The second statement in our series comes from the playwright for the other "stop" on our Blue line this festival- "WeatherVane." Here Tony Werner talks about the process of creating the piece. As a special treat at this stop, he has included some pictures the crew used as inspiration, as well as a couple of rehearsal shots.
DOORS CLOSING...next stop WeatherVane-
...Our show began when Carolyn reached out to me and Ann with the idea that we ought to work together on something for Sketchbook. They had been in shows together and knew I was a writer. I had seen many of these shows and was thrilled at the prospect of generating characters specifically for them.
We knew we wanted to do something in the vein of a psychological thriller. We met over coffee; we met over drinks. We brought each other found objects and images, items like vintage postcards and a snow globe where the snowflakes inside were slowly deteriorating and clouding the water. We talked about the Mafia. We talked about post-apocalyptic stories we loved and elements of those stories that would help us on our way. We talked about Chicago, its architecture, its gangsters and powerful families. Its beautiful places and parts left to ruin.
After we got a handle on our setting and characters, I’d write a draft and we’d talk. We’d do a reading, break the script down. Then I’d go and write another one and we’d talk some more.
We began rehearsal with a ton of movement. Ann led a Meyerhold Bio-Mechanics primer and Carolyn guided us through the tradition of Michael Chekhov psychological gestures. These experimentations with movement enacted physically the tensions in the script that were often very psychological, so from these exercises the script became a lot tighter, the twists and the turns more and more sudden.
The relationship between our two characters, Nicole and Kristina, is the heart of our piece. They have drastically different notions of independence, duty, and security in a blasted place that is unbelievably brutal to women. In the world of WeatherVane, the female body is a hunted thing, and again and again in rehearsal, we have uncovered parallels to the plight of women in our own time, under the conservative gaze.