For the past month or so, Michele and I have been working on video and set design for Marcie Begleiter’s play Meditations: Eva Hesse. The piece, a fictionalized account of Eva Hesse’s life and last days, combines theater with elements of sculpture and video installation, and touches on several key moments in Hesse’s life and career. As the video and set design team, we have been working closely with Marcie and director David Watkins to bring the piece to life. Very early on, Marcie had created story-boards visualizing the feel of the performance, combining the essence of Hesse’s work with the reality of her brain cancer until her work and life become merged in the finale.
Armed with her early sketches, and following the evolution of the play through the rehearsal and workshopping progress, the set has emerged as a few key elements that loosely define the required settings. One is an installation/studio wall for the actors to work with as the play unfolds. The idea for the installation/studio wall is to create a work in progress, which the actors will build upon, that has the feel and materiality of Hesse’s work, without trying to re-create any of her work in particular. This element references an underlying order layered with organic complexity and rooted in process and materiality. The other major set piece is a rolling, rear-projection video rig – built with an industrial aesthetic so that when it is not carrying video, it will serve as a portion of a wall or part of a space. The steel-angle construction precisely frames the area required for a short-throw projector to create a seven by five foot image, in a compact geometric form.
The video design consists of two main conceptual threads – one channel that fills in set elements and another channel that represents abstractions of Eva’s memories and psychological states, both of which follow the emotional arc of the play. Michele has been shooting and editing at a furious pace, attending most rehearsals and working in the space while watching the rehearsals progress. Rise Industries member Sarah Rushford was also able to shoot some video for us while traveling in Germany, which will be used in a German train station scene in the play.
Meditations: Eva Hesse is written by Marcie Begleiter, and directed by David Watkins
Michael Vanderbilt : Producer
Michele Jaquis : Video Designer
Jeremy Quinn : Set Designer
Alice Tavener : Costume Designer
R. Christopher Stokes : Lighting Designer
Casey McGann: Stage Manager
Marisa Blankier: Assistant Stage Manager
Rosalyn Myles: Prop Master
Young Eva-Alexandra Ozeri
Adult Eva-Bianca Gisselle
Dying Eva- Heather Tyler
Tom-Robert Manning Jr.
Mutti/Dr. P/German Curator- Shanti Reinhardt
William/Sol/German Transit Officer-Barry Saltzman
Art Worker 1 (Daniel)-Tuddy Monteanu
Art Worker 2 (Jane)-Kimberly Patterson
September 24-25, 2010
Performances at 8:30 both nights and
3 PM on Saturday the 25th.
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