Sunday, September 13, 2009

informal design meeting

on friday, september 11, an incomplete but enthusiastic group of collaborators - emily, dramaturg; madelyne, choreographer; katrina, set designer; jonathan lighting designer; stacey, stage manager; and myself, toby, director - gathered at my beautiful amherst apartment for spaghetti and creative conversation. we had an incredibly exciting, productive, 3 hour meeting. katrina showed her initial design for the set, we discussed the most recent draft of our adaptation, we played music and showed related video, photos.

from an initial meeting back in july, katrina took my ideas of skeletal, graveyard playgrounds, and came up with a delightful, utilitarian set, full of staging possibilities. there is a house frame upstage, made of pipes, replete with various ladders and cross bars for climbing, and even monkey bars. there is a swing downstage left and a topsy-turvy raised path leading from downstage right. i am starting to visualize the staging in 3D, on all different levels, and it is THRILLING.

we discussed the function of dance within the piece, which seems mainly to provide fantastical escape from the dark, repressive lives of the characters. madelyne and i have worked together in the past, on my 2006 adaptation of "a doll house," and i have no doubt that we'll continue to collaborate brilliantly.

in the adaptation, currently being edited by emily and myself, nine actors - each with one core child character - will play up to 4 additional adult characters. the kids will become the adults through a choreographed sequence of makeup application and brief, aggressive music. this transformation will change in tenor over the course of the play, from playful bustling dress-up to self-lacerating self-hatred at the end. this idea came from a conversation over sushi with my favourite theatre professor from smith college. on some rainy day in the future, i will outline the evolution of this idea. suffice it to say, my collaborators and i are truly excited about it as it now stands.

after much disgruntled analysis of the first couple of beats, i decided to combine them. emily had the brilliant idea to throw in beat 7, "the stork," and i eventually decided that beat 1, "the dress," was useless. so now, our play begins with simultaneous action - wendla swinging and moritz/melchior monkey-barring, the stork being discussed in the former scene while "masculine urges" are discussed in the latter. the scenes will ideally happen as a flawless whole, seamlessly interwoven so that lines from each are nestled up against each other, all but overlapping. make sense to you, readers, whoever you are? probably not. but it will, oh, it will.

more thoughts to follow, and hopefully some comments from my collaborators. oh, and a final thank you to dawn, for the idea and incentive to start this blog. boy, won't we be prepared come thesis time.

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