For Joyce Cho Performance studies, a schema for Scenes With Joyce Cho
Contributed by Sibyl Kempson
"Unfortunately, there are only two plays: Richard the Third and put the ball in the goddamn basket."
The play of Scenes With Joyce Cho should really be done in a place that is shaped round, in which the audience reclines in reclining seats, and over them is a dome-shaped screen to project images and scenery. I think this place is called "planetarium?"
The sounds of all the voices are all around all the audience people. And because of the nature of their reclining position, it is to them as if they are bathing in the sound of the voices. In "reality," the voices are coming from people like James Lee and Joyce Cho speaking into amplifiers that are handheld and finely tuned so as to translate the sound into the immense speakers.
Note: These speakers have the ability, if someone evil or over-partying took the controls, of blowing out the brains and eardrums of the listening audience members, very powerful, and very closely-protected by security people. Only expert hands handle them, Thank God, and the volume is turned very low and that's all you need. [An idea of the difference between one violin playing very loudly and one hundred violins playing very softly will tell you a little bit about what I am thinking for the sound of the speaking of this play.]
The scene that really benefits from this set up is the Richard of York scene on Bosworth Field. Outdoor, interview voices cast over those speakers I've talked about.
Imagine the windblown, thoughtful pauses.
I don't know what Bosworth Field looks like, but I'm imagining it as a big meadow-type lawn with SOMETHING of culture and society in the distant background where the lawn ends - trees? Parked cars? Buildings of beige-ish brick and limited windows? And to see those joggers straining across the Field in greater then greater numbers, there's something very late-seventies about it, right?
I think there could be a ledge built in mahogany along the rim of the domed screen. And actors could be there too. Darth Vader could be there, definitely the CEO's - they thrive in that type of setting, anything with a long slim microphone and a screen in back of them, hotel-lobby/auto-show carpet, some kind of drapes somewhere? They love that kind of Powerpoint habitat, it's totally natural to them, and what's more, it's undeniably recognizable to us, and homey-in-a-corporate-way.
With the Dark Moo Cow of Moribundity and the Milk Children, I see them also in front of the screen, but this is a different kind of hominess, like hokiness, like when the Methodist minister calls the children up to the pulpit and does a little schtick. Like a puppet show [I keep wanting to say something like "like Punch and Judy" or "like Bread and Puppet" but I don't really know what that exactly means] in a church, in one of those rooms in the church where activities and lessons happen, one of the side rooms that's just a little bit cluttered in the corners, bulletin boards with representations made out of construction paper and brads, stupid, pathetic-looking little projects. The kind of vanilla people's church where timid, embarrassed and half-hearted singing from the hymnals happens and everyone obeys their in-laws. The consideration of thrown soy beans in this context could potentially be very moving.
Some of the scenes are just light and laser shows with voices talking. We don't see people or actors. It's going to be kind of fucked up, like something you may have seen as a child that someone took you to. Not a lot of fun, those parts, just flexing technical muscles and waiting. They'd have to be chosen strategically. I'd have to look at the tape of the reading to tell you where.
The place where the play takes place is a car garage that is built in the shape of a castle. It is the dumpiest castle that ever existed in the history of European aristocracy. It sits in broke down majesty at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Terrace Place in Windsor Terrace Brooklyn. Don't fuck with me, I see this place any time I go to the subway, this place is RAGING. I don't know who owns it, but there are a bunch of cars in the little parking lot. It's probably a chop shop, it might be called "Chop Suey Chop Shop." People and their dogs would hang out there before the show. If the weather is bad, we put up one of those shitty blue tarps like my dad puts over his woodpile that probably makes the neighbors call him a redneck behind his back. If we serve them ice cream, I probably shouldn't be involved, but they might want some ice cream. Kelly, can you serve the ice cream? I'm only saying that because I can't help thinking of Kasimir and Karoline. And I don't think the customers would trust it coming from anyone else in Joyce Cho quite frankly.
Anyway, the show is ready to begin and the audience files into the tiny little castle which also contains a theater. It is here that we will also perform The Grand Kindness by Amber Reed, and it will be the exact opposite of what [redacted] was saying that made be writhe in agony in my seat, cocktails, and house tour AGGHHHTTH I can't even write it it's too sickening. OUR castle is the real place like where the children of a fallen, disgraced urban aristocracy would perform their plays, what Mac was talking about but sadder. But more about that later, because I'm ITCHING with it!
The show takes place inside. It's cool and a little damp, smells like car oil and there are oil spots on the concrete floor. It's easy to forget you're in a castle, until the show begins. It will be a lot like the performance at the children's theater we did. People in the different scenes assembling, saying, exiting. It happens without a lot of hub bub. It's all about grasping the text. We use screens with projections, but sparingly. And there must be a café table for Joyce and James, and the tea party that happens later.
In one of the scenes, many young trees are wheeled in. I think it's at the end, I think the scene with Saint Peter. But that's it. The rest is very simple and about taking away fears, anticipations, and expectations and focusing on the text.