Written & Directed by Madeline Sayet
*written, produced, and presented during the COVID-19 pandemic. All cast, crew, and support staff maintained social distancing and adherence to CDC guidelines during all rehearsals and performances. No incidents of transmission were reported as a result of this production.
This new take on an age-old story was extremely informed by the current events of the year 2020. Instead of trying to design around the challenges and obstacles presented by a tumultuous political climate and a global pandemic, the entire production embraced them. While the production was presented to a live audience in a limited capacity, I chose to build the show with special attention to the virtual audience. One of the most challenging aspects of this is the lack of control I have as a designer over how the audience hears the final product. Keeping this in mind, I spent months listening to different sounds and effects through different means (phones, computer speakers, earbuds, professional-grade studio headphones, etc.) to evaluate how to best communicate my ideas, rather than analyzing and designing to the physical performance space.
In such a dialogue-focused story, my design primarily served as a way to set the tone transitioning in and out of each scene. This was made even more important with the staging challenges of social distancing, as the actors were forced to use almost the entire stage in every scene, rather than having the freedom to compartmentalize action in differing locations. Using tonal and rhythmic components, the audible mood shifts helped communicate that the location of the scene was moving. Madeline's adaptation really emphasizes the spiritual and elemental worlds and how they interact with and shape reality. I represented this primarily through varied thematic soundscapes, titled "Netherscape," that physically take us to the limbo that both Eteocles and Polynices exist in throughout the play.
More coming soon!