Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Self-introduction, the Script & Moving Forward

My name is Nisan.  Yes, it's pronounced like the car.  No, I wasn't conceived in the back of a Datsun (at least I don't think so).  Nisan means April in Turkish.  

For those of you who don't know, I'm Ayse's sister.  I sometimes dance in her student troupe.  My own background is in theatre.

Ayse and Elizabeth asked me to come aboard and help with the script as well as take up the role of director... though for this show, creatively, its a collaborative process.

The thing about every production I've ever directed is this: it's a journey.  I often sit down at the very beginning and worry that no ideas will come.... that this time, this one time, none of that accidental magic will happen, but inevitably I (or someone near me) manage to spark one idea which leads to another and another...

When I signed on board, Elizabeth and Ayse had a vague story-line based on a poem they liked.  They had a list of characters, some varying ideas, and that was all.  The challenge for Ayse and I was how to keep a cohesive story moving whilst keeping as much of the original character list (and the few stipulations that went with it) as we could.  (We knew people were already working on their pieces.)

Some people love the story.  Some people haven't commented on it.  Some seem less than pleased.  I suppose that's to be expected, but everyone should remember that this is a process.  From here, we need to work together so that the entire production only gets better.

A couple people have commented, for instance, on the role of the dark characters.  I never imagined them as beastly or ugly or anything undesirable.  I mean, this is a bellydance show after all.  We don't want hags!  We want powerful vibrant necessary women who are dangerous to our Dreamer as much in their allure as in their "darkness" (whatever that might be).  These characters must be captivating.

Originally, we didn't want to script to be too wordy.  We wanted to use the narrator to set mood--not to explain every scene.  In doing this, however, we seem to have written only a very basic conflict between light and dark.  The assumption being that the complexity would be brought in by the various performers.  Frankly, we didn't know how much direction we should give people on their pieces.

Then again, perhaps we should address this assumption that comes up time again that witches and harpies... and Medusa herself... must constitute something grotesque and haggish.  I created my online persona years ago as the Untamed Shrew.  Shrewish is hardly a flattering term for a woman, but it seems to me that any woman of interest or appeal usually winds up with some horrid title or another.  Here's our chance to take these characters back and redefine them!!! 

Now that I've spoken with a few of you, I have a better sense of play and especially of the role of the dark characters.  I'll look at the script again to see what I might do to highlight these performances with the actions of the Dreamer and the voice of the narrator.

Like I said, every production is a process.  I look forward to more processing... so please keep writing me your opinions!!!

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