This blog, written by co-director Megan Weaver, is the first in a series by the performers, choreographer, and production team on the process of creating Ghost Card. A work-in-progress showing of this site-specific immersive ghost story runs October 30 – November 1 in Hudson River Park!
My job as a director is always to identify and pursue the story. In Ghost Card, the story is actually a structure. Literally. We are building the piece on Allan Wexler’s Two Too-Large Tables sculpture in Hudson River Park, and the structure itself has provided our fundamental narrative prompt.
A table and chairs — an ordinary, utilitarian and ubiquitous object in our lives — is fragmented and broken into unexpected shapes and angles. Chairs face every which way, each in an absurd relationship to the table. The sculpture evokes a strong sense of chance, as you never know quite what you will find in any given seat. Each chair opens a new perspective to create 26 unique views evoking the mundane, the intimate, and the epic.
As co-directors, Hassan and I have listened closely to the table’s fundamental story. We’ve spent many rehearsal hours exploring the sculpture’s angles and quirks through improvisation and experimentation. We have allowed the site to speak to us — and it has told us a story of the aching, hilarious beauty of human experience.
Building on that story, we have collected dozens of true “table stories” from people in all walks of life. We have attached 26 of them to the sculpture, one for each chair. Drawing upon a common theme of card games and the table’s element of chance, we invented a card game through which we deliver the stories to the audience. Finally, we cast our dancers as a ragtag group of “hungry ghosts” who haunt the site and feed on the stories of the living.
I’ve co-directed before, but I’ve never experienced the level of clarity and productivity that I have in collaborating with Hassan. I’m not sure if it’s because of our complementary training (me as an ensemble-based director, he as a contemporary choreographer), or because the site itself is so evocative. Probably both. And through working with him, I have connected to a network of performers who are game to try stuff, experiment, and take risks. The implicit trust underlying each rehearsal is a true gift.
It’s a pleasure, working with this team of intelligent movers and makers. Their physical expressiveness, imagination and grace is a constant inspiration. I can’t wait to share this piece with you!