Gin & "It" 2010
“The interplay between the live and film actors is an elegant kind of dance,
a marvelous technical feat, visually arresting, aesthetically complex” -Jason Zinoman – New York Times
“The interplay between the live and film actors is an elegant kind of dance, a marvelous technical feat, visually arresting, aesthetically complex” -Jason Zinoman – New York Times
“The interweaving of film, theater, and technique in Gin & ‘It’ remains an inventive and fastidious tour de force that stands as a fitting homage to Hitchcock himself and the spirit of artistic creation as well.” – Charles Bales – OffOffOnline.com
“Farrington succeeds in creating spectacle that constantly surprises and amazes” – Andy Horwitz- Culturebot
“The virtuosity of his company—Karl Allen, Keith Foster, Tim McDonough, and Chris Loar—as they fulfill their choreography to the millisecond is a worthy tribute to a great film director.” – Jason Fitzgerald – Back Stage
“This approach, heavy on technical wizardry, creates a surplus of gorgeous, improbable stage pictures…”
– James Hannaham – The Village Voice
“This highly technical and subtextually nuanced show made my theater brain pretty much explode.”
– Anna Moore – A Year of Plays
“This new backstage video theater piece by Reid Farrington about four men working on Hitch’s set might be better than the movie it’s based on.” – L Magazene
May 2010 – New York Premiere @Performance Space 122
March 2010 – World Premiere @ Wexner Center for the Arts
January 2010 – Workshop as part of Public Theater’s Under the Radar @ 3LD Art &Technology Center
May 2009 – Workshop @ Eyebeam Art & Technology Center
The making of Gin & "It"
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 film ROPE is the source material for this work. Based on the Leopold and Loeb murder, the story is of two young men who murder a friend just for a thrill. They then host a dinner party for friends and family of the victim, serving the main course on the trunk that is hiding the corpse.
Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make the film in only one camera shot, like he was filming a stage play. This idea was limited by the fact that in 1948 only fifteen minutes of film could be loaded into the camera. Hitchcock solved this problem by structuring the screenplay around five to ten minute takes, and staging the action around the lumbering camera. He hid the cuts between reels by panning the camera into the backs of the murdering boys.
The choreography of the camera, the film crew, and the players in the film are revealed in this piece. This movement is used as a means to generate the majority of the stage action. I follow Hitchcock’s “staging” for the film as a blueprint for my action on stage.
I utilize Hitchcock’s narrative rhythm as the main theme and intersecting it with the choreography of the camera and the film crew. Combining the techniques I used in The Wooster Groups Hamlet and my break out piece, THE PASSION PROJECT, allows me to explore the untold story of the technical ballet occurring off-camera during the making of the film. Blurring the separation between on and off-camera action by projecting the on-camera action (the actors in the film) and staging the off-camera action (the crew making the film) the audience will witness why Alfred Hitchcock called Rope “an experiment that didn’t work out”.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope is a perfect candidate for this experiment because the film is in “one take”, without cuts. It is filmed like a drawing room play, in only one location. Working closely with the Warner Bros. Archive and the University of Southern California, I was able to collect the final screenplay containing Hitchcock’s notes, the scale plan of the set, and photos taken during the making of the film. All this information allows me to project the film onto a stage the exact size of the original film set. Four performers, representing the film crew, capture the projected images on film equipment such as: C-stands, flags, lighting units, and wild walls.
This production challenges the definition of theater with the integration of the projected image and use of choreographed movement. A team of four male performers capture the projected image of the film on hand held screens and moving set pieces. This creates a three dimensional film in front of the audience’s eyes.
Produced and Directed by Reid Farrington
Performers: Karl Allen, Keith Foster, Christopher Loar, Tim McDonough
Lead Editor: Paulina Jurzec
Set: Art Domantay
Costume: Erin Elizabeth Murphy
Lights: Christopher Heilman
Sound: Connor Kalista
Stage Manager: Julia Funk
Dramaturgy: Peter C. von Salis
Script Supervisor: Sara Jeanne Asselin
Fight Choreographer: Carrie Brewer
Research Assistant: Sarah Doyle
Best Boy Editor: Thomas Gonzalez
Editors: Celina Alvarado, Jeanne Angel, Patrick Grizzard, Xue Hou, Connor Kalista, Alex Kowal, Zak Loyd, Chris Martinez, Luisa Morales, Matthew Swenson, Masha Vlasova, Hannah Wasileski
Research made possible by the University of Southern California and The Warner Bros. Archive.
Reid Farrington's “Gin & “It” was co-produced by the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, Performance Space 122 and 3LD Art & Technology Center. It was developed at 3LD Art & Technology Center, and through the creative residency programs at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center and Wexner Center for the Arts. Gin & “It” also received generous support from New York State Council on the Arts, The Greenwall Foundation, and the Experimental Television Center and the Jerome Foundation.