Pass Over Notes
pasteldreams Jan 22nd, 2020 (edited) 58 Never
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- 3-Part Review. 1-page, 3 paragraphs. Due Friday.
- Reportage: Basic facts about the play. Playwright's name, etc. Factual. Recorded in Chicago at Steppenwolf Theater. Play moved to Lincoln Center Theater in New York.
- Analysis: Brief summary of the plot. Factual.
- Critique: Recommend or not. Give reasons why. Educated critique drawing upon piece.
- Spike Lee filmed the play
- Julian Parker: Kitch
- Jon Michael Mill: Moses
- Ryan Hallaman: Mister
- Blake DeLong: Ossifer
- Danya Taymor: Stage Director
- Chayse Irvin: Photography Director
- Hye Mee Na: Editor
- Costume Designer: Marci Rodgers
- Howard Drossin: Music
- Sophia Lin: Line Producer
- Introductory video sequence shows many people travelling on a bus to the theater.
- Simplistic set with only a streetlight, a tire, and some crates marking the urban setting.
- Manner of the two main actors together is very natural and playful. Shows the bond between the characters.
- Play weaves through moments of levity/comedy and moments of sobriety/drama, like when Moses and Kitch talk about the people they know who are dead, or when Moses and Kitch are playing around with each other only for the moment to be interrupted by gunshots
- Absurdist repetition - recurring conversations about whether or not they'll "get up off this block," recurring anecdotes about Sunday school, recurring calls with "room service," playful moments being undercut by gunshots, promised land top ten, acts 1 and 2 starting in a similar way
- In contrast with Moses and Kitch's relaxed, casual, natural manner, Mister's speech is stilted, unnatural, and awkward. He is dehumanized in this way.
- Mister doesn't react to the gunshots, whereas Moses and Kitch duck down.
- "Master" moment is another one of these moments that undercuts a cheerful moment and is very chilling as a result.
- Mister's costume resembles a plantation owner's and is very unnatural. Moses and Kitch have natural, casual clothes.
- Mister seems friendly but quickly reveals himself to be racist with his defensive reactions when being accused of racism. Actor gives the feeling that Mister is constantly trying to hold back extreme racism with the way that he speaks in a stilted, unnatural manner, but speaks more naturally whenever he is saying something very racist
- Officer moment is another like previously described
- Pie represents the American dream, it was taken away from them
- Very solemn when Kitch is listing off people they know who have been killed by police, Kitch becomes increasingly distraught and grief-stricken, his voice becomes sort of a sob towards the end
- Parallel narratives about black Americans in urban areas trying to escape the cycle of violence and the biblical story of Moses (pass over, "the promised land," being chosen, being oppressed by a powerful elite)
- Stark change to intense red lighting in the final scene with the officer
- The ultimate in that "hopeful moment undercut by tragedy" is the ending, where Moses unleashes plagues on the officer but is then killed by Mister
- They take a knee while singing part of the national anthem
- Mister walks in from the back of the theater through the aisles of the audience
- Ending is chilling, shocking, but reflective of the reality of the US
- Spike Lee chose to record montages before and after the play, mainly showing black youth living out their daily lives
- Antoinette Nwandu, Danya Taymor, and Namir Smallwood (Kitch)
- AN: As a playwright, always wants to be making art, doesn't want to do something "simply ripped from the headlines." Explicitly mentions Waiting for Godot and Exodus as inspirations. Biblical language in MLK's writings. Juxtaposition of a promise/promised land, and Waiting for Godot, which is about a promise that is never fulfilled. These texts are saying antithetical things and build a "puzzle." AN wanted to make them talk to each other.
- DT: Joined the play right before rehearsals began at Steppenwolf. Talked about "essentialism," having only what they needed onstage and nothing more, to let the language shine. Moses and Kitch are "the most human thing" onstage as a result of having all other elements removed. Immense work on physicality, lots of physical warm-ups before every rehearsal. Important for Moses and Kitch to show through their physicality that they have known each other all their lives. Partner stretches that are very vulnerable.
- NS: Stretches helped him become familiar with the actor that plays Moses. He got the intention of the speech even without capitalization or punctuation just by reading it. Putting it on its feet is about getting the rhythm of the language down, which is difficult. First few pages are the most difficult, since he needs time to get in rhythm. The emotional highs and lows are a lot to work with.
- AN: Classic cartoons are a big influence, where manic emotional turns happen abruptly.
- DT: Another influence is The Prince of Egypt. Comedy duos that help to embrace the disparate emotions of the play. Thinks you couldn't do the play realistically, it's important for the play to hit unrealistic extremes.
- AN: The play changed for both the Steppenwolf and New York productions. Officer character did not exist before the Steppenwolf production and was added. Went back and forth in the rehearsal process about whether or not she should add an officer character.
- AN: Met Spike Lee because they're at the same agency. Spike Lee got the script and wanted to make something from it. Spike made small adjustments to the script to fit Chicago specifically. Brought in an audience from South and West Chicago, primarily a black audience.
- DT: Everyone involved in the play was able to get to a mindset where they could be "done" with their work because of the limitations inherently to theater. For playwrights, it's most important for them to be in touch with what they like and feel strongly about.
- AN: Got emotional for the first time watching the show, that told her that she was no longer sitting in the audience as a playwright, she was sitting in the audience as an audience member.
- NS: As an actor, never really feels done.
- Terms that came up:
- - Race relations
- - Antagonist
- - Absurdity (who is using this term?)
- Contemporary black theater is in conversation with hip hop. Contemporary black playwrights tend to be children of the 80s and 90s, and grew up with hip hop. Hip hop is telling the same stories.
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