Journal, Music, Projection, Stage Design

Day Ten

All the way along with the musical sessions, the visual team, Lucas and Jeroen, are privately having their technical rehearsal. They’re safely tucked away at the Theatre Studio, where the piece will be performed Thursday and Friday, cozy behind the backdrop of the stage. There’s another production going on tonight, so there’s very little time for the set up of our show. It is estimated that we need 16 hours to build it up. That’ll happen tomorrow, as we’ll have our last day in the Music studio of deSingel where we’ve been rehearsing for the past few weeks. But today Lucas and Jeroen are operating on a much smaller scale: they work around the scale model table of the Fujiyama, testing lights and camera shots, surrounded by boxes and props.

Musically, we’re working out details for the end of ‘Kibitsu’, which will feature a fiercely sung chorus by all, in the great tradition of doomed 1930’s gospel choirs that sing loud questions. “Oh, Death, where are you?” The 7/4 part in ‘A Serpent’s Lust’ is still tricky, Valgeir added an electronic layer with a warped voice. We test out ways to enter in ‘Rain’, the idea now is to have everybody come on stage, with intervals of 1,5 mins and make rain related noises. Drippings, screeching winds, anything goes. When everybody is on stage, there’s electronic thunder, the lights go out and we start playing the ‘Rain’. That’ll be the start of the show.

We have another run through with the first, rudimentary soundscapes. Valgeir also agrees that there could be a spot where he gets more time for his soundscape finale. That would ideally be right after ‘The Blue Hood’ and before ‘On Poverty and Wealth’.

The whole set list is:

1. Rain
2. White Peaks
3. The Chrysanthemum Vow
4. The Reed Choked House
5. The Carp of My Dreams
6. Kibitsu
7. A Serpent’s Lust
8. The Blue Hood
9. On Poverty and Wealth

After rehearsal that was photographed by Spike, we have a peek behind the backdrop of the Theatre Studio stage to check up on Lucas and Jeroen. The run through of this afternoon has been recorded for their purposes: the scripting of the camera movements. The camera projects in a single take, uninterrupted. So they need to know how long songs are and etc. Fades to black will be made manually; the camera is pointed into black zones onstage. We get a first impression of how the mountain will be lit in morning and evening lights. It looks cute in its smallness, but impressively realistic on the little video screen. Very curious to see the results full blown on a 3 x 8m screen mounted above our heads.

When the musicians are gone to their hotel rooms and houses, we set out stage positions with Lucas and Valgeir. Lucas drew up a stage plan with the three Glows central, surrounded by the rest of the group and the projection table right behind them. Strings would go left, winds right, drums and bass at the back of the stage, marimba to the other side. We mark player’s positions with empty chairs, handy for the stagehands to rig up the lightning tomorrow. The stage looks pretty big when it’s empty; the venue being a perfect black box. The audience rises high in front of the performers, adding up to the sensation of being very close to one another. When the playing field is taped out and all the positions are chosen, we go home and process the recordings of today.