3rd post, week 5

Well, we are halfway through the production and mounting phase of this new show, “Command Performance”, getting ready to open on July 17th.  The performers have been working hard, and are exactly halfway through the piece in terms of choreography. The entire piece is set to music, and is sung like a musical/opera  The music is being masterfully created on a daily basis by a local composer Ivan, who is using software that offers samples of every instrument in the Philharmonic Orchestra to create songs that are not only unique one from the next in terms of style and instrumentation, but also has the specific meter of the words in the script. No small feat, especially for one whose first language is not English.

The faces of the giant puppets are halfway through creation. Three of the six have been made, and the other day were mounted on the scaffolding on the starboard side of the ship during a run through, so we could see their ominous presences and swivel movement of the faces in relation to the performers.   Yesterday the cast went up to the house, where the costume, mask and puppet production is taking place. It was so exciting to see the developments and designs for the first time!   We were shown the costume and mask design for each of our characters, and our individual colour schemes. The production area was a fascinating place to visit, with layers of creativity over time visible in each of the different rooms: sketches on the floor, funny lists of instructions specific to design and character body parts written on the walls and chalkboard, mask moulds of each of our faces in a row on a plank and suspended vertically on a string, a collection of custom nose pieces on the table intended to give structure to the cloth masks, shelves with coloured fabric organized in the rainbow spectrum lighting up a dark corner of the room, bits of material and mesh displaying design elements on the wall, a decorated light socket, drawings of the design of the different aspects of the characters in each room….  In the play, there are two different masks we will wear, one with a hard structure and accompanying costume details, the other one of cloth which we will wear the bulk of the performance, along with unitards of different colours.

The story of the play goes something like this. Our characters are a group of performers, drawn together by the fact that each is a “freak”, who has been genetically modified by the G6 to be perfect “super norms”. In the process of genetic modification, each of us has sacrificed a sense (sight, hearing) in order to receive an augmented version (visions, paranormal senses).   As a group, we are the proud creation of the G6, whose misguided ideals are in control of the world’s fate (sound familiar?), but somehow in the process of transformation, each of us has retained a small aspect of awareness of who we were before, and a plan for revolt begins, sparked by the arrival of the last character to join the group, a former conjoined twin who has been surgically separated from her brother, and then left alone when he was swallowed by an “orifice”, a portal to the G6 world.  As we strut and entertain the G6 at their private convention, we hatch a plan, and their greed and illusion of infallibility is their downfall, resulting in a Wizard of Oz-like revealing of the strange, small and vulnerable hybrid cyber beings that are behind the huge puppet faces. The people have overcome!! A happy ending….

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