Sunday, August 12, 2007

Clay Continent Production History and Production Projections for 2008 and beyond

CLAY CONTINENT was first presented as a work in progress on September 20, 1998 in Big Art in Small Places ‘98 at Charas/El Bohio Cultural & Community Center with the following cast:

Utterson: David Gilsheridan
Jekyll: Brian Reilly
Hyde: Michael Martin

Peculiar Works Project in association with the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab produced the first three scenes in a site based performance executed in the basement of a once abandoned school house.

CLAY CONTINENT received its second presentation as a workshopped performance on August 3, 2000 at the Space, Chicago with the following cast:

Utterson: Derek Smart
Jekyll: Ron Kroll
Hyde: Frank Platis

CLAY CONTINENT received its full production premiere on February 2, 2001 at the Space, Chicago with the following cast

Utterson : Alex Honzen
Jekyll: Derek Smart
Hyde: Ron Kroll

The premiere production received a wealth of critical acclaim



Recommended…before it’s over they’ll leave nothing to the imagination.

-Web Behrans, New City

Often Ingenious…the Mammals do a close to flawless job handling difficult but thrilling material.

-Brian Nemtusak, The Reader

CLAY CONTINENT was revived on January 11, 2002 at the Space, Chicago with the following cast and crew

Utterson : Alex Honzen
Jekyll: Derek Smart
Hyde: Ron Kroll

Scenic Design: Patrick McCarthy of the Rubber Monkey Puppet Company

Inspired by the grotesque portraiture of Francis Bacon and the novel 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', CLAY CONTINENT is an aural pageant of diabolical villainy constructed with excerpts of text from the stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, Fydor Dostoyevsky, and Edgar Allen Poe. Recounting the story of one doctor’s desperate attempt to overcome evil through the use of science as he attempts to conceal the resulting tragedy of cascading death in horrific proportion, CLAY CONTINENT creates a compelling soundscape in which the multiple personalities inhabiting the doctor’s body vie for dominance over their collective flesh.

Throughout the performance, the actors representing Jekyll and Hyde often speak their lines simultaneously. In performance, simultaneity can capture the essence of chaos and, when employed artfully, embody the tension of sensory overload/schizophrenia. By utilizing wireless microphones and mixing boards combined with vocal technique, the actors create a series of polyphonic confrontations similar to orchestrated musical composition. The result is a compelling collage of sound unfolding along with the narrative in which the audience may choose to focus their precise attention on a particular voice or to negotiate comprehension of the total soundscape within a more chaotic forward progression balanced carefully on the midst of ambient chaos. The challenge each new ensemble faces is to discover a process of achieving that careful balance which will aid rather than hinder the audience’s appreciation of the story.

The environmental setting of the original workshop production influenced the development of the piece. Despite lacking the means to simulate the experience of descending into the bowels of an abandon schoolhouse, an additional goal of the second workshop/production was discovering ways of pushing the limits of environmental theater within the confines of the Space Theatre, an extremely small intimate performance space that seated approximately 20 people. The next incarnation will be a more traditional proscenium oriented black box space. How to bring that same sense of immersion to the production is another key challenge the Mammals with have to meet with this latest remount in November 2007.

Another evolution of the project during this incarnation and with subsequent versions to be performed in 2008 and beyond, will be the incorporation of multiple casts drawing from multiple texts, and the recombination of the those casts. There will be a number of key scenes which will provide the foundation of the narrative, but within that foundation different actors will be provided the opportunity to use different source material relating to the overall theme. The desired result will be a multitide of possible performances all of which genuinely will be properly referred to as CLAY CONTINENT. In other words, different variations of the text and performance will occur dependent upon which of the many possible performers will be selected for each individual performance. A wide variety of potential ensembles will make for wide variety of text and interpretation.


GreyZelda Land said...

I'm looking forward to this ... I wasn't yet in Chicago the last time you guys did it, so it'll be cool seeing the next reinvention.


Devilvet said...

Thanks RZ, have you been following the seven snakes at all?

GreyZelda Land said...

I have been following it and the characters and setting are really interesting to me ... the judge's eyebrows and his use of the karaoke machine mike with his army of Octogenarians blocking the entrance to the hospital, The Man evoking Clint and the Devil, the daugher's Florence Nightingale complex, the mother's cactus protection ... very nice.

The descriptions and dramatic images that come forth from the sections are incredibly clear.

I've been a-readin'. =)


Devilvet said...

Thanks, I appreciate it. I just wanted some feedback on where it was going. A little needy? Yes. What can I say...thanks again for reading along.