Friday, January 13, 2006


Matt and I met with visual artist Lucy Lenoir last night to work on modifying some of the cans. We took a trip to CVS pharmacy for supplies. Bought a combination douche/enema/water bottle system, a sewing kit, some red felt, and 13 boxes of candy canes (holiday merch was 95% off).

After learning to sew and to properly operate a hot glue gun, we created the following specialty cans:
*one can with secret windows near the bottom
*one double-tall can with secret windows near the top
*two cans with exterior stomach pouches and puppet-like openings to collect or expel objects (i know that sounds a bit grotty, but i swear to god this will be a family show)

We begin again tomorrow, in the park... But FIRST, here are some notes taken during last week's rehearsal by R. Beegle, dramaturg extraordinaire:

R. Beegle
Notes & Observations:
January 7, 2006

Cans are strangely evocative – they magnify elemental emotions acutely, when they perform the simplest action: run, fall down, walk slowly, turn in a fast circle.
Would be interesting to play against this tendency – work to strip the cans’ movements of any currently recognizable emotional content. What would you be left with? It would be cool to subvert the impulse to feel ‘emotional’ about the cans in any kind of traditional way. Better to invent a whole new way of feeling.

And, WHY the magnified emotion with the cans? Do they represent victims, or children? Do we relate to the struggle of captivity and confinement? Do we even care about these themes at all or are we just having a good time?

What’s the deal inside the cans? What is the meaning of ‘confinement’? Possibilities: Fear. Captivity. Privacy.

What ways can the cans work around the confinement? Fight against it?

Are the cans scary or funny?

Shade vs. sunlight within the can:
When outdoors, the sun can make can/actor too hot very quickly –
light cue as torture device?
Darkness as a soothing reward?
Theatrical devices ‘control’ the cans
How light cues cause emotional/physical response both within can,
and within audience

Cans falling over = sympathy, empathy, ‘turtle on back’
==vulnerable, embarrassing, victim, merely human?

The Ideal Look:
Upright can
No ‘head bump’
Compressing the body in, focusing inward
Arms tucked in (no elbow bumps)
A scooting motion, a lift-and-place instead of a drag

Things to do with the cans, things the cans can do:

Responding to sound cues within the cans.

“Herding” the cans

Be shockingly athletic within the can.

Different shapes of cans due to different sized people inside each can

Raise and lower can – from within, and from without

Kicking things from inside the can (setting objects into motion)

Sucking things up into cans and depositing them elsewhere

Change direction of cans based on sounds

Synchronized movements of cans (Rockettes style)

Turning in place (a 360 degree turn)

How to cans express victory?

The cans as children.

The cans are sweet and funny.

The cans as torture chambers for very bad people.

The cans as humiliation, as pure vulnerability, as our toys to do with what we will.

Distance has different measure when one is within a can

Good sounds can be made by the cans themselves – nice crumpling sounds. Sounds can both communicate can-to-can and can-to-audience – 2 modes of can communication.

What message to the visible feet send? Feet are the only ‘human’ part visible…

It’s good when the cans try and fail.

Will there be a moment when the cans come off and we see the actors?

How do cans fight and compete? Is there blood or bodily fluid?

A mass grouping of all but one can = terribly sad! Especially if the group is making a collective
noise, and the left-out can is making no noise, or a different noise, like one plaintive wail from the solo can…

How do the cans awaken/activate? When do they rest/turn off? Who is controlling them?

Waves of abstract noise from within the cans, become a pattern --- for the audience there is a sense of ‘what does it mean’ because it sure seems to signify something. Again, magnified meaning.

A hand clap as a question, from within the can. Answer comes from unexpected place.

Cans bump into people.

Are there evil cans?

Some cans have secret moves that they alone are capable of performing.

How are the cans individualized? Are they numbered or named?

How many different ways of dying are there for the cans?

One can only goes forward and backward, never turns around – we never see its back.

Use lighting to make inside/embryo visible – see what’s inside the can?

Use an empty can ‘husk’ onstage and see how other cans respond.

Create a language of movements for the can, like choreography.

Reaction of unsuspecting audience members the first time they see cans: wonder, delight, confusion. Do they think it’s a children’s show, or a scientific experiment? How to control the way the audience will first encounter the cans.

People zipped top and bottom into can, like an embryo, and then rolling or crawling. What reaction from other cans? How is this kind of can related to the others?

For the actors: what happens at that moment when the “want to be let out of” their can? What are those feelings? Tired or panicky or what?


Tim said...

Thanks for posting this. I have no clue what you're up to, but I'm completely absorbed in this blogging process. In my mind this is currently some sort of animated Christo installation, but that changes regularly. It's intriguing to get this glimps inside the minds of RR.

Anonymous said...

""Light cue as torture device...

The cans as torture chambers for very bad people.

The cans as humiliation, as pure vulnerability, as our toys to do with what we will.""


Very nice! I like the subtle
suggestion that the cans are not
necessarily something to be envied.

On the other hand, if we want
to explore them as
unsympathetic spectacles,
it seems to me like we should
play w/ them as being highly enviable. Invoking a feeling
from the viewer: "MY LORD!

ofcourse, it's still an
emotional reaction however
instead of 'looking down' on
the cans, can we flip it so
that we turn them into objects
of idolatry and/or worship??