First Draft of Playscript for Oudeis
by L.H. Grant
(Prologue and first three episodions)
One Hour DurationBecause the performance is slated for one hour and contains seven episodions each based in a different city, the use of time is very precious. This means that each episodion must be reduced to its essence and that redundant actions of no dramatic value must be eliminated. For instance, in the first episodion it is not necessary for us to watch Polyphemus eat six men at three different times, two men at one time will be sufficient. The same is true for when he milks his sheep. Furthermore, for dramatic effect, the use of time must be telescoped. That means that certain events that took place over several days will now occur within a smaller time frame. Again, using the first episodion as an example, instead of having Polyphemus come to his cave, discover Odysseus, eat two of his men, fall asleep, leave the cave, return to the cave, get drunk and have his eye gored by Odysseus, all events will now occur within a single time frame. The episodion remains true to Homerís Odyssey but it now has much more dramatic impact.
Virtual Actors (light cones)This was perhaps the most difficult of the challenges I faced. How to bring life to the light cones? But there were additional problems as well. For instance, how do you show a real actor handing a virtual actor a bowl of wine? Obviously the virtual actor has no hands...a dilemma...but one that has been resolved. Also, how do you show a real actor making love with a virtual actor or even more problematic, a virtual actor making love with another virtual actor? Dilemmas all, but ones that I believe have been successfully resolved in this script.
Four ScreensIt was important to have some firm idea of the design of the stage when writing this script so I used Gernotís concept of the stage as sketched by Santiago. In this sketch there are four large screens toward the back of the stage. I have numbered them from one to four starting from left to right. These screens will be used for their original purposes which was to show the stasimas, maps, biological sensor data, and net data. However, they will not be used for text.
Elevated ScreenIn addition to the four screens I have added an elevated screen to the playscript. This screen will be centered in the back of the stage and slightly elevated above the other four screens. It will primarily be used for each locations mother language. This will ensure that no actors, objects, smoke, or etc., get in the way of the audienceís view. Also, in moments of high drama this screen will be used to great effect, such as when Polyphemus loses his eye and when lightning bolts are used to signify a horrible storm.
Sound of Odysseus heartbeatThere were several considerations I faced when dealing with the biological sensors, not the least of which was the availability and practicality of the equipment. So, I came up with an enhancement to the sensors which could also serve as a replacement if we find the sensors to be impractical.
Stage SettingThe stage setting provided a unique problem. Since there are six or seven different real locations and each one represents a different place in the journey of Odysseus, it would be logical to assume that each RL would be designed for its particular destination of Odysseus. The problem is every RL is used as a stage for every episodion (i.e., every action and spoken word is seen and heard on all stages). Therefore, each RL must properly set the scene for each episodion if the performance is to remain coherent.
LanguageMy aim was to make the language in the script simple, precise and clear. I didnít want to use dialogue alone to propel the story but all of the elements at my disposal, including several new ones, to create this playscript.
Consistency Among All Real LocationsIn all RL stages all screens and audio will be the same with the exceptions of translated text and any strictly local generated sights and sounds.
VideoAll video and still pictures used in the playscript can be created and gathered before the performance. News organizations and archives will have an abundance of material. Furthermore, the scenes in which images of our actors are used can be videotaped during rehearsals and then edited for the performance.
Everything is DoableEverything in this script is eminently doable. If there are any questions concerning anything that you feel needs further explanation, let me know and I well try to provide an answer.
Performance as Seen on the World Wide WebI have incorporated my playscript into a design for the World Wide Web. Because of time constraints I have not been able to write down all of my thoughts on this subject but I will provide further information as soon as possible.
PrologueThe prologue is used to put the journey of Odysseus in perspective and also to introduce the audience to some of the techniques that will be used.
Episodion 1In this episodion I wanted to emphasize the action and adventure of the confrontation between Odysseus and Polyphemus. In fact, just after Polyphemus loses his eye the stage will erupt into a frenetic ballet of real actors, light cones, images and sounds. Everything will come into play and I believe it will have quite a dramatic affect on the audiences.
Episodion 2In this episodion there is very little dramatic action between the two main characters, Odysseus and Aeolos, so I chose to emphasize the humor in the situation of Aeolos being a minor deity.
Episodion 3In this episodion we see the metamorphosis of man to swine and back again.
Remember, This is a First Draft!In writing this draft I had to deal with many technical as well as creative choices. Now that I have resolved many of these difficulties it is my intention to concentrate more fully on the artistic side as I complete the remaining episodions and write another draft. It is my understanding that I will be solely responsible for any rewrites of the playscript. However, I welcome all comments and suggestions. Again, if you have any questions feel free to email me directly or send them to the oudeis-idea and oudeis-tech lists.