Friday, August 31, 2012

Romeo and Juliet: A 2112 Space Odyssey

So I've just started my last semester at Troy (Much excited!!).  And one of my few remaining required courses is Scene Design.  Our first project was to re-envision Romeo and Juliet, any way we wished.  We needed to come up with a scene design concept, a story line and a power point presentation that would give the -feel- of what we wanted.  This is what my partner Sarah and I came up with:

Romeo and Juliet:  A 2112 Space Odyssey

Scene Design Concept:

Romeo and Juliet: A 2112 Space Odyssey is a modern interpretation of Shakespeare's classic tragedy that contrasts stark minimalism with futuristic elements from cutting edge modern Japanese technology and tribalistic Maori primitivism.  The Scene Design is meant for a large proscenium stage in base neutral tones of greys, whites, blacks and dark blues to convey the essence of futuristic sleek utilitarianism, utilizing under floor lighting to elicit changes in mood, and projection screening to evoke the vastness of space.

It differs from Shakespeare’s vision in several ways—1. It is set in the distant future, in space.  2.  Romeo is a martian.   3.  There are robots…. And laser guns.  4.  Several scenes from the original are not necessary and have been skipped or combined—(if people in 2012 are impatient and very ‘now’ oriented, how much more so will 100 years make them?) 5.  They both accidently die while trying to escape, and their families get to witness it.  6.  It’s left to impersonal machines to explain love to the sentients.  7.  The epilogue/ resolution is very commercial based (as they are eulogized in a statue in the space station that is now a major shopping complex).

Story Line:

Act 1, Prologue

(The main plaza of the space station is unlit.  The prologue is a voice over from the voice of the space station—impersonal and factual, with minimal lights from the console at center back of the stage.)

It is a post-apocalyptic future.  The year is 2112, 100 years after Curiosity discovered human like life on Mars—and started an interplanetary war.  Both planets have reached the point where they can no longer individually sustain life and representatives have been sent to a space station between the two for a peace summit, though these representatives hate and mistrust each other for all the accumulated years of suffering. 

They have brought their families for comfort, support and advice.

The Capulets are human.  

The Montague, martian.

Act 1, Scene 1

(The main plaza of the space station, with clear views of both planets.  Traditionally lit—mostly grays and whites.   The lights rise to reveal enormous windows making up the back, showing outer space with Earth visible out of the windows to stage left and Mars through stage right.  There are working automatic sliding doors down front on both right and left with a touch control panels beside them and escape pod doors near them.  Only 1 set of escape pod doors will need to work.  The floor is currently white gray plastics.  Benches and chairs are available through out the space.  At center back is the console for the space station.)
Two human guards confront two martian guards, then a third human tries to break them up while a third human starts the real fight, with many humans fighting many martians.  Enter the Capulet representative and his wife and the Montague (martian) representative and his mate.  The fight is broken up by the voice of the semi-sentient space station, reminding them all that this is a peace summit meant to find amiable means to sustain life on –both- planets, not another platform from which to continue the war.  The humans exit to their quarters, leaving the martians to discuss the Representatives son, who, after his parents leave, is revealed to be upset that they made him leave his potential martian girlfriend behind and come to the stupid meeting.

Act 1, Scene 2

(The Capulets private quarters.  Lighting leans towards violets.  Roll on unit.  Japanese storage beds going three high and at least 2 sets wide comprise one wall.  There are 2 chairs and a table.  Traditional Japanese decorations distinguish the room.  There is a functional sliding door with a touch control panel beside it.)

It is revealed that although the fight between Earth and Mars has taken on the bulk of Earth’s interests, there have still been contentions amongst the earthlings.  Representative Capulet has promised his daughter in marriage to the prominent opposition to gain their support in the war and their vote at the peace summit.

Act 1, Scene 3

(Back in the main plaza, set up for a gala.  The ‘gala’ set up is done through lighting in the floor and wall panels.  Romeo and Juliet will be the only characters in red (as a nod to Gene Roddenberry's penchant for killing the red shirts.)    It is revealed that there is lighting beneath the floor and in some portions of the wall console—possibly for the furniture.  Service robots will take the responsibility of food and drink related props for the gala.  Music plays quietly in the background—meant to be soothing.)

