chapter  28
3 Pages

Visual composition, mostly: Richard Foreman


As the texts of my plays became increasingly fragmented in order to echo the truth of psychic life, I wanted the scenery to do the same. I wanted it to make reference to the various locales suggested on the page, but without my having to make set changes every three minutes. I wanted scenery that was in many places at once, like the mind. The spectator should ask: Am I in a living room, or in a bizarre factory where art (this play) is being produced? In all of my sets, I try to create a space which suggests something is being manufactured; it could be a laboratory, a factory, a meditation chamber, or a kitchen. The sets are not dreamy, poetic landscapes, but they become evocative because they give concrete form to the tension between different levels of reality. How can you be in something that seems like a factory and yet, at the same time, seems to be like your living room? Where are you really? It should make your head spin, because it echoes your real situation in life: you are in your living room relaxing, but at the same time your living room is a kind of factory where, even when relaxing, you are in the process of manufacturing your life. Moreover, the actions performed on the set should echo this same kind of tension. For instance, the performer’s elbows might be askew, as if at work making something in a factory, while the rest of his body is balanced in a pseudo-relaxed position, semiprone against a pillow, which suggests the couch he rests upon in his living room.