A conceptual design project: Set in the Gate Theatre, London.
This Chimerica takes place in a found space: an underground darkroom, in which sits an immersive structure.
INITAL IDEAS & VISUAL RESEARCH
There are three main elements to my interpretation of Chimerica. Firstly, Xiang Lin narrates the stage directions, giving him a quasi-master of ceremonies role. Secondly, the darkroom setting aims to explore problems in the play, such as the differences in points of view. The darkroom is a practical space where actors can be seen to be "developing" photos as the play itself develops. Thirdly, the metal structure surrounds and frames everything onstage. As the scenes jump in time and place (20+ spaces in Beijing and the US, from 2013 to 1989) so does the structure's shape. The window frames created by these industrial brackets mean the audience and characters are constantly reminded of their own point of view. The security cameras and tv monitor, the flickering halogen lights, the flash of the camera, the sound of the tinny microphone, the smell of chemicals build an atmosphere of unease and paranoia. The plants and ribbon of red dresses are precious moments of colour that could provide hope or a greater awareness of what life is being lost as a result of corruption and totalitarianism.
My main feedback from this project was the fact that this type of structure offers great possibilities and opportunities for the director and cast to explore the story's nonlinear narrative. This model box shows an iteration of what the structure could be, in reality I think its exact shape across the space would be developed throughout rehearsals.