Sunday, January 22, 2006


was sort of a bust. Rainy weather, actor conflicts, etc.

BELOW: new dramaturg notes from the sunshiny days of Red Cans Week 2.

R. Beegle
Notes & Observations:
January 15, 2006

Cole: what if each can has a unique sound/signal, like a clap or a series of claps or a hum, so that the cans can recognize each other, and also the audience can recognize each can? Does each can have its own personality?

Should each can be recognizable throughout show and storyline, or is individuality among cans unimportant or even undesirable?

Modified cans: the “King” can is the height of two cans. Other cans have what appear to be their inner organs on the outside, loose red terrycloth sacks hanging off their nylon exteriors.

During rehearsal two outside forces threatened the cans. A toddler approached an active can and made several loud noises, possibly meant to convey the sentiment “I can see your shoes, did you know that I can see your shoes, hey!” The actor inside the can did not recognize the noise as coming from a toddler. The second incident involved a seemingly mentally challenged man who, as we arrived at the park, was occupying himself (innocently) whacking at tree branches with a plastic light saber. In the middle of rehearsal he approached the active cans and for a moment appeared to consider whacking at them, taking them for inanimate objects. However he did not whack and the cans were never aware of his proximity. What is a dramaturg’s responsibility when it comes to protecting the cans from onslaught? What would it be like to have a wholly foreign and potentially threatening body enter the world of the cans mid-performance?

Favorite move of this rehearsal: two actors switch cans during performance, a slow crawling out and crawling in. (Identity linked to the cans, and not the actors inside the cans?)

When it’s cold outside, the cans are like a blanket or a windbreaker or a tent. Actors seem naked and unprotected, without their cans.

Utter stillness works well in can performance. When all the cans are perfectly still for an extended period, there is a significant build up of anticipation.

Are the actors miked within the cans? Can we amplify their breathing, the sounds of their stamina and of their strenuous work?

Caitlin suggests that the actor in the King can wear extra long funky-toed shoes.

The King can ‘breathes’ by slowly pulling its height down to the ground, collapsing each segment one at a time, and then releasing, inflation and deflation. Interesting.

I like when cans seem to be ‘figuring it out’ either as pre-planned choreography or because the actor in the can is actually figuring out how to navigate a move onstage, or how to get out of a jam, or how to reorient themselves. Fun to see these moments of discovery.

Another favorite: Deputy can has a long tube emanating from its interior that occasionally leaks or sprays fluid. (Actor has strapped hot water bottle to his body inside the can.) This long tube snakes along behind can or coils beside it. The actor sometimes used his feet to kick the tube into the right place. At one point he rocks with excitement as the tube slowly drains itself of liquid. Entrails? Urethra? Enema? (a la Wooster Group “To You The Birdie?) There is a drain in the ground of the rehearsal space – would be cool to incorporate a found element like that into the performance.

What will be the climax of this performance? For example, “The Release of the Water.”

I like when Josh and Matt walk amongst the cans during rehearsal, leaning down to whisper directions to the actors – are they gods or roadies?

Will there be recorded ‘commands’ that direct the cans during performance?

It is interested when we hear laughter from inside a can. A joke we are not in on.

How close will the audience be to the cans? Patterns and meanings change when the cans are seen from above at a slight distance.

At one point three cans fall over at the same time, and they fall in such a way that the audience sees ‘up the skirts’ of the cans to the bodies inside.

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