The Ghosts of Mirror Lake: Expanded with Media and Monologues

Concept
To work with the Media Design students with the tools presented to expand our The Ghosts of Mirror Lake scene using various forms of projection, live-feed, or other technology available with the goal of enhancing the experience thematically, dramatically, and theatrically. This project will be incorporated into the collectively devised theater project titled “Once Upon The Oval” to be premiered in March 2020 at Drake Performing Arts Center at The Ohio State University.

Methodology
The process began with a presentation by Alex Oliszewski of the materials available to the media designers to build into the selected scenes. At the end of this class we had an opportunity to mingle with the designers. Our group, Tara Burns, Sean Naughton, Laura Neese, and Emily Craver met with William Ledbetter as our designer and brainstormed about The Ghosts of Mirror Lake. Later, he contacted us for a video of the scene sans media.

The performers worked with Sean, our assigned “outside-eye”, to expand the characters of the three ghosts of the lake. Sean suggested we began with a free-write of our ghost’s thoughts and feelings. We wrote, shared, and decided the location of the monologues within the scene which currently included mostly movement and choice sentences said by the three performers at the same time.

After presenting The Ghosts of Mirror Lake to the Media Design class with our monologues, Will showed us a presentation of the materials he gathered (images and videos) and his ideas for live feed connectivity. That weekend, we all met in the medial to rehearse and understand the connections between light, media, and expand the characters further. Sean coached us in our monologues and blocking, while Will videoed the final representation.

Discoveries and Looking Ahead
The final class was the first time we had done the whole piece with the media. Although I wouldn’t call this a collaboration with the media designer, I would call it a successful pairing and enjoyed everyone’s openness to ideas and investigation in the work. This process would have benefited from a full class period of experimentation with the media designer allowing for an active collaboration. However, with that said, the theatrics brought depth, the media cultivated history, and the work on text and character building brought meaning to the scene. Sean’s outside eye was thoughtful and inclusive, Emily, Laura, and I worked effortlessly together, and Will’s contributions completed a multidisciplinary vision.

Advisor/Instructor: Dr. Nadine George-Graves

Split wide open

With my perceptions split wide open (with the floodgates of information that is downloading into my brain) including Queer Theory, Gender Theory, Philosophers Husserl, Butler, Foucault, Kristeva, all bodies and their labels, “The Explicit Body,” Daphne Brooks’ “Bodies in Dissent,” Drew Leder’s “The Absent Body,” readings on the complicated reality of empathy, perception and archive (and that’s just a few, mostly from my Performing Bodies Theory course lead by Dr. Nadine George-Graves), I am wondering where my ideas begin and if I even have any. Everything has been done. Things I don’t want to do, things I wish I thought of and things that I don’t even understand. It’s been done. I’ve heard this before, but now with my brain so full, it feels overflowingly evident.

This past week I taught my first full improvisation class and was evaluated by the chair of the dance department. I spoke and some of my thoughts landed in my discussion/theory course and I lead my “sandbox” which is part of my Interdisciplinary Research Studio class. Teaching, leading and talking out of my mouth (as opposed to my body)…higher stakes, yes…and done. I say higher stakes, but I’m not in the real world with these stakes. I’m in a safe little bubble where there are quite a few people that care about movement, embodiment, and dance in the way I do. It is also quite obvious they care about teaching and are very knowledgable in this field.

However, I do question the nervousness I feel when presenting in this environment. I have presented during two open works-in-progress showings this year and both have been in the middle of experiments with unknown destinations and/or purpose.

“Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art

I’m going to try to hold strong to the idea that right now is about experiments and possibly failed ones. It’s about my education, my self-exploration and not about what others think of me. Self-doubt is my ally.

The stakes got a little higher this semester

We are now beginning week 5 and I have no idea where the time went. I have read the entire Emergent Strategies book by Adrienne Marie Brown and I’ve learned Emergent Strategies can be placed on your entire life. Change the lens, change the world. We’ll see.

I’ve been working on creating something using Tilt Brush in VR and so far I realize I like to create houses and known environments. I find the disembodiment disorienting and exciting. You have no hands or legs, only a mind, vision, and sound if you wanted it inside Tilt Brush land.  I hopefully will get a chance to try out an improvisational score I’ve built this week. It’s based on the sensations I’ve felt inside the system so far and some brief interactions with some other dancers. Click here and here to see some things I’ve created so far to glean inspiration.

I have a lot more agency this semester. If I have assignments I have to decide how I want to do them and learn from my mistakes. I guess it’s good I decided last semester I was ready to begin failing. All of my classes ask me to present/teach material at some point. I have my MFA required paper in my Theory course (Performing Bodies with Dr. Nadine George-Graves) where I have to create my own topic and defend it. My Research Studio course is basically created by me to build a project (Tilt Brush) using the scope of Emergent Strategies, the resources of ACCAD and the others in the class. This week I’m teaching a class for my fellow graduate students. Thank goodness for my technique class, although it’s hard in a different way.

It’s all hard, it’s all good and I’ve finally got my engine revved up. Now if only we could stop having -6-degree weather and snow days.