liberty exhibition hall
direction MARCUS SHIELDS
light ELANOR EBERHARDT
costume MARCUS SHIELDS + RAVEN MCMILLON + CHRISTINA HAZEN
piano, electric piano LISA HASSON
THEORETICAL FRAGMENTS , 2019 LA CALISTO
I was thinking about nontheatrical spaces, the space between the viewer and the performer, the space between two people, how being trapped in a space can seem liberating, how then breaking the space and forming it anew shifts these relationships and invites new possibility.
I was thinking about the aesthetics of Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players, the use of disjunctive synthesis (Gilles Deleuze) in the work of Liz LeCompte and the Wooster Group, the body work of William Forsythe, and the sense of play in the work of Elevator Repair Service.
I was thinking about silence and stillness and presence and about how ancient music requires a different tempo of approach.
The production rotates around three core materials: water, dirt, and plastic, which are used scenically as well as symbolically. The positioning of the room serves to encourage a more direct connection to the performers. It changes as the nature of the narrative changes.
Direct titling and translation is withheld as a means of removing distraction. Short audio clips (a consciously invasive element in the sphere of opera) will play periodically and describe events which have already happened or are about to occur.
The events of the libretto (faustini) and myth (ovid) are displayed in the room within eye sight of the action itself. The audience is encouraged to visit these plot displays throughout the evening.
This production is accompanied by a baby grand piano (permanent to the space) and a borrowed electric keyboard, often played on its harpsichord setting. This choice of continuo, though far from the sound world of Cavalli, highlights the distance between 1651 and our present moment through the acknowledged artificiality of the electroacoustic timbre.