This House UK Tour

23rd Feb 2018 - 2nd Jun 2018

Book Tickets

Seagull Branding

Dear Director




Sent: Fri, 28 Dec 2012 10:48
To: Blanche McIntyre
From: Laura Hopkins
Subject: Random Seagull Stuff

Dear Blanche

I've been thinking a lot about the backdrop of the lake, and the essentially inactive quality that the setting has in the play.  We see the lake framed by Konstantin's proscenium; we are told about waves and fish, islands and swimming;  but the potential power of a great body of water either as psychoanalytic metaphor, as elemental Nature, or wild/wilderness, is always remote, isn't it?  The energy and emotion all come from the characters, who move and interact at a little distance from this backdrop, in a kind of non-specific space (most of the time).  I have been thinking about water surfaces, and this reminded me of the boat sequence in Night of the Hunter; it's completely wrong, but something about it snagged me...

Let me know if anything resonates for you!





Date: Thurs, 3 Jan 2013 15:02
To: Blanche McIntyre
From: Laura Hopkins
Subject: Re: More Seagull stuff

Dear Blanche

Putting my responses in italics for ease!

I've been turning the thoughts that we had in our meeting yesterday over and over again in my head all night. I'm starting to think that, although they're brilliant, the projected lake and the flying actors/ vertical set don't quite work together. I think this is because one makes the play about pictures, and the other makes it about relationships in space.

Yes I agree

That is, by projecting a fake lake that people interact with, we suggest to the audience that we're exploring the limits of naturalism and the extent to which you can trust what you see.

It’s true, but potentially it could work on further levels – we would be referencing a lot of the cultural phenomena we have been drawn to around early cinema and photography, so it’s a potentially rich environment – in a visually poetic way.

By putting actors in abstract physical relationships we ask the audience to take a more scientific approach - they have to discount the setting altogether, and decode the abstract forms to gather information about the characters. So this approach suggests that we're exploring how to convey the inner 'reality' of the people.

A couple of questions occur: your word ‘scientific’ and the idea of mapping makes me think of a clean, clinical environment – do you see the setting having an aspect of this?

Do you think there is an inner reality of these people that we are able to define concretely and convey, or are we suggesting possibilities? Is the set interacting with the actors? Or is it a consistent objective landscape on which the characters, their relationships and journeys, are expressed?

My own instinct is that the unreliable landscape is more interesting, and a truer representation of reality.

I think both are honouring Headlong's original challenge.

In this case a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, does it? How we make sense of the world differs for - and is surely more or less opaque to - each individual. So we maybe we do need a setting that as you (madly) suggested at one point, affects and responds to each person individually???? I think some 21st century reference to psychoanalysis and neuroscience here could be useful, if not applied reductively or clumsily? My instinct is that, you want to see whatever is defining their experience at that moment – like Nina soaked with rain, Irina ascending from on high, Sorin moving with effort, someone blindfolded. The other thing is the idea of traces that you suggest – I imagine a final ‘map’ could show how arbitrary and chaotic life is.