OUTLINE OF SORTS / TO BE SORTED
OPERA OF::FOR UN/KNOW|N|-ABLE UN[I]VERSES
Seyðisfjörður ICELAND JANUARY 23RD 2016
As the stage lights come up we see some characters standing in a room with two doorways on opposing ends. The portals have no doors so that characters can pass freely between various rooms, one expanding upon the next, each identical to the one before, each occupied by one or more characters involved in a reflexive exercise of the self. Most of the stage is black, though some of the facets are painted in interference or day-glow colors. Cameras are placed at various points around the stage and upon one of the characters - the character camera is passed to others at moments of black out. The video is fed back into the physical environment, as mirror, as doubling, as parallax.
Each room contains some furniture, some specimens (animal, vegetable, and mineral), and an Existential Unit of Concentration (EUOC) sculpture consisting of an object cast into a clear resin form.
• The furniture is designed and constructed to be as simple as possible (Enzo Mari), as an idealized form (Platonic/Jungian "seat" of consciousness), almost invisible but very present as a focal point of character affect (Bachelard), and painted a neutral middle gray.
• The specimens will serve as symbolic parapsychic forces activating the space of the set, never acknowledged or interacted with. Each may be physically present or incorporated into the video projections as live feeds or textural collages (ie: "animalness").
• Minerals may consist of an actual specimen sitting on the chair, under the table, blocking a threshold to/from another room, or weighing down a characters movements (ala Sysiphus).
• At least one plant should always be present, sometimes more, but never more than the number of characters on stage - characters may be bring/take plants with them to adjust for this balance.
• Animals should be present, always free to roam in their respective ecologies (never restrained or caged beyond reason) - smaller animals are magnified to expand their presence (ie: snails under a microscope camera or brine shrimp being projected onto walls of the set). Larger animals may roam the stage and audience freely, being present for the duration of the scene without territorial restrictions until the scene is over, at which time they are silently called back and taken off stage.
(Borges, Calvino, Beckett)
Each room has a projection which lights the characters and casts their shadow as a phantasmagoria upon the opposing wall, upon which one can also see fainter shadows apparently being produced from creatures in the adjacent room, although they are too abstract to describe in detail (shadow puppets or inverted animations). There are geometric lights which follow each character as they move throughout the space - a linear circle and a solid circle (spot light) - each of which are subtly shifting their amount of facets & colors. These lights follow the characters automatically according to a grid projected upon the stage which sometimes becomes visible for brief moments. The characters movements are traced across the stage by these lights, sometimes ahead of the movements (anticipating or leading their path), sometimes remaining directly above them in a oscillating field, and sometimes lagging or trailing behind them (haunting past). The lighting/shape movements follow the characters by their movements, catching them as the initiate a direction, but after a few moments of inactivity the shapes slowly recede back to the tracing of a larger "global" geometric form which itself is constantly subtly shifting.
Each character has a name which is used to reference themselves and another name which they use to reference the other - an ambiguous and androgynous designation in the language and also a proper name = "s'he" or "h'en" or just simply "you" but also "We'sis'ss" or "Us'sis'ss" = any mention of an "I" instills great confusion and suspicion in all characters on stage. There is also continuous reference being made to an other which is not the other but rather any other. Each character has certain words, grammars, and/or reference structures that are consciously avoided - not as a rule, but as a matter of social etiquette akin to refraining from swearing while in the presence of distinguished elders.
There are many roles throughout the production that define distinct delineations of affect and articulation, but the performance is conducted by only 3 actors (3 voices = 3 speaking actors). There are other performers that enter and leave the scene continuously according to another tangential score of behavioral instructions seemingly unrelated to the "primary" events although occasional interfering with or otherwise influencing those events (ie: the relocation of shared props, redirecting lighting situations, de/constructing stage walls and elements, etc). The 3 voices are extremely distinct from each other, so the implication is that the 3 actors representing the 3 voices should be very distinct from each other, although this could be compensated for with highly theatrical acting styles or digitally processing the voices with microphones routing through various software or analog effects.
Each character has a musical association to their physical presence. The behaviors of the character are determined by the playing/manipulation of their personal score. The written dialogue has it's own musical score distinct from the movement of the characters. Each scene has it's own tuning and chordal logic, related to the affective content of the text. The various locations and interaction variables of the physical set aspects are associated to certain ascension/dissension chords: the table, chair, plants, animals, the X/Y axis of the floor grid (stage orientation). Each prop determines and manipulates the audio ecology in some way, in different ways, based on the object and the scene. The sonic variable couple be axis-based (higher or lower, front or rear of the stage, etc), interaction based (touch or lighting), or merely binary (simple on/off - on/off the table, on/off the stage itself).