In total, twelve weeks of rehearsal for Nameless forest have been completed over five months, including the just finished “second rehearsal sequence” consisting of twenty-eight rehearsals spread out over the fifty-nine days of February and March.
The production has developed to about 50 minutes, or approximately 70% of the completed work, which is exactly what I was hoping to accomplish by this time. But we had help. Several friends of the cast, professional colleagues, the serendipitously curious and other strangers, at least thirty in all, graciously helped us by coming to see the work and participating in it as an experimental audience. This was a fundamental aid to the development of Nameless forest and I am incredibly grateful for your many insights and comments, all of which added depth and nuance to the work. Thank you all so much.
Roxana has been working magic with the costumes. Please check out her
images elsewhere on this blog. Sungmyung wasn’t able to attend this rehearsal sequence, though we were in constant communication during the process. He did create and send the set design maquettes envisioned during our ASU residency last November. After receiving the beautifully rendered set models and showing them to colleagues we came to the difficult conclusion that we needed a slightly different approach. In truth one of my gracious colleagues that came to see the work, Young Jean Lee, said something to the effect of “why are those big t-shirts in the space?” Her question revealed something I was missing.
Since I knew what the design was based on, I had always thought of the set in relation to damaged bodies, as headless, armless torsos that framed the performing space. But she looked at the maquettes and saw striped sculptured tees. Where I imagined depth, she saw product placement.
Though clearly an exaggeration, she was, unfortunately, right. The maquettes did look too much like empty t-shirts. Though we agreed with Sungmyung that emptiness was the point, we also all agreed the metaphor of the set shouldn’t point towards commercial product. The new design fragments a single torso into two parts, preserving the emptiness while giving it a more dynamic, visceral impact. It successfully manifests the original metaphors while integrating better with Gandalf’s neon elements, and as an added plus is less material to ship. Now if we can just get them made.
Fortunately we have time, though the countdown has definitely begun.