Still Lies Quiet Truth 1998
script adaptation by Antoinette LaFarge
direction by Robert Allen
sound design by Joe Ferrari
cast: Melissa Phipps, Megan Welch, Kevin Keaveney, Giovanni Pucci, David Heckel, Erika Larson
Still Lies Quiet Truth was a theater work for which I adapted the script from an online performance series ("The Candide Campaign") by the Plaintext Players. It was a surreal take on the American political process featuring an election campaign in which a naive young person named Candide ran against the Death Party ticket, whose candidate was none other than the Vodoun god Baron Samedi. Candide was assisted by his running mate (a horse) and hindered by his political advisor (a monkey) in his quest for the Highest Office in the Land. As events unfolded, they were assessed by a pair of sardonic reporters as well as History herself.
This was the earliest performance project in which I integrated stage performers with a virtual environment. Projected on a scrim hung above and behind the actors was a live feed from a text-based virtual world known as a MOO. As the action progressed on stage, it was mirrored in shifting text above as the parallel virtual space was navigated by an invisible narrator.
This production drew on the tradition of the commedia dell'arte masks to represent two of the political and social archetypes at play: the machiavellian advisor as monkey, and the downtrodden running mate as horse. However, where commedia masks usually cover the upper part of the face, we designed our masks to cover the lower face to create a strong animalistic effect.
For winners and losers alike, it was a fast-moving, unpredictable, and sometimes chaotic free-for-all in the best tradition of American politics and satire. It premiered in the New York International Fringe Festival in 1998 and was repeated for the New York Digital Salon later the same year.