Report from the front (not as short, not as sweet… but SPOILER-y as hell)

OK, so work on ANDRONICUS marches forward.

And some news…

First of all, we’re losing the gore. I’m not sure how much money, research, development, and testing would cost, or whether or not I’d have enough time in the theater to pull it off. (and I had a REALLY cool idea–lifted from a recent production of Timon of Athens up at the OSF … and I’ll describe it later… maybe next week?)

So instead of going into the splatter-zone, we’re going to get a little abstract. [description is in “inviso-text”… highlight the text below with your cursor (click and drag) to read what would definitely be SPOILERS next] Instead of silicon(-molded) hands and blood, the performers playing Lavinia and Tita will be wearing tight red latex gloves in the scenes of mutilation, then tight black latex gloves balled into fists as stumps later. For the onstage amputation, Tita will be wearing heavy black hunting gloves, with the red latex glove beneath; with a diversion, Aaron will slip the black glove off and pick up a pre-set stuffed black glove as the chopped hand.

The deaths will be even more abstract: in our black box setting, [descriptive “inviso-text”] when a character dies, a “death dancer”/stage management crew member (dressed all in black, or better yet in a black morph suit) will move in and float a piece of flowing red fabric over the head and face of the “victim,” who will then fall to the floor. Even better would be to have the fabric flat black on one side, and shimmering red on the other side…so the “DD” would float the fabric up behind the head of the victim with the black side facing the audience, obscured by the victim downstage and the black suit of the the “DD” and the black box theater itself, then pulled over the face/head of the victim, so the red would seem to magically appear over the victim.

So basically, we’re moving from HORRIFIC –> MESMERIZING here…

I’ve been thinking about sound as well… I see a difference between “flashback” soundscapes for Lavinia, and simple (not really) discordia for the play itself… [descriptive “inviso-text”] For Lavinia “flashbacks” I’m thinking sharp, sudden, sounds, rather than sequences. Screams. Maybe even grunts from the rape. Taped mockings and goadings and insults from the Goths. Metal scrapes, thuds, springs, notes (all from my “nightmare machine” … all layered over assorted “backgrounds”: reverb, feedback, animals eating, slaughterhouses, heartbeats, all with sudden, echoing SILENCES. As for what I’m calling discordia (for use between later scenes, as well as moments of chaos), I’m thinking more sequences than individual sounds, more musical (based on minor key chords), but with weird pitch shifts, reverb (some stretched, some compressed), animal sounds, rhythms, pingpong-ing, with sudden noises (again, from the “nightmare machine”). The flashbacks would be specific to Lavinia, her attack, and her PTSD, while the discordia would be more for general chaos, anarchy, and then background for the chorus of Andronici voices in Lavinia’s head in the penultimate scene).

So, yeah. Lots of thinking. And prop-building. And sound-scaping.

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