Tuesday, October 28, 2008

no name

A few of you know that I'm a fan of U2. This song has been in my head lately, it seems another take on the naming theme of Translations. Bono had this to say about writing it:

“An interesting story that someone told me once is that in Belfast, by what street someone lives on you can tell not only their religion but tell how much money they’re making - literally by which side of the road they live on, because the further up the hill the more expensive the houses become. You can almost tell what the people are earning by the name of the street they live on and what side of that street they live on. That said something to me, and so I started writing about a place where the streets have no name.”
Bono, 1987

Where the Streets Have no Name

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside.
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name.

I wanna feel sunlight on my face.
I see the dust-cloud
Disappear without a trace.
I wanna take shelter
From the poison rain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name.

We're still building and burning down love
Burning down love.
And when I go there
I go there with you
(It's all I can do).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sea Change

It all started a few days ago with my noticing that the stage directions mention a creel. When I looked it up, it turned out to either be a "large wicker basket for carrying fish." And it began to slowly dawn on me that these people are not only potato farmers, they are coastal people. They farm AND they fish.

Then two nights ago o I realized that I should look back at the photos I took during my 1999 tour of Ireland. We had spent some time up in County Donegal, exploring some of the islands there and checking out the Donegal Castle. And I began to realize how many of the photos show both ocean and farmland.

And I realized that I'd always visualized this barn as a farmers' barn, with scythes around and other farming implements. But now I realize there's another aspect: creels, fishing nets, etc.

Which led to a meeting today with set designer Melissa Elmore in which we reconceived a previous idea for a backdrop. It had been going to be burlap, but now will be both burlap and fishnet. The brown rusty tones of the burlap, and the bluish aquamarine color of the fishing nets.

Which made me realize that my Hawai'i connection is now richer. The ancient Hawaiians sustained themselves within their ahupua'a, their strip of land which included both farm land and ocean for fishing. From hawaiihistory.org: "Each moku was divided into ahupua`a, narrower wedge-shaped land sections that again ran from the mountains to the sea. The size of the ahupua`a depended on the resources of the area with poorer agricultural regions split into larger ahupua`a to compensate for the relative lack of natural abundance. Each ahupua`a was ruled by an ali`i or local chief and administered by a konohiki."

I remember a similar late-to-dawn realization in Streetcar that the lampshade that Stanley rips off the lamp should be globe-shaped and light-colored, to be the paper moon Blanche sings about. How many times have my eyes passed over that word "creel" without really seeing it? I love the process of SEEING every aspect of this play.