Maura is a director

JG is a deviser and performer 

Maura

So, empty thine pockets.

 

JG

I came to the play after a relaxed day in a pretty good mood.  I enjoy the folks at Greenfield that made this piece possible.

 

Maura Krause

I am working with Hannah Van Sciver and the Greenfield Collective on a Fringe show, and am on their advisory board. I also came in excited about Christine Freije as a director. Also relevant is that I am extremely dubious about projections as a rule.

 

JG

As a final draft of a play I was disappointed, but viewed as a work in progress WIP I would say there were some interesting things happening.

 

Maura

Woo, going right in!

I would concur that the piece felt more like a work-in-progress on a couple of levels, but let’s start with script?

I think Hannah is a graceful writer, and the script definitely flowed. It felt conversational in a good way.

I’m not sure that the structure was entirely there, despite the North Star and litany of names at the beginning and end. I also think that the script never chose whether it want to be hyper-personal to this group of makers, or whether it wanted to go more general in order to invite in the audience.

For me, it hovered in between those two, and I would have loved to have a choice in either direction. Either to get more specifics on this person we are watching, more detailed storytelling about her, OR to build in more chances for audience reflection and engagement.

 

JG

Yes. There was some interesting disjunction happening. The script would dive just enough into an experience and then our narrator would find herself at a loss, which I liked, this device allowed just enough personal connection and psychic space for the audience. I was like sweet I empathize with some of these experiences in my own way. I’m excited to see how this all comes back around.

 

Maura

YES I really liked the device of the narrator getting lost in what she was saying. I appreciated and empathized with that so much. I’d say that and the mom dancing is what drew me into her.

 

JG

But then a whole track developed that frankly made me feel alienated as my feelings surrounding this perceived universal loss are completely other than what the makers determined and it really pulled me out. By the time we wandered back into personal experience and unspecified loss. My connection to the piece was lost. As for the litany of names, I would say I understood that to be people as beacons called upon as needed to pull oneself  back to the surface when drowning.

 

Maura Krause

Oh, I understood the names to be names of loved ones lost.

Like “Smoky” I was like oh that’s a pet.

 

JG

Huh yeah I could see that too, I feel like that could go either way.

 

Maura

Can you say more about the track that alienated you?

 

JG

It’s the whole Hillary lost the election part it could have been food for a separate piece. I understand that it definitely touched some people in the room in a way but my feelings about how the election played out are not ones of loss, but awakening to an unrest that has been boiling under the surface of American/Eurocentric culture for some time… to give that “loss” so much sway and completion just pulled me out.

 

Maura

I think it is a really important and good point that Hilary losing the election was treated as a universal loss, when it did not function that way for everyone.

I’m also just tired of hearing people tell me about what they felt on the night of November 8th, haven’t we done that already? But maybe that’s more of my salty pocket lint.

 

JG

I did connect to familial memory the saving of letters, the time of my life given over to misogyny. Also dancing!!! In fact I wanted more dancing.

 

Maura Krause

Yeah, I also connected to the saving of letters and feeling weird residual fondness for people that treated me badly. I liked that.

I wish the Keep/Lose boxes had been more utilized — but maybe that is getting into Design/Direction? Are you ready for that?

 

JG

I felt like there were several visual elements of design at play. That’s just it there was so much when really I just wanted the production to focus its attention on one or two. I agree only have as many boxes as you’re going to actually use.

We were dealing in projection, string, wall art installation. and this human body in motion. The projection/use of string were lacking in specificity and missed opportunities.  But the wall art installation and Emily were consistently exciting to me.

 

Maura Krause

I’ll jump on design because I agree. I loved the impulse towards the string and loved being asked to hold a ball of it, but I wanted that language to go further.

I thought the projections were clunky and unnecessary — the graininess of the North Star image at the end did not correspond with the loveliness of the text we hear when our eyes were closed, and so to open our eyes to it snapped me right out of the headspace I had started to work my way into. The best moment with the projections was the arrow at the brother’s head, but that felt like it was from a different play almost.

And wall art installation! I was so curious about that and I felt like it was never referenced or used. Visually the wall art had a dialogue with the boxes for me and I was excited to learn more, but we didn’t, really.

I thought the rudimentary lighting was used quite well, and I think we’ve addressed that we both liked the soundscape, especially the harsh flat tone that hit us sometimes.

 

JG

Yes I agree with you on that. The use of water was also interesting but was again felt disjointed. That said. Emily had us write down an object of loss something lost or too  lose and when asked to put that into the pool of consciousness I was ready and it felt good.

 

Maura

Yeah, the water bucket was cool. I liked that she poured water on her hands and it made a nice real plinking sound.

I think directing-wise Christine really kept it moving, and helped construct a compelling character. There were some moments where Emily had her back to us that I really loved. All of the choices to deny us standard storytelling were enjoyable and evocative for me.

I was bummed that more movement sequences like the creepy boyfriend didn’t happen — I was affected by that movement and I wished I had seen more of that physically embodied language of loss and confusion.

 

JG

A lot of that happened on the floor and from the second row and was difficult to see, by the way.

 

Maura

I think drection  is essentially what we were saying about design — there were just a few too many languages/gestures happening. When the show zeroed in on Emily, her body, her emotions, I was into it. When we were fiddling with boxes to find props or dealing with projections I found myself getting pulled out of the play.

I will say that a lot of people got really choked up by the piece, like I saw audience members misting up or sniffling, so it could just be that I’m dead inside. Or I was the night I saw the show, anyway!

Let’s make sure we take a moment to say Emily is a compelling and soulful performer, by the way — anything else you want to say on acting?

 

JG

Seconded. She also has an alluring vocal quality.

 

Maura

I liked when she made eye contact, that made me feel connected despite some of the distractions.

Ok, think I would summarize the experience this way:

The show felt like it was trying out too many things, all of which were absolutely  worthy, but nothing got delved into fully. I felt like the show never completely explored any of its elements. That is why it felt like a work-in-progress, I think, and I would be very interested to see a more full version, because the topic and the impulses were strong.

And in general, I like these three artists a lot, and I would want to see more work from them. It is important to make, to just make things to learn about yourself as an artist, and so I support this piece and hope they learned new things from it.

 

JG

I’d say that is pretty succinct. Here’s to making it!

 

Maura

Yes! Here’s to being vulnerable and making stuff!

 

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