It is the opening night of the peace summit, meant to allow the two species to interact face-to-face, in a non-confrontational manner.  Robots wait and serve on martian and human alike.  Romeo and Juliet are instantly smitten, having never seen the other species before.  They secretly promise to meet in the hydroponic gardens.

Act 2, Scene 1

(The hydroponic gardens.  White light, clean metal, healthy greens.  Central in the hydroponics gardens is a clean example of this type of garden.  On the left and right, there are garden related benches.  There are functional automatic sliding doors down front on both right and left with touch control panels beside them.  Large windows fill up the back wall, revealing outer space.)

Romeo has escaped his friends and rushed to the hydroponic gardens to await Juliet.  Juliet enters with her Nanny bot, but sends it off to stand watch.  After their romantic scene, the Nanny bot returns to inform her that her mother requests her presence.  Romeo and Juliet make plans to meet again in the morning.

Act 2, Scene 2

(Roll on Unit.  A plain wall in neutral colors is at the back.  A partial wall at front, down left, shows one of the touch control panels that have been visible in several other scenes.  Functional sliding doors downstage left will be where Romeo’s friends enter from—it is implied that the main plaza is on the other side of the doors.)

Romeo accesses a panel that allows him to speak directly to the space station, where he requests it to marry he and Juliet.  After it assents, he sets it to be in 4 martian hours, at the hydroponic gardens.  Once confirmed, he begins to walk away and then his friends enter from futher away down the hall like they’ve been looking for him after he gave them the slip last night.  Juliet’s Nanny bot enters and his friends deride the human technology before leaving.  Then Romeo gives the Nanny bot the instructions for Juliet.

*Act 2, Scene 3

(Capulet’s private quarters)

*Do we really need to see the robot pass on the message to Juliet to meet in the hydroponic gardens?

Act 2, Scene 4

(Hydroponic Gardens)

The private wedding between Romeo, Juliet, and the voice of the space station

Act 3, Scene 1

(Capulet’s private quarters)

Juliet’s mother announces Juliet’s impending wedding to the opposition to seal their vote at the treaties.

Act 3, Scene 2

(The main plaza.  Back in the neutral lighting colors from the first scene—until the fight breaks out—then all the previously lit lights are done in flashing reds with a siren and the automated system making emergency announcements via voice over.  In the process of the fight, the functional escape pod door is damaged and opens.)

We’re about to have the main fight that’s going to leave Romeo’s best friend dead at the hand of ‘Tybalt’, and Tybalt dead by Romeo… but we’re using laser weapons (:  

Romeo flees for the Capulet’s quarters while the space-station sets off sirens and warning about shots fired and an immediate request for Medi-bots to the main plaza.

Act 3, Scene 3

(Still in the main plaza.  The ‘escape pods’ are a series of doors around the back walls—only one is open—and that is because it is damaged.)

Sirens blaring, Romeo meets Juliet as she is fleeing the Capulet’s quarters, unhappy with the news her mother has given her.  They flee together for the escape pods that surround the main plaza.  As they seal themselves in and prepare to jettison, they share their unhappy stories.

Act 3, Scene 4

(When the escape pod ‘launches’ and fails (via sound effect), the warnings, noises and red lights cease.  Revealed through the windows in the back, via projection, is the floating bodies of Romeo and Juliet, holding hands, even in death – as they float away off stage, the robots explain their part.)

….unfortunately, it turns out that in the fighting, the escape pod was damaged by a stray ray blast, and the main window shatters as the pod is jettisoned into space—instantly killing both Romeo and Juliet and throwing them from the craft into the void of space.  Their families have arrived in time to witness the terrible action and to see their lifeless bodies floating….still holding each other’s hand.  When questions arise from both sides, the Nanny bot explains their love and wedding, and the space station corroborates the story.

Act 3, Scene 5

(Epilogue.  The Main Plaza.  Store front facades have been put up where the escape pods where, and along the front of the windows.   A statue monument has center stage, with benches around the left and right.)

It is 10 years later.  A statue of Romeo and Juliet, embracing in the center of the main plaza of the space station—which is now a shopping mall with martians and humans interacting peacefully and even friendly.  A close up on the plaque beneath them:  “Romeo and Juliet—their love united worlds.”

The End.

All in all, not bad for a first project that focuses on the mental exercise of design... Now all we need is for James Cameron to turn it into a movie (;

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