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The Builders Association and dbox, SUPER VISION: THEATRICAL LAYERS

SUPER VISION tells three stories

1. As he crosses successive borders, a solitary traveller gradually is forced to reveal all of his personal information, until his identity becomes transparent, with no part of his life left outside the boundaries of datasurveillance.

2. A young woman (Jen), addicted to the white noise of constant connection, maintains a long-distance relationship with her Grandmother. As she makes efforts to digitally archive her Grandmother's past, the Grandmother slips into senility.

3. A father covertly exploits his young son's personal data to meet the demands of the family's lifestyle. This ploy escalates beyond the father's control, until he is compelled to disappear. His wife and son are left with a starkly diminished data portrait, and his escape is shadowed by the long reach of the datasphere.

Moe Angelos

Moe Angelos: There are many theatrical layers: I have all kinds of make up; my character is Sri Lankan and seventy. I haven’t worn this much makeup since I was in high school. So I have a literal mask, with latex applications on my face to give me wrinkles and make me look old. I have a wig and an accent. It’s a funny combination - which I find delightful - of old time theatrics and cutting edge theatrical trickery.

Nick Kaye: How aware of you of the other performers?

Moe Angelos: Since I am downstage right, I can sit there and watch everybody, I don’t see them as the audience would see them. I am very close. I am also aware of scene changes –there is all kinds of chaos going on behind the screens when they are closed - when something is projected onto the front of them. Two nights ago something jumped the tracks and I heard boom, boom, boom ……… there was some kind of physical drama going on during the set change. So I think I am somehow more aware of those kind of things - of the anomalies - because I sit and watch certain parts of the performance every night. Then I do my crossword, in between scenes, so Granny doesn’t talk. Or I read a magazine or whatever. Because the technical guys are there, if something is wrong with my camera I will go over and speak to them and they will come and adjust me. It’s not hidden behind a curtain; it is all there for you to see.

Uploaded Image
Left to right: Moe Angelos (the Grandmother) on forestage and mediated in close up; Tanya Selvaratnam (Jen) mediated live to window and onstage; Moe Angelos mediated mive to computer screen.
photo by dbox

Moe Angelos: I think that, although I am aware of the camera, I really try and focus on the real. So, because I can’t see her, I listen to Tanya’s voice (...) I guess that Marianne Weem's intention is to try illuminate in some way how we live with these technologies all the time. How do they affect us?

Nick Kaye: I think that comes across partly in the performance of the technology itself, in the way the whole story is told and so in the fabric of the piece really. It is as if everything onstage is in transmission. You never walk away from the computers to have another life and come back to it –so you become identified with the passage between those things.

Moe Angelos: Except at the very beginning, when Tanya comes out and does the prologue, which is very, sort of, Shakespearean: ‘Come with us, here we are going on this journey….’ I like that contrast very much – it feels kind of Shakespearean to me – to announce to everyone here is what we are going to do. And the audience loves that, being recognised in some way. It is kind of surprising, because when Marianne had this whole idea about using the actual data from people in the audience, there was a lot of concern about: well, were they going to feel that their privacy was going to be invaded? Except that it is done in a very generalised way – we don’t say you there in seat E32, your phone bill is due, or something like that. It is nice how it has become – it allows people to enter into the world in a certain way and identify with it. Marianne’s precision with that just grows more and more with each show and her sophistication with it is quite high, I would say.

Nick Kaye: It is interesting because, as you were saying, the performance incorporates very traditional theatrical conceits and structures, but they are completely absorbed into a performance that is about technology and transformation.

Moe Angelos: It’s a nice mixing of the two. That is really fun - for me anyway. My makeup is relatively elaborate, but I always enjoy it and like doing it. Many times people don’t recognise me after the show. So that’s fun and I feel very sneaky after the show maintaining my anonymity in the house afterwards in the lobby.

Tanya Selvaratnam

Tanya Selvaratnam: It is very gratifying for me, I think, because I am Sri Lankan and we ended up using so much of my material. It does personalize the show for me in a sense, which probably facilitates my ability to be present. Moreover, it is really wonderful to see how Moe Angelos transforms herself. To me that is one of the most impressive things about the show when you see her in real life and see that she is a very American, white person – the way that she puts on that South Asian accent and the brown skin. I have had Sri Lankans in many stops see the show and think she was Sri Lankan. That to me is very exciting.

see also: playing to camera | prologue | the grandmother |


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