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By The Bog of Cats
By Marina Carr
• It’s a blending of Folklore and Greek Rhythm.
• Set in an Irish ancient bog in the Irish midlands.
• Conceived a treacherous terrain.
• Concealing secrets of all kinds, but one particularly dark.
• Rejected by Carthage, her former lover Hester refuses to leave the
bog or give up her daughter, Josie.
• This is an edgy , dark, humorous, unfolding, tragic and unsettling
Production History
• By the Bog of Cats … was first presented in London by Sonia Friedman
Productions, Waxman Williams Entertainment and Mark Rubinstein at
Wyndham’s Theatre on 19 November 2004.
• By the Bog of Cats … was first produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin,
as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival, on 7 October 1998.
• Brought up in County Offaly, Marina Carr graduated from University
College Dublin in 1987 with a degree in English and Philosophy. She
was Writer-in-Residence at the Abbey and Trinity College Dublin. Her
plays include The Cordelia Dream (RSC), Marble (Abbey, Teatro
Vascello Rome), 16 Possible Glimpses (Abbey), Phaedra Backwards
(Mccarter Princeton), etc.
• Scenographer Monica Frawley
• performance space as a low two level isolated almost featureless pock marked dry hollow in what can be
imagined as a larger bleaker, sparsely populated landscape.
• Irregular textured oval shaped floor level area is backed on three sides (upstage, stage left and right) by a higher
level which curves down stage on stage left and right; with on/off egress up stage left and right.
• Two levels access each other via a connecting curved ramp from upstage centre to half way down stage left.
• There is down stage on/off wings egress from the down stage half of the oval shaped floor level which protrudes
over the stage apron into the front of the auditorium.
• The irregular textured surfaces disguise some foot and hand holds on the stage right sloping wall between the
two levels.
• It also accommodates an old caravan sunken, half submerged in a bog-hole which in turn does sink into the bog.
The same bog hole area doubles for the burial of the dead Black Swan. Another part of the floor accommodates
a more sinister bog hole.
• The synchronised choreographed appearances of characters with the subtly lit performance areas within the
space and the smooth queuing of the performers bring the audience effortlessly from setting to setting and
from time to time.
• The centre stage left performance space is anchored by a small broken ridge of raised rock which is visually
pleasing in the near emptiness of the space and low broken small ridge is used to good effect by the characters.
• The later wedding scene is augmented by sufficient well-chosen props and
dressings to set the occasion and to give the characters what they require
to enact the scene.
• The set presentation is visually pleasing, appropriate to the script and in
conjunction with the lighting design, costume design, hair and makeup
conjures an enhancing visual ambience populated by the mesmerising
characters of the writer’s imagination. The scenic elements are robust;
appear economically effective and are supportive of the whole
performance. The limited use of the backing projection screen for
projected images gives a subdued starkness to the space. This assists in
confining the observer’s attention on the performers, an effect which is
supported by Lighting Designer, Sinead Wallace’s lighting.
The Origins of stage design through architecture.
For example its like building with thought,meaning and imagination.
Its no longer seen as a stage decoration but rather as a tool for creation of
various special arrangements.
It involves all the elements that contribute to establishing an atmosphere
and mood for a theatrical presentation: lighting,sound,set and costume
• BY THE BOG OF CATS… By the Bog of Cats I finally learned false from
true, Learned too late that it was you and only you Left me sore, a
heart brimful of rue By the Bog of Cats in the darkling dew. By the Bog
of Cats I dreamed a dream of wooing. I heard your clear voice to me
a-calling That I must go though it be my undoing. By the Bog of Cats
I’ll stay no more a-rueing. To the Bog of Cats I one day will return, In
mortal form or in ghostly form, And I will find you there and there
with you sojourn. Forever by the Bog of Cats, my darling one.
My Scenographic approach
“Light is the most important part of theatre, It brings it together, and everything depends
on it.From the beginning I was concerned with light,how it reveals objects,how objects
change when light changes,how light creates space,how space changes when light
changes.Light determines what you see…I paint,I build I compose with light. ”
Robert Wilson in Arthur Holmberg
Light would be the the main source in this very dark production.
Everything would revolve around the right lighting.
The stage would be minimalist with the top quality actors. The production would be
portrayed through human bodies, space awareness, lighting, depth, height, distance and
The relationship between the characters would be conveyed through movement, spacial
arrangements e.g power and submission, intimacy and distance, freedom and constraint.
• “Sound, too, operates in conjunction with other elements on the stage to enrich
the sign network”
• A big emphasis would be put on projecting the sound from the actors which will
evolve naturally with time and practice. Sound scapes may be made to create
acoustical scenery,shaping the perception of space that is visually evident on
• The setting would be minimilist with a lot left up to the audience imagination and
• The meaning would be left ambiguous yet relatable to everyone in time and
• “Clothing has a significant role in the in the construction of social
meaning and personal identity in everyday life”
• Age, gender, nationality or religion, historical period, social status and
• Realisim, such as a kind endorsed by the Meiningen Theatre company,
used costume to signify social aspects of character and aimed for
historical accuracy and authenticity, whereas expressionistic
costumes, such as Jessners design for Richard the III, used costumes
as signs which attempted to make visible the internal workings of
• Pitches, Jonathan and Sita Popat, eds. Performance Perspectives.
London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
• Joslin Mckinney and Philip Butterworth, The canbridge intoduction to