Schema for Scenes with Joyce Cho
contributed by Amber Reed
For "Scenes with Joyce Cho" we will find a place where no one expects anything good to happen to them. For me this place would be an American Legion hall, a DMV, or a Chuck E. Cheeze, so let's say it's a DMV. Everyone in the audience is given a number as they arrive and they sit in those blue plastic chairs facing the DMV counter. The play should start at least half an hour late so as to fill the audience with a sense of irritation and indignation. Maybe there can be a Kempson-esque prologue-some kind of altercation between someone who actually wants to renew his license and a Cho who tries to explain that it's a theatrical happening etc. etc. Or we pretend to draw numbers for fabulous door prizes and the same person keeps winning, or no one wins, or we call out letters instead of numbers. Every ten minutes a Cho will come out and apologize for the delay and say the play will start in five minutes. This will establish us as untrustworthy and help to fill the audience with bitterness and frustration.
Joyce Cho will not play Joyce Cho, but she will be in the audience making sarcastic noises and texting other Koreans on her phone. Someone else planted in the audience, someone who just seems old and crazy, will mutter to himself during the weaker parts and say things like "What a load of horseshit!" to his neighbors during certain transitions.
Joyce Cho should maybe be played by a white girl, with the hope that the audience will be annoyed she's white and wonder angrily whether this is some kind of half-assed attempt at social commentary. Our claque could turn to the person sitting next to him and say "Why isn't she Oriental?" during the first scene. When the actors first appear behind the DMV counter they're speaking very quietly. Maybe it would be good if all of the actors except for the one playing Joyce Cho seemed really retarded. They read the script slowly as if they were near-illiterates whose turn it was to read the Sunday scripture. These actors will be painfully sincere but the actress playing Joyce Cho will seem like she doesn't really like the play. She'll be a bit of a showboat and her fans in the audience will go "Awwww!" whenever she does anything cute, which will make everyone around them feel uncomfortable or roll their eyes.
Sometimes there will be very little time between scenes and sometimes there will be a lot of time. We will use projections to set the scene but they'll be crappy and not focused well-they look like we took people's vacation pictures and tried to Photoshop them out, so the projections are all pockmarked by these weird people-shaped abrasions. Also sometimes the person in charge of operating the projector fucks up and falls behind and then has to quickly click through a lot of slides in a row.
After everyone has been disgusted by Joyce Cho we will administer The Grand Kindness (the play, not the act).
Our film of "Scenes with Joyce Cho" is like an American silent film, but done by French people. The colors are pretty muted and the reel is in bad shape, but it's still all incredibly elegant. We can film it all in Brooklyn I think. In the beginning, all of the dialogue is held up on placards (does anyone know calligraphy?). Gradually but erratically our silent film becomes a talkie-sort of like how "The Wizard of Oz" becomes a colored film but more jerkily, like a broken wind-up toy. Joyce Cho is either the first or last character to acquire the gift of speech.
Transitions in the movie will be important. Sometimes there won't be any. That will be disorienting. Ha! But sometimes they'll be quite elaborate and incredibly beautiful. I used to watch a math show called "Square One" on PBS. It featured different segments, like the one with an animated pacwoman hopping around a pyramid made out of numbers (wait am I just thinking about the lottery?), but at the end, there was something called MATHNET, which was always the best part, and it was about gumshoes who solved crimes with math. Maybe we could show frames from that between scenes-Mathnet looking surprised, Mathnet busting in a door-just hold single frames while we play either selections from the Nutcracker or different French children singing the theme song from Square One. Or KK could sing it and we could also make things move around.
(Synthesizer joining In)
We'll use our placards to tell people where the scenes are but will expend absolutely no effort to make the locations look real. Everything will always look like Brooklyn.
Joyce Cho could play herself in the film, or not. She's told me that she really wants to be Darth Vader.