Sunday, September 15, 2019

Frankenstein, Fan Veils, and Reflection, oh my!

The Davis & Elkins College Theatre Department is producing a version of Frankenstein this fall that makes me oh so happy.  It incorporates video projection, jamming rock and pop music, and modern dancers using fan veils.  Stick with me.  That's where I come in.

My husband started as the new Theatre and Film Instructor at D&E College last fall, 2018.  He's directing the October show this term, so of course he chose a version of the famous Frankenstein tale called After Frankenstein, Playing With Fire, and decided to incorporate video, rock music, and add a modern dance element to the production.  Because, why not.  Because he's married to me and has seen way too much belly dance over the years, he asked me to choreograph the show and use fan veils to add to the sense of drama and to help fill the space of the Harper McNeely auditorium where the show will be performed.  It's a big space to fill, but the vastness of the space lends itself well to the idea of being stranded in the deep Arctic circle.

My dancers are playing arctic sirens- predatory mermaids who act like a greek chorus and provide some levity and comic relief to what has the propensity to be a heavy narrative about male ego.  When not in use, the fan veils become part of the costume, serving as the mermaid's tails.  It's clever if I say so myself.  Finding new and interesting ways to use the fans and the fabric has been both a challenge and a joy, and I credit Jillina and the amazing way she creates props with getting my brain outside it's normal box for this show.

My girls are fabulous, and I can't wait for them to own the stage in October.  We're working together four days a week, and we still have a month to go, but already I can see the vision taking shape in rehearsal.  I've had a hard transition in the move back to West Virginia this last year, and honestly a long four years with losing loved ones and general life upheaval, (hence this being my first post in four years) but my sirens make me excited to face each day head on.  For the first time, I'm thankful that I'm right here, right now.  I feel like I'm exactly where I should be.  And that's a nice place to find myself.