Live Performance

Hedwig and The Angry Inch: Fuch's Questions & Sentences by Maya Pruitt

THE PLANET OF HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH

SPACE

The space is stage - like an elaborate concert venue. A built interior, it looks like a set of a street, a crater in the center, and exploded car, but front and center is the stage - for Hedwig to appear to perform with her band.

TIME

Time is linear on this planet. It is one concert, but Hedwig tells the story of her entire life, starting from her past as a child to present day. Time is marked by her memories.

CLIMATE

The climate feels cold, like an unreasonably air conditioned room perhaps to make the audience feel uncomfortable.

MOOD

The mood on this planet is serious. We may think we are enjoying a rock concert, but instead Hedwig wants to tell her story. She has our attention now. Her sarcasm and singing create the moods, shifting from comic moments to profound questioning of the world.

SOCIAL WORLD

This is a private world. Hedwig dictates the rules. We are at her venue and no one else’s. We’ve come to see her, not Yitzhak, not Tommy Gnosis. She is the central figure. Others surround her (physically Yitzhak, but the others only through description and impersonation by Hedwig). The figures are exaggerated and in costume as they are attention seeking. The only real interactions are between Yitzhak and Hedwig, and they are strained, a married couple having a fight.

CHANGES

Change in time is indicated by Hedwig’s story telling. We move from different places, learn about different relationships, and discover Hedwig’s feelings about herself. In the beginning, Hedwig is angry. She feels unconsidered, overshadowed by the talents of those around her, but by the end she realizes that her dream will not be fulfilling if she takes the dreams away from others.

PATTERNS

Hedwig speaks about several different relationships. Each one has the commonality of Hedwig feeling inferior. Luther leaves her after making her go through a sex-change operation and Tommy doesn’t want her when discover the angry inch. Hedwig attempts to take control by giving Yitzhak the ultimatum of giving up his drag persona. So ultimately he too falls into the pattern of distrust of Hedwig.

One simple sentence:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about transformation.

One complex sentence:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about understanding your identity and the transformation it takes to become at peace with it.

Three to five sentences:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about Hedwig who tries to understand her own identity through the search for a soulmate, gender exploration, and the pursuit of a musical career. Hedwig feels constantly inferior to partners and music rivals until she finally strips down from the costumes she has worn, physically and mentally. Hedwig is at peace after this transformation and it allows her husband, Yitzhak, the one he has been denied.

Cornell Box by Maya Pruitt

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Inspired by the play Artifacts of Consequence, a story about living in an underwater bunker in a post apocalyptic world. The characters must decide not only how to survive, but who and what best preserves humanity.

Original can without found objects.

Original can without found objects.

Sourcing material.

Sourcing material.

Finding the canned ham tin is what drove the inspiration. It is certainly a literal apocalyptic association, but its shape and sized also drove the types of materials I could put inside and also helped develop the composition. It creates a feeling of confinement and also emulates a boat. I chose to assemble items that reference directly the play, such as audio tapes, a converse shoe, Twinkies, Oklahoma sheet music, and the whale to symbolize Moby Dick. I used painted bubble wrap for the background (though it resembles brick vaguely) and mini plastic zipblock bags to highlight the idea of preservation. Other elements were found objects that made me think of remnants, decay, survival, or the passing of time.



Artifacts of Consequence: Fuch's Questions & Sentences by Maya Pruitt

THE PLANET OF ARTIFACTS OF CONSEQUENCE

SPACE

The space is an underwater submarine/bunker/shelter. Interior, dark, metal, cold colors. I see metal rivets and rust, electric control panels in places. A cavernous open space, like a deserted warehouse. A labyrinth of file cabinets in the distant. But Ari’s room: warm lights, blankets, cozy, soft in comparison to the rest of the shelter.

TIME

Time is linear on this planet. Occurring over a month or so. Scenes happen every few days. Time is slow in the beginning but speeds up over time. It is marked by Dallas’ returns home, by Ari’s growing love, by Minna’s growing anguish, and by the collection of artifacts. A near future present.

CLIMATE

Post apocalyptic. Water every outside the bunker. Floating shelters exist miles apart maybe. It’s generally cold, foggy, desolate. The world is at its end, the outside is barely livable.

MOOD

The mood on this planet is quiet and expecting. Hopeful at first, distracted. Glimmers of excitement at the sound of “two knocks” and the weeping of the opening airlock. Anxiety during evaluations.

SOCIAL WORLD

This is a public world, which we only peer into through a private space. There are many rules. Necessary rules. Figures have roles, they are arranged by their "duties”. There is a class system, the audience is the aristocracy, the decision makers. Other figures seek our approval. 3 main figures - exaggerated, but relatable. They are puppets that begin to take control of their own strings. They are gaunt, malnourished, pale, but clean. The figures interact with discussion, dance, fighting. They threaten each other with guns. To die by a gun, is still more threatening than to die by the world. We have the power on this planet, the audience, we decide what makes us survive, but we’ve chosen a select few to uphold the rules. How they do so is where we lose control. Language is clipped, staccato, thoughts separated by slashes. Everyone is always vocalizing decision making, sometimes they change their mind.

