A Passion Project Turned Undergraduate Thesis
Full Video of Performance
(Getting this large video onto the internet did
require some downgrading in quality)
From Research to the Stage
About the Project
This was an effort to combine the studies of lighting design and playwriting to create a performance whose process explores aspects of both. The core “thesis” idea comes from the typical concept that light is put onstage to support a story and to support the characters in it. This is an attempt to reverse that concept; how can the bodies onstage support light as the main performer? How can light become a character in a story? How can the concepts of characterization translate to a nonhuman stage presence? The goal was to make the light onstage the primary story teller and main character while using the body provided to help further its story.
I always knew what story I wanted to tell for this thesis, I just didn’t know how until fairly recently. Presenting the story at the core of the piece really serves as an emotional catharsis for a big part of my experience growing up over my four years of college. Tying this story to a lighting thesis proved to be difficult until I kind of stumbled on the idea of making the light the teller of said story. From there the sci-fi aesthetic and omnipotent main character came naturally and a really impactful experience (for myself, and hopefully others) was born. The catharsis was even more potent perhaps than just telling the story through normal theatrical means. The idea of a higher being giving out these words of wisdom and advise is exactly what I needed when I was going through the period of loss and perspective shifting detailed in the story. It’s one thing for your friends to tell you things are going to be okay when you are going through something tough, but at the same time I found myself thinking “well what do they know? They haven’t been through this, they can’t see the future etc.” The idea of something bigger than us telling me directly that things are going to be okay is the comfort I desired, and so we created a character that is all knowing with both the ability to be simultaneously subjective and objective to offer a tough but undeniable shoulder to cry on. We then framed the experience in a way to engage the audiences most visceral senses, sight and sound, to try to pass the feeling of the piece onto those engaging with it as best as we could.
As they say, LUCiAN is an omnipotent being who has been designed to help humans feel. They are fed the emotional experiences of humanity so they can be processed in an attempt to create solutions to any emotional problem one could be dealing with. In the world of this experience, LUCiAN is probably being developed to be the most effective therapist ever to exist. They want to help certain people feel certain things, or help people through the things they are feeling through the presentation of these “Experiences”. They express themself through a reality bending Interface where either the patient can enter and be exposed to an experience with LUCiAN directly, or an Interface Technician can help LUCiAN present Experiences as deemed necessary. Though, as LUCiAN gets smarter and more powerful, they may sometimes be able to take the reins and deem people in need of an Experience, even if that person wasn’t prepared to receive one…