The last time we met up, we decided that the biggest theme in our approach to Hedwig would be “growth through pain.” There is so much destruction that happens through the course of the show, and out of that destruction Hedwig emerges as a stronger and more compassionate person. Building off of that, we decided that our show would take place on the set of FURIOUS! The Fast and the Furious Musical. This fictional musical will have just closed due to a terrible accident that occurred in the previous performance. Hedwig have the chance to perform on a set that is physically dangerous to perform on. As Hedwig’s character is broken down, the set will break down with her.
We began thinking about what an actual “Fast and Furious” set might look like. The idea of speed and danger was important, not just for the fictional musical but for the story that we were trying to tell with our production of Hedwig. Everything should feel on-edge.
We decided that our set would feature a Los Angeles street with two cars racing out towards the audience. One of these cars would be in mid-air and flipped upside down, mimicking the famous car stunt from the first film.
To help sell the idea of a street extending back into z-space, we wanted to use forced perspective. Ideally a patron sitting in the audience would have the illusion that the set goes farther back than it really does. We accomplished this by placing circles of exponentially increasing radii around a central vanishing point, and then using those to determine where our office buildings’ windows should be.
From there, we printed out maps of how we would cut out our set in quarter-inch white foam core. We decided to make the set in half-inch scale, which would provide us with more surface area to project on in detail. We hung translucent material on the windows and on the back wall to stand in for rear-projection material we would be using for a real production.
From here, obviously, we need to decide what our projected content will be. We decided that our three songs would be “Tear Me Down,” “The Origin of Love,” and “Wicked Little Town (Reprise)”. “Tear Me Down will be the first song, and it will use the tech from the fictional Fast and Furious musical. Aesthetically, imagery will reflect the speedy directional blurs from the film’s poster design. Lights will move backwards along the wall, giving the illusion that the cars in the center are racing towards us. At the end of the song, the flipped car will break from its suspension, crashing onto the stage. It will appear to be a random accident, but will actually be controlled and safe.
“The Origin of Love” will mark the transition from Fast and Furious-land into Hedwig-land. This will be the moment when we really enter into Hedwig’s world. Hedwig will begin the song by wheeling out an old-fashioned transparency projector. She will be using actual slides for her presentation. She will create some cool analog effects with transparency and using liquids to mix colors á la Joshua Light Show. At a certain point in the song, the physical transparency projector will fade out as our digital projections fade up, creating a seamless transition to a high-tech projection design covering the entire stage.
“Wicked Little Town (Reprise)” will mark an emotional low point for our character in some ways, but will be inspirational in others. By this point in the show, entropy will have taken over. The set will be broken, as will our characters. As for exactly how that will be shown visually… We’re not totally sure yet. We know what direction we want to go with it, but we don’t quite know exactly what we will be displaying.
There is obviously quite a bit of work to be done from here, including the creation of a full-color model and setting up our actual projectors.