I spent my first day at rehearsal in a state of awe.
While the majority of the “set” is still coming together, what’s already in place is magical. There are 2 main areas that the action of the play will take place in: a large building, and a lemon grove.
Slumped on a main road is an old square 4 story building. From the street it appears as though its formerly had a store front in the lower street facing floor. There are living quarters above. It is white, and plain. There is an enormous banner advertising Oneiro hanging from the balconies . It has a heating and cooling equipment on its flat hand railed roof. On the left hand side there is a large metal gate blocking a palm and bloom shaded driveway to its rear. To the right is a chainlink fence that strechtes before several lemon trees shading the concrete skirt of the building, and beyond shielding a dusty stretch of dead grass fringe.
Behind the building the concrete skirt stretches out as a patio. The view from its rear shows a grid of blue shuttered windows, two woodern barn doors, and a caged central stair cases veins from bottom to top. There is a yellow and white striped awning abover the left-hand side barn door. The barn door is open, revealing a bizarre café stuffed antique photographs an old radio stuffed about a large wooden bar. There are tables and chairs set up on the patio in front of it. A couch, several arm chairs, end tables, and café acoutrema all seem to be waiting.
The barn door to the right of the stairs is open to show a palace entry way. Its adorned with large gold flecked mirrors, vintage coo coo clocks, regal ancient chairs, and vases all viewed on a backdrop of complex floral wallpaper. There is a gold caged glass French door leading on from its deepest point. Just beyond the barn door to the right is small simple door leading to a kitchen, most of which is full of antiques, clothes, drum set parts, and construction equipment all pilled high. A sink, a water cooler, and some cupboards are all that are accessible. Beyond the gold caged door there is a large main hall. To its right is a gold caged glass walled bathroom. You can see the silhouette of those within it. It has a gold sink, a gold toliet, gold toliet paper, and a couchette portrait of a queen. The remainder of this main palace hall is onslaught of decadence. There are gold chaise lounges, a table set with fine china, fountains, antique Armour, tassled rope hung in elaborate webs, piles of chairs hung from the walls, and deep red rugs covering its floor.
Under the first flight in that center stairwell are dozens of egg carton shaped tiles covering the walls and ceiling. There is a set of cabinets and a shelf on the back wall of the stairwell. A large white table covered with lamps, radio, and audio equipment is tucked under the first slanted moments of the stairwell.
Up that first flight there are fake roses painted white and picket fence sections affixed to the walls. Half an open book appears to be jutting out of the wall, half a chair protruding as well. Upon exiting on the first floor there are two doorways. One is another open hallway covered in flowers and fence. The other a door to a room stuffed with more antiques and equipment for storage. From the hallway, you can see into a large room, small kitchen like room, and another hallway. The first room has a cloth draped bed, a collage of photos of young women on the wall, large striped fireplace, a rocking horse, and other feminine bric a brac strewn about.
The second room of this first floor hallway contains a series of cabinets, a record player, a tornado of old chairs hung from the ceiling, a sewing machine work station, a tea kettle, several rows of books and records, and some very nice blazers hung from a rung of a chair. To this rooms left is the 2nd hallway, to its right is the large room.
The hallway contains a enormous fiberglass olive tree trunk, with real branches press again the walls and ceiling. The tree fills up most of the space within this hallway. There are three more doors. One leads to a bathroom with entire sections of trees mounted from the walls, a gold bathtub, a gold toliet, and thinly veiled curtain hung in its middle. Another door leads to another storage room. This room contains more clothing, and has cupboards filled with hundreds of beta tapes. The third door leads to yet another room, though this one being significantly less feminine. This room is more woody allen meets demi moore. Vintage camers adorn a shelf, all labled with their year and make. A grid of framed photos of a man hang against more complex floral wallpaper, a mirror vanity, a hat rack, old suitcases, and a very old wooden bed fill this room.
The second story is sectioned into more storage, dressing rooms, and sewing stations. Its third story is blocked off or completely imagined. It’s roof is flat, with hand railings on all sides. From the roof I can see a great distance, the entire grounds that the play takes place on. I can also see the lighted Turkish Cypriot flag on a hillside in the distance.
Pressed against the patio of this building is a large chain link fence, and an open gate. The gate leads to a path between a small grove of lemon and organge trees held back by the fence. There another small path leading through this grove that ends in a hole in the fence just in front of the café. There is a rusty brown vintage mini park in front of this hole. And a volvoesque old car ditched in the fence beyond that. It’s license plate is GR88888. It has two flat tires and appears as though it hasn’t been moved in ten years. Lemons litter the entire skirt of the building, and the surround grove floor.
The path leading through this first initial small lemon grove leads to a road. Across this road there is another very large fenced of grove of lemon, grapefruit, orange, and olive trees.
The Lemon Grove:
This space contains 5 areas that the play takes place in or around. The entire space is webbed with thin brick walking paths, amongst the grove are countless lizards darting through the tall grass like water striders. There are lemons everywhere. On the ground, on the trees, in the path, everywhere you look there are lemons in varying states of decay and ripeness. There are also snails tucked in the cracks of some of the trees. Including one tree that is split open on one of its branches, with snails tucked in the wound. It makes it appear as though the trees innards are soley tiny snails.
The Lovers trees:
There is a double quadrant of olive trees, with a soft grass interior. Imagine a grid of olive trees from above, two rows of four. Imagine a whicker bench at their crux. Imagine several small bushes placed amidts then, with thin brick paths weaving across their center.
In the center of this grove is a octagonal shed. Its roof comes to a point making it appear circus tent like, though its construction is of wood. There are several barn door shutter style windows swung open. Inside it contains a entire wall filld with vintage radios on a grided shelf, another wall bears several vintage televisions. There is also a boars head, and elks head on the wall.
The Rose Archways:
North of Oberons shed there is a widden, and long straight portion of brick walking path. Every several feet there is a hoop of roses, yellow and red round circus bulbs woven within, all arched around you as you walk beneath.
There is a large olive tree with a bed hanging from it. Above the bed is a chandelier. There is a piano under the olive tree. The piano is pink and broken. There is a horned record player on a whicker platform, there is a old curvaceous lamp, There is tea table and chairs.
The circle of logs.
Amidst a half moon of small olive and lemon trees there are many logs all splayed about a worn patch in the soil. Other then those, there is also two dog kennels, one containing a dog named Shakespeare, or lovingly called shakes. A wood pile, and the backyard of a large mansion. The backyard is a version of perfection. There is a deep green pool. There is marble, there is a clay tiled extravagance.
Within these locations I watched the actors. They speak almost exclusively in greek. I understand very little of the dialogue, but have perspective about what is happening based on my readings of Shakespeare, their body language, and vocal tones. I can read meaning in their gestures. This was extremely interesting to watch, and I rarely ever switched out of this mode. Watching thes people out of character in notes (still in greek) was a similar experience, though I didn’t not have a reading on their language as I did in the scenes. You can tell a great deal from a person just on how they move, and the tones of their voice, perhaps not everything, but a great deal.
Athina and I discussed where audio was to take place, where songs would fit, and I began writing the first song after watching two actors, Marlen and Andreas (Hermia and Lysander), rehearsing a scene.
It’s also important to note that at this point, I embraced the idea that the play, and the dreams within the play were reflected in my own dreamlike experience. They were remarkably similar. There’s a play within the play, there’s a dream within the play. It seemed no different.