CHANGES

Because the location remains the same and it is inside, we cannot see how time changes conventionally. There is no day or night, no weather changes. Change is indicated by the figures. Who is there, and who is not. Relationships and how they progress (Ari & Theo). From routine (collecting, evaluating artifacts) to distress (the arrival of Theo) to routine (collecting, evaluating artifacts with the addition of Theo) to distress (the dwindling supply of resources, Minna’s decision to shut it down). By the end of the play, the world remains the same, but the figures within it have changed. Minna lets out all feeling in a cathartic release and leaves, Dallas is banished, Theo finds escape. The only one who remains is Ari, as she is the one that knows no different a world than the one she exists in. The grass is always greener on the other side, unless you don’t know what the other side is.

THE SELF

My opinion of the figures change. Minna is harsh, stern, controlled, frustratingly authoritative at times, but at the end I see someone who has tried her best and lost all sense of morality. I pity, I feel concern, and disappointment. I feel like we've failed her. Ari is delightful, funny in her naivety, but over time, I worry. So many people have invested in her survival, until she is abandoned again like she was from the start and I don’t know if she is ready to take care of herself. She is sheltered in every sense of the word. The planet calls for reflection, to examine who I am, those around me, and how we’ve chosen to shape humanity.

THEATRICAL MIRRORS

There are many mirrors to other worlds. These mirrors are the artifacts. Other plays, works of arts, objects, they exist as time capsules of our present meant to be a recent past in the world of the play. We need these mirrors to provide gravity to the situation.

PATTERNS

Every character has the same goal: survival. Dallas wants the arts of humanity to survive. This is preservation. What are people without what they make? Minna wants the people of the bunker to survive as protocol has dictated to her, but she has chosen those she feels are special. What are people without other people? Ari wants to find the world that exists in the movies and pop culture she consumes. What are people without love and stories? Theo wants to survive the current time. More narrowed focus, Theo just wants to make it to the next day. What are people without breathing?

One simple sentence:

Artifacts of Consequence is a story about decisions.

One complex sentence:

Artifacts of Consequence is about how we decide what best represents humanity.

Three to five sentences:

Artifacts of Consequence is a story about how in a post apocalyptic world, we must make crucial decisions for both self preservation and preservation of humanity. With survivors contained in an underwater bunker, only certain people have been chosen as decision-makers: a group of evaluators that assign value to humanity’s artifacts, Minna - a woman in charge of running the facility and organizing the artifacts, Dallas - the gatherer of outside objects and resources. The decision-makers guide Ari - a naive girl who knows no other world but the bunker, and Theo - an outsider determined to survive another day. When all hope is lost, the characters must decide where their trust truly lies - with their companions, with the rules of a created system, or with themselves.

Designing For Live Performance: Readings Response by Maya Pruitt

Empty Space by Peter Brook

The Deadly Theatre

The Immediate Theatre

“Visits to a Small Planet” by Elanor Fuchs.

I begun reading The Deadly Theatre and paused quickly in efforts to understand the use of the word “deadly” and its capitalization. Brooks writes, “The Deadly Theatre can at first sight be taken for granted, because it means bad theatre”. At first I thought this was a terrible definition. Bad is so subjective. So I looked up “deadly", which is defined as

Causing or able to cause death.

Filled with hatred or intense rivalry.

Extremely accurate, effective, or skillful (typically in the context of shooting or sports).

Complete; total.

Extremely boring (which is defined as the informal case)

Ironically, the most informal or colloquial definition of the word is the one that I think Brooks is using the most in his first lecture and the capitalization of it then grounds it in an interesting authority. The Deadly Theatre is the extremely boring theatre, the overdone, the disconnected, the play that has the “look” but not quite the “feel”.

What was most illuminating to me was how Brooks further broke down the Deadly Theatre, into its Deadly parts. This highlights that while “I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre”, the more involved grandeur of theatre as we imagine it is the combination of the director, the designers, the architecture, the writer, the actors, and the audience. Any one of these components can turn Deadly, and therefore ruin the overall experience.

He mentioned a couple times the power of perception, where he asked audience members to read different works. One woman read an excerpt of King Lear, a man read a speech about Auschwitz from The Investigation, and another volunteer read from Henry V. In all cases, the most captivating performances were when the volunteers read most naturally, when given more context about the character, or told to read Shakespeare versus something about a more recent time in history, the volunteers tried too hard to be “actors” and the performance (those they may not have intended to give) faltered. I interpreted this as a type of perception, because once they tried to create from their internal ideals of theatre, the meaning of the words they recited changed significantly.

These points from Brook’s writing, I think parallel most with Elinor Fuchs “Visits to a Small Planet”. In this essay, Fuchs encourages readers of a play to ask questions and understand the world in which the play exists. One cannot just focus on the language or the characters alone, but instead should consider the space, time, mood, rules, changes, and ultimately the patterns of the play’s world. The both describe theatre in a reductionist way, breaking it down into its smaller parts.

The Immediate Theatre is then a culmination. It is the response to Deadly Theatre and the execution of a play that has been truly understood as a small planet. Brooks describes Immediate Theatre as a dynamic responsive theatre. It is made to be the product of its current time and provide an immediacy for the audience. This is where interaction may play a crucial role, as it could then bridge the gap future between the theatre creators and those that consume.