Raised in Captivity - Nicky Silver

Group Presentation Notes

Here are some notes I took during the first group presentation. Hopefully they accurately summarize the class discussion. I have put any questions that the discussion solicited within my own imagination in italics.

Group Members: Sam, Jason, Margaret, Alek

- Division between 1st & 2nd act - is Act 1 stronger?
- Brechtian play (how can we play with didactic staging?)
        - Approach direction as if it were a sitcom, but gets darker.
        - Provoke audience (cue cards for "applause" and "laughter") - vaudevillian
- Lighting - harsh, shadows, distort pedestrian-looking set design.
        - split scene, sharp edges, severe, confining.
        - relationship between distance/character/lighting
        - spotlights, presentational, interrogational
- Surreal set pieces as show progresses, a la Salvadore Dali
- Balance of satire/parody/realism.
- How to seat people?
        - little skewed, seat on an "L"
        - how can we make the audience feel claustrophobic? What if the space was specifically divided?
- Protagonist? - Sebastian
- Most like-able? - Bernadette
- Original show debuted in 1995
         - can intimacy of show be preserved if moved to a larger space/theater?
         - Shows followed realist trend.
         - reviews: relations to Oscar Wilde? Martin McDonough?
         - Nicky Silver (motif appearing in other work) the blinding of a character. Also, interested in
         familial relationships where power shifts from beginning to end.
- Costumes - Bernadette in dresses...simple? ornate? "I'm never dressed appropriately for the occasion"
         - some roles require one actor to play multiple parts...outside of the convenience of using less 
         actors, why did Nicky Silver outline this? can characters be grouped by these positions? how can 
         costumes (colors, textures, shapes) be used to associate different characters and their relationships 
         to one another?
- Setting - in suburbs, some characters have more agency in moving between suburbs and city (NYC?), suburbs lend itself to sitcom vibe.
          - mid 1990s. AIDS epidemic (important to Sebastian)
          - Sebastian in "emotional desert"
- Soundscape - Philip Glass, laugh track, white noise?
- All except Bernadette hit character low in 2nd act (Bernadette seems to be on the mend here...finds agency).
- "Not enough breath in 2nd act" - literally. Need actors with endurance.
- Endearing Nihilism
- What would you do with the mother? I feel she is a very interesting part (catalyst?) in the show and the discussion seemed to tiptoe around her. Design-wise, she could be fun. Is she a ghost? An image? What if she had a showerhead for an eye? what if it worked, so that she cried through the showerhead?
- Challenge the audience to laugh
- Missing monologue - from Bernadette at the end of scene 3. I think this monologue would also work well as a chorus between Bernadette and Mother. 

Great work!