by Nora Sorena Casey
Corkscrew Festival Paradise Factory, August 18 – 27 2017
Director: Jenny Reed. Movement: Sam Shepard. Sets & Costumes: Chika Shimizu.
Lighting & Video: Elizabeth Mak. Sound: Kate Marvin.
"packed with young talent" — NYTimes
"The attention to detail in Chika Shimizu's set design as well as props and costumes (by Shimizu and costume assistant Sho Hanafusa), the precision of the sound (by Kate Marvin) and lighting (by Elizabeth Mak), and the higher-caliber acting of all the actor made this production superb." — Stagebuddy
A renowned neuroscientist suffers a stroke.
An old house creaks in the wind.
Something in the universe answers faintly…
False Stars is a darkly humorous modern take on the Southern Gothic drama.When groundbreaking neuroscientist Larry Neils has a stroke, his near-death experience lures an unlikely group of characters to his home in Oxford, Mississippi. Falsely-assumed identities collide with covert queer love triangles; strained family tensions battle grief, love, scientific legacy, and a few old ghosts. With its blend of realism and the supernatural, False Stars unravels a timely tale about six individuals trying to find fulfillment in a society that can’t seem to recognize them.
In the little basement theater that is Paradise Factory, we created a dark little world haunted by Larry Neils and his hold on the subconscious of our merry band of misfits. Kate, Jenny, Chika, and I had a lot of fun using natural and environmental phenomena (lightning, thunder, flickering TVs and practicals) to reinforce what was happening in our characters' psyches.
False Stars was previously workshopped at Columbia's Schapiro Theater with dramaturg Nana Dakin. The team focused then on improvising movement and design simultaneously. We arrived at a manipulation of light shapes that represented the changing internal realities of the characters. Images below.