In a recent post our playwright, Brian spoke about making this play an immersive experience and in order to do that we need to understand what the world of "Iphigenia 3.0" is and what the components are that fit and do not fit into that world.
For my Next Step project I chose to focus on the animation sequences that we see in the opening scene as well as in the later scene between Iphigenia and Orestes taking a ride back to the suburbs on coin-operated ponies. The words that we as a group (Jake, Caleb, and I) came up with that best described the play we were developing were "pop", "frenzy", and "disorienting"-- so my job from that point was to take a look at the base text, the adaptation, and how I could, as a designer, make those emotions come across in a short animation sequence.
In order to get my point across I pulled from sequences that I know already and felt applied to the feeling we were going for. I chose "Coraline" an animated film based on the book by Neil Gaiman, "Carrie" by Stephen King and starring Sissy Spacek, and "The Babadook" directed by Jennifer Kent.
The opening sequence in Brian's piece is a quick prologue to get the audience up to speed. When set to music something that would start out like a sweet family story turns horrifying really quickly. Example being, "The Babadook" pop-up book.
Color wise it uses charcoal on white paper against a red background, which I think if we're going to be doing a quick catch up, I could see something like this playing to our advantage given the importance of blood in "Iphigenia 3.0". Something else that we may take a look into is this idea of being followed, chased after, stalked, by a great "other"-- in Iphigenia and Orestes cases it would be the hand of the gods, or fate. In both "The Babadook" and in "Coraline" we see these really creepy images of bony, dead, sharp, claws reaching to pluck them out of the world.
The biggest difference between these sequences is that while Babadook chooses to focus on a lack of color and sensory deprivation to chill its audience, Coraline is the exact opposite and uses an overload of color and whimsy to equally disorient them. "Carrie" is a beautiful example of the use of color. We go from bright whites and the cleansing of an innocent girl to her first blood and being traumatized in the locker room-- the beautiful prom scene where she's normal and lovely, and the room is blue and shiny and bright, then immediately popping to dark reds on top of more reds that lead to the massacre of teachers and students.
I think if we can find a way to: 1) dig into how colors are linked to the past and present; 2) making it creepy, visceral, and immediate; and, 3) make it look like the world of the Oresteia was something that was mold-able or created by a great other-- perhaps by making it look like a book or a claymation. I love the idea of incorporating a style like that into the opening animation; in my head this gives some sense that the past was made by the intentions of the gods, but the future is made by the choices of real people. If we can hit all of those notes in an opening sequence, I think we're not only doing right by the text but also by the audience in preparing them for what lies ahead.