Citizens of the gray

or This Dark Thing that Sleeps in Me

Director’s Notes

Citizens of the Gray or This Dark Thing that Sleeps in Me is a theatrical production generated by the curiosity of how the relationship between man and woman has evolved throughout the years and how this relationship has become a struggle for power; a fight to death where there can be only one winner.

Citizens of the Gray or This Dark Thing that Sleeps in Me shows a hypothetical reality where people from all walks of life interact with each other in a timeless society through what is suggested as the end of civilization. The characters in this play are inspired in essences from the historical characters of modern theater such as Nora and Torvald from A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen; Laura and The Captain from The Father by Strindberg; Julie and Jean of Miss Julie by Strindberg; Stanley, Stella and Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams; and Turk and Marie from Come Back Little Sheba by Inge.

Citizens of the Gray or This Dark Thing that Sleeps in Me presents the world from a subjective standpoint where moods and ideas are evoked. The director’s criterion transmits the meaning of emotional experience rather than physical reality.

This play shows the dehumanizing effect of industrialization, the growth of the cities, and how people grow apart from their traditions; dramatizing the awakening and suffering of the characters. These people live immersed in social failures, values with no meaning, and a war between men and women. In the end, everyone loses.

 

"This society is represented by the relationship of several couples and how they regularly behave"

 Concept

This play should not be defined as a traditional story. It contains fragments of life not necessarily interconnected. The characters express themselves mostly by movements and actions than through words. They coexist in an Orwellian world where it is forbidden to talk, to connect, or to say what you think and feel. They wander around the space without having defined directions. They don’t share their emotions except in moments of great chaos. They are immersed and trapped in an atmosphere of a city and a civilization that is dying.

The performance takes place at a time where hope is nonexistent. The characters are desperate to meet, connect, and love one another but rules and conventions surpass any possibility of such connection. Their dream of happiness never emerge and they begin to understand that this reality will reign and that neither love nor happiness will ever exist.

This society is represented by the relationship of several couples and how they regularly behave while they work on their day to day tasks. These people feel trapped, as if they were locked in a cage like a hamster running inside a wheel which continues a vicious cycle; there is no way out and no escape.

 

"This play shows the dehumanizing effect of industrialization"

Aesthetic

The play is presented in an empty space where entrances and exits are incorporated into the atmosphere. When the characters exit the stage, a new dimension is created in the audiences’ imagination. The dialogue is substituted by soundtrack. Silvia Platt and other poets are played in the background, and some of their phrases and words are repeated by the actors.

The lighting design is based in whites and blues. Lights are specifically directed toward movements and actions of the actors. All characters move in a hallway of light to portray their path and create the desired atmosphere. Shadows and pictures are projected during the play on a big screen in the back.

The color of the costumes are dark gray with offset textures. Each character’s costume is unique but all of them show the ultimate sadness and insignificance that characterizes this place. The interaction of the characters is shown in three levels: among them, within themselves, and with the public.