Ah, the Edwardians or, more correctly, given our play's Teutonic bent, the Second Reichers.
We're looking at a world where women have been kept, quite literally, in bondage, in their own clothing. But all of that is coming to an end. Only 10 years after our play Germany's Weimar Republic will earn its reputation as one of the most decadent periods in modern history.
The underpants takes place between this: a total covering of the female body that is, for the viewer, hypersexualized, and somewhat hellish for the wearer.
In short, we're at that in-between point where representatives of the status quo are most confused and nervous.
Fnding ways to represent the in-between-ness of it all will be a challenge. Suggestions?
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
As we go into this process I think it's important for designers and actors alike to understand my feelings about realism, realistic design, etc: As a tool it's as useful as any other tool. As an aesthetic it is a cancer that wrecks our imaginations and warps our values. We are most dishonest with our audience when we try to trick them into believing that what they see is real.
More: Too much fake reality does away with that elusive thing we call "magic." If you tell me we're going to see an elephant and you show me an elephant I may be impressed, but there's no magic. Show me an apple and make me believe its an elephant---- that's how magic works. And that's how I work as well, and it is how we will approach The Underpants.
For a better sense of what I mean you may wish to visit the blogs I created for Ubu Roi and Rocky Horror.
Also, here's a shot from Not About Nightingales, another show that brought realistic and abstracted images and performance styles together.
I care less about a performance space conveying a sense of place than it's ability to serve actors and alter an audience's perspective. I care even less for an actor's ability to mimic life than his or her ability to use their entire bodies to transmit necessary information in ways that are interesting to watch.
I like to think if a script as a puzzle box full of surprising things, waiting to be unlocked, not as a blueprint.
LASTLY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: My job as a director, as I see it, isn't to tell the designers what to draw, or the actors where to stand (though there will certainly be some of that). My job is to unlock and channel the cast and crew's collective creativity. You are all smarter and more talented than I am, no doubt, and together we have the capicity for genius. This is OUR project, and I cannot stress how important I think it is for everyone to take full ownership. The more you allow me to simply play housekeeper and referee--cleaning things up and making sure we're all playing the same game on the same field-- the better this will be.
Please, feel free to comment even (perhaps especially) if you disagree.
Now, here are some more pictures to inspire set, costume, and character. Some are real, many are abstract. Hopefully all are useful
at 12:40 PM