This was my 7th show with Theater Mitu and possibly the collaboration of which I am the most proud. When I began with Mitu, the relationship was very traditional: I was a sound designer being hired to design a particular show. This mode has, over the past 10 years, slowly fallen away for everyone working with the company, myself included. In its place, we’ve found this methodology of creation/curation as individual artists: the company spends weeks creating these “autonomous performance installations”, centered around a certain piece of text, theme, or idea. The installations are then studied and curated by Rubén and the company into a cohesive theatrical piece.
REMNANT was a piece 3 years in the making. Centered around themes of death and the journey towards (and returning from) death, the show was sourced from dozens of interviews with soldiers returned from war, trauma doctors, nurses, people with terminal illnesses and their families, mental health professionals, teachers, scholars, and other artists. The piece was a really emotionally-charged combination of performance and art installation that studied death across centuries and cultural boundaries.
In terms of design, the audience was split into 3 banks of seating, each bank placed in front of a structure. At the beginning of the piece, the three performance structures would begin their individual pieces simultaneously. The audience’s aural experience was delivered via headphones at each seat, corresponding to the performance structure in front of them. After 20 minutes, the audience was invited to get up and move to the next bank of seating and then the pieces would begin again. In this manner, all audience members saw the complete piece, but in 3 different orders, thereby affecting their “narrative” experience.
As both the lighting and sound designer (and a performer), I had a heavy workload dealing with all the programming for the piece. Structurally, the show was three separate 20-minute performances, all running simultaneously. Audience members would watch whatever piece they sat in front of, and then would move to the next installation at the end of the first iteration. The audiences cycled through all three pieces in turn.