For my drama assignment this term I had to create a physical performance that was meant to last about five minutes... Mine went for a bit longer than that. It was based on the story of Oedipus. Here is the basic story and characters:
Characters and Costuming:
The moon is made by two women wearing white, reflective full body suits and hanging, in the shape of a circle, from wires attached to white harnesses on the front of their torsos. They are positioned stage centre right, high up and towards the back of the stage. They represent the moon in the sky.
They face away from each other, put their feet together and hold onto a suspended ring between their heads for support. They then push their torsos away from each other to create the shape of the circle.
A man dressed in clothes inspired by early 19th Century vagabonds.
He is positioned stage left on a tall black box; reaching half way to the top of the frame in front of the stage.
A man dressed in a toga and reclining on top of another tall black box. However this one is positioned stage right and is a further metre taller than the soothsayer’s box.
The demons are three men wearing black full body suits.
They hang from wires attached to black harnesses on the back of their torsos.
The man wears 19th Century long johns and a white shirt.
For the majority of the man’s stage time he is on a black box that is centre stage and one metre high. The box symbolises a bed.
A woman wearing a 19th Century night gown and hanging in a net, but with a wire attached to her via a concealed harness for safety.
Her net hangs centre stage, above the young man’s box.
The curtains open on a dark stage. A medium strength spotlight shines on the people making the moon. Another spotlight, full strength, shines on the soothsayer. He begins speaking and warns the Greek god’s of the event that is about to transpire: the murder of a young man by his mother. He tries to convince them to bring morning on early so the man will not be in his bed when his mother comes to do the deed.
The spot light on the soothsayer turns off and another one turns on to reveal a Greek deity. He reflects on what the soothsayer has said but tells the story of how the young man killed his father because he loved his mother and determines that he deserves to die. Instead of shortening the night, the deity calls forth demons to torment the mother and hurry her to the scene of the impending murder. The spot light on the deity turns off and another one shines on stage. A young man enters the central pool of light from behind the deity’s box and speaks of his love for a woman, but does not mention that it is his mother. He moves onto his box and goes to sleep. The central spotlight turns off and another one turns on to reveal his mother, hanging in a net with demons surrounding, pushing and taunting her. They are contorting their bodies to seem evil or tormented.
One demon hands her a knife and then they stop tormenting her and hang still, like dead people. She is suspended horizontally and the net lowers her half a metre above the young man and he comes into the light as the demons are left hanging in the dark. The young man stirs and starts talking of a dream he was having of his love. He says that he is imagining that she is floating above him but he wishes to be back in his dream and falls back to sleep.
Then she takes the knife and stabs the air above him three times and a spotlight is turned on with each stab to finally reveal the whole stage, but the young man remains undisturbed. The first stab: there is a loud bang and at the same moment that she stabs a spotlight turns on and shows the deity standing on his box and pointing at the murder scene. The second stab: there is a loud bang and at the same moment that she stabs and another spotlight turns on and shows the soothsayer’s body dead and contorted. The third stab: the same thing happens but this time the demons are revealed and the people making the moon drop into the same positions as the demons.
She stabs him once more and this time, along with the bang, the whole stage goes dark. When the lights are turned back on the deity is gone, the mother is a metre higher and hanging limply, and the soothsayer is also limp; with one arm dangling over the edge of his box. The demon’s, however, are still hanging limply with all of their bodies except their heads; they are looking straight at the young man. The stage goes black, again with a bang. One spotlight comes on and shows the young man standing in front of his box, looking down. He raises his arms slowly while the demons, out of sight, are being discretely lowered to the ground and unclipping their wires. The young man looks up and asks ‘And am I dead?’ before the demons swarm over him ...
... and there is a final bang as the stage is plunged into darkness.
How the deity exits view:
The deity’s box has a wide ledge one metre lower than the top on the side facing away from the audience. When the lights turn off he quickly gets down onto the ledge and lies flat.