if there is an intermission planned.

Here are a few of the images that I’ve collected:


I love the melty - burning feeling of this painting by Leonor Fini.
Here are two burned/melted faces, the first is from Frances Bacon Head and the second didnt have the artist listed. They are obviously too dramatic - but both are compelling.





This photo of a clematis by Joyce Tenneson really evokes the "cobweb like" feeling i would like to achieve. The second photo is also by Joyce Tenneson and the ethereal feeling is so strong, and i love the way the gauze wrap is so delicate and also shows what i mean by "cobweb like".Thats all for now.

43 comments:

claymcleod said...

Some great, great ideas... I'd say reading your post has given me a shot in the arm for this show. All good things to mull over.

To answer your questions to the best of my knowledge... A lot of smaller roles have not been cast that will be distributed to particular members of the ensemble. For the most part, it's safe to say that each actor in the ensemble will play two roles... if not three (or four). This will require a certain malleability of roles, where we'll have to register that this actor who was just the reverend is now one of the children or the carpenter or... so on. This is the encourage what I feel needs to be a base-line costume that certain pieces can be changed through the course of the show to designate "carpenter" then "child" then "musician" roles, even if they are played by the same actor. Make sense? Isaac... Want to weigh in?

Light and the absence of it will come into play a lot, as far as what I've heard from Isaac... so it's safe to say that there will be some pretty dark parts of the play. Particularly the "what we say to our children" section. It's a strong possibility, though I'm not sure just yet, that a portion of this segment will be done in darkness. Possibly.

And as far as an intermission goes... eh. I'd say not. Better to plow through and give them a heck of a experience.

The "bleeding nun" is a doozie... It's one of the rare moments of the play that offers a bit of maudlin hamminess for the entire cast to rock out -- so I'm hoping it'll be staged in a Pyramus and Thisbe style, bad Shakespeare. Could be fun...

I think that may be it for now. Let me know if I'm forgetting anything -- or, if you want to direct any particular questions to Isaac and/or myself.

Awesome work. I still have nightmares of those Bacon paintings...

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