Academic journal article TheatreForum

SILENCE & DARKNESS: A Live Movie for the Cell Phone Age

Academic journal article TheatreForum

SILENCE & DARKNESS: A Live Movie for the Cell Phone Age

Article excerpt

CHARACTERS

Men in business suits with cell phones:

ALPHA

BETA

DELTA

GAMMA

Women in tattered, cybernetic prom dresses:

ZETA

PATTI

PAGE

Two decrepit exhibit automata, resembling mechanical waxworks:

ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL (may be played by a lip-synched dummy)

THOMAS ALVA EDISON (doubles as THE DOCTOR)

It does not matter if the war is not real, or when it is, that victory is not possible. It is meant to be continuous. The essential act of modern warfare is the destruction of the produce of human labor.

- George Orwell,

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Come here. I want to see you.

-Alexander Graham Bell

0.0 Hall of Inventors

In the Pre-show lights are up, downstage left, on decrepit, ancient, malfunctioning animatronic automata of Alexander Graham Bell, who is confined to a wheelchair, and Thomas Alva Edison, who stands beside Bell, one hand on the chair and one on a cane or walking stick, revolving at the center of a turntable stage, mostly frozen as though turned off, but twitching repetitively from time to time.

PROJECTED TITLE:

Hall of Inventors

House lights, stage lights and Projected

Title fade to black.

0.1 Silence

Lights up on Beta, a man in a dark business suit, downstage right. He hand-signs the following line.

BETA: (Signing) In the beginning, there was silence...

simultaneous with

Projections: caption for Beta's line.

PROJECTED TITLE:

In the beginning, there was silence...

Lights and Projections blackout.

0.2 Overture

Overture: Music in darkness

ends with

Sound (in darkness): scratchy sample (or fake) of Alexander Graham Bell.

Animatronic ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL Automaton: (lipsynch) Come here. I want you...Come here. I want you...Come here. I want you...Come here. I want you...

Sound/music/projections:

KICK-START THE ROOM to

Projections: slow crossfade to montage of earth from space, Indian head TV test pattern, TV snow in various colors, deep space; very long, slow fade up of large shimmering bell logos and light bulbs, images of Edison and Bell, generations of camera and telephone design, floating through space

while

0.3 Bell & Edison

Lights up on automata of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Alva Edison

Sound: scratchy sample (or fake) of Thomas Alva Edison.

Animatronic THOMAS ALVA EDISON Automaton: (lip-synch)

Mary had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.

Sound: scratchy sample (or fake) of Alexander Graham Bell.

Animatronic ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL Automaton:

(lip-synch) C-, c-, c-, come here. I-I-I-I want to see-see-see you... Come here. I want you... Come here. I want you ..Come-come-come-come here. I want you... [Photo 2]

Two stagehands enter dressed in white shirts, black tie and pants, like waiters, but in lab coats, or mechanic's coats, for this scene; one stagehand rolls a hand truck. They approach the malfunctioning automata, turn them off, and one stage hand rolls Bell's wheelchair off the turntable, while the other stage hand loads the standing Edison, leaning back onto the truck; the stage hands roll the automata off upstage. Later, Bell and Edison are planted at downstage right, where they watch the action, like a cyborg chorus, occasionally commenting in lip-synched fragments, and generally malfunctioning, machine parts and circuitry popping out of them. The second stagehand returns to the stage, she looks up at the lights, and snaps her fingers, and the lights blackout.

0.4 Cyburbia

Sound: Bell's repeated line builds into the score for

Projections: crossfade to curtain all around stage, lightly rippling, with whitehot neonesque:

PROJECTED CREDITS:

[insert producer/presenter name here]

presents

a live movie for the cell phone age

Cyburbia Productions'

SILENCE & DARKNESS

superimposed over

Projections: curtain opening on Cyburbia

zoom in and pan with titles superimposed

PROJECTED TITLES:

CYBURBIA

the indeterminate future

with

Sound/music: cascading white noise/ static, satellite transmissions, radar/ sonar bleeps, shortwave radio, montage of phones through the years

transforms to

Sound/music: composition/soundscape constructed of cell phones ringing interwoven with score

behind

PART ONE STATIC

Projections:

PROJECTED TITLE:

STATIC

1. …

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