Brett Botbyl MFA Directing Thesis Proposal February 25, 2011 Title: “BUG: A Play” by Tracy Letts I propose directing BUG: A Play written by Tracy Letts. My concept is to create a non-­‐ traditional performance space, immersing the audience in a dreamlike, surreal environment, evoking the drug-­‐addled paranoia of its doomed characters. Through the use of intimate arena staging, practical lighting, immersive sound and subtle, psychological triggers I hope to create a rather unique theatre experience. Though the focus of my study in theatre directing has been in environmental theatre, non-­‐ traditional staging and audience interactivity has broadened my field of interest. This is a chance to truly spotlight my performance aesthetic. Since my ultimate goal is to work in developing interactive, “living” performance for historical societies, site-­‐specific public landmarks and educational institutions, I believe this production provides a wonderful opportunity to expand my limits by merging an award-­‐winning text with a truly innovative design concept. I believe that the energy inherent in changing the traditional dynamics of the audience/performer relationship is not only tangible but also a viable tool in making a lasting and profound impression. To this end, my goal in this thesis production is to demonstrate the power in creating for the theatre with a true focus on innovation and interpretation. Working in front of house at Kennedy Theatre, I’ve seen time and again the lethargic attitude prevalent in the campus community. Frankly, many students experience a less-­‐than-­‐exciting introduction to theatre. For many, Kennedy Theatre represents a boring and academic monolith standing between education and the fun of college life. Film has become increasingly more dynamic and large in its scope. 3D technology throws the action into the faces of paying movie patrons. Electronic gaming goes even further by immersing players into an almost cinematic world of action and adventure. The stories conveyed through these mediums are burned into the memories of today’s entertainment clientele. I believe that by offering an alternative theatre performance we might begin to blur the lines, and show that theatre can be fun, accessible, exciting – and in the case of BUG – really creepy. I believe that I can demonstrate another version of theatre that can match the experience of computer-­‐generated or “special effect” cinema. My ultimate goal is to provide the visceral experience of a great thriller in a live, intimate and near-­‐tactile theatrical event. I fully understand the challenges facing a production of this type. I feel that the designers slated to work on this project have a clear understanding of the concept as well as my directing aesthetic. I would like an arena arrangement with the audience as close to the performance space as possible. I imagine a dingy, replica hotel room from the play’s single set represented by a lone, hyper-­‐realistic wall. The audience would complete the confines of the claustrophobic design matrix by witnessing the intensity and harsh intimacy of the play’s action – bug-­‐like -­‐ from within the very “walls”. The scenic design provides a unique 2 challenge in that the set is meant to surround and envelope the audience. I want people to never feel completely “safe” from the horrors unfolding. The bugs are everywhere. Lighting plays a very important role in my concept, marrying the use of traditional instruments with practical units able to be operated and carried about by the actors. What I find exciting is the unique challenge this will provide a lighting designer. In the same vein, I would like the sounds to surround and creep into the audience’s subconscious. Some sounds may be overt and obvious, while others are omnipresent and relentless. I understand that the budget is $1000+ for the entire production. The set would utilize items out of our collection as well as pieces acquired through salvage. I believe that much of the modern costuming can be pulled from stock and adapted from existing pieces. The make-­‐up budget will be slightly higher than in the average Lab production, with special blood and wound effects required. The play presents a cast of five actors. I’ve done a fair amount of research on the availability and interest level amongst our actors, and feel secure that casting would not be a problem. Several students have already acquired the script in preparation for audition. The “buzz” is building. I have high expectations for this production. But I feel confident that we have the means and creative workforce to overcome these obstacles and achieve a brilliant success. I am excited by this opportunity and energized by the exciting challenges it will present. BUG: A Play tells a twisted yet titillating tale of the tainted and tortured mind. I want to bring this award-­‐winning play to life in a way most people have never experienced, while creating a wildly interesting challenge for our production team. This is my chance to show what I do, unique in its ability to thrill in a voice impossible to resist.