…your very own headphones drop you inside the imagined unconscious of avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein, pursuing her everyday routine in France as World War II erupts all around her. In Gertrude’s constantly shifting mind, Alice B. Toklas, Thornton Wilder, and Vichy official Bernard Faÿ flutter in and out of the frame.
15 seconds of THIS IS THE COLOR sound:
THIS IS THE COLOR DESCRIBED BY THE TIME
conceived & directed by Lily Whitsitt
created by Door 10
with Stephanie Roth Haberle, Christina Rouner, Ean Sheehy, Ben Williams
set design Amy Rubin
costume design Alice Tavener
sound design Ben Williams
lighting design Reza Behjat
associate director Jim Dawson
dramaturg Morgan Jenness
additional sound design Christina Campanella
Door 10 producer Sarah Peterson
stage management Elizabeth Emanuel, Molly Shea
running time 75 minutes; strobe lights are used in this production
“If the same person does the talking and the listening why so much the better there is just by so much the greater concentration. One may really indeed say that that is the essence of genius, of being most intensely alive, that is being one who is at the same time talking and listening.”
— Gertrude Stein, Lectures, 170
Director/conceiver Lily Whitsitt: “When I began working on Stein’s play Mexico in 2015, which is the basic structure of This Is the Color Described By the Time, I knew I wanted to find an entry point into her language… discover the secret door that would let us into her mind. After many failed attempts, I had what felt like a crazy idea: what if we placed the audience in Gertrude’s consciousness? What if we could experience thoughts arising in her mind, much as I felt as a reader of her work on the page?
We put all the actors in body mics and purchased some wireless radio-frequency headphones. I was happily surprised: it was a form of intimacy I’d never experienced in the theater. I felt as though I was inside Gertrude’s brain; the headphones were an x-ray into her consciousness. I could feel each breath in my ear.
At this peculiar time, I find myself returning to questions about principles, values and resistance: how can we face the moral contradictions of our lives and not turn away from what is distressing? When do silence and inaction become collusion? When does avoidance become immoral? It feels like a different approach to wrestle with these questions by placing the audience inside our character Gertrude’s brain as she confronts her own conflicting thoughts.”
THIS IS THE COLOR DESCRIBED BY THE TIME was developed as part of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Process Space program, and through the support of the Princess Grace Foundation, Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Drama League.
Door 10 (Lily Whitsitt, Artistic Director; Sarah Peterson, Production Manager) is an experimental theater company, a laboratory for performance and art. Made up of an ever-expanding group of artists, designers, performers and technicians, Door 10 creates original theatrical productions through an ongoing process of collaboration and experimentation. door10.org
in The Sam theater at
20 Thomas Street
(between Church & Broadway)
$25 thru 2/24 / $35 2/25-3/4
$55 premium tickets (reserved!)
New Georges is a 2017-18 Anchor Partner at The Flea.
in the photos: Gertrude and Alice; Getrude with Bernard Faÿ; a party with Thornton Wilder