Citizen Y: Blueprint of a Ritual Experience is now available on Amazon and Weaponized.
CITIZEN Y: Blueprint of a Ritual Experience
Written by John Harrigan and James Curcio
8 pages of concept art
Introductions by the writers
My introduction to this edition:
Introductions might just be a conceit of the writer and artist. We assume that you really want to hear all about why or how we made something, that you'll be interested to know seemingly pithy behind-the-scenes anecdotes: for instance, how I cut my hand and bled all over the first printed version of this script (true story.)
Maybe you will want to hear those things, and maybe you won't. In either case, you'll just have to bear with us a moment. There are a few things I wanted to share about this project which should prepare you for the process of properly imagining the script as you read it.
When you read a script you are being asked not just to read, but to stage it in your mind, as if it was a dream. You have to be the stage and set manager, the lighting technician, and of course, all of the actors.
When John and I started writing, it occurred to me that we should create a story that contained a strong sense of ancient theater, especially Greek tragedy. However, it had to be expressed in a very modern way. It is a myth which deals with modern issues. To a large extent this creative direction arose naturally through following John's lead. (He wrote the first draft after we had several trans-Atlantic conversations). But it is a goal which I think carried throughout the ten drafts of the script that followed as we moved into a pre-production cycle that sadly had to be aborted.
Secondly, like all of Foolish People's productions, Citizen Y was created with the intent of being a living ritual, and a living mythology, which could have a real psychological effect on the audience - supposing that they meet it halfway. This asks much more of the audience than many productions, as its success or failure becomes dependent in part on their experience, and their participation. It is not pre-fabricated. It demands more of you as an audience than spoon-fed media.
This ties into the method employed in staging such a production. We wrote the script with the intent of it being a “transmedia experiment” to be experienced by audience members that are inducted into the world of Citizen Y, with a film crew similarly embedded within the story. There is no “off set.” Different events might happen in different rooms at the same time, and each participant's experience while moving through the structure would necessarily be somewhat unique. The live event would have plenty of opportunity for improvisation and adaptation.
As we conceived it, at the end of this live event, the filmed material would be produced and released on DVD. This is still a possibility for the future, but for the time being the materials we created for this project remain a blueprint of an experience. The practical necessities for putting on the production as planned simply didn't come together the first time around. Such things are either “perfect storms,” or they aren't. However, if you are imaginative, there is no reason that you can't create the staging this experience for yourself as you explore the script.
In the introduction that I wrote for John's script “Dead Language” (also published by Weaponized), I said that it was in bad taste to tell an audience what a piece of art is about. It's almost an insult. Now, I certainly don't want to insult you, but there is one thing that dawned on me fairly late in the creative process, which I wanted to share.
Hidden under the more obvious, exogenous layers of social commentary is a deeper story, what I would call the core myth. In Citizen Y, this core myth is a love story. It is not, however, about Hallmark or Hollywood romance. Quite the contrary, it is about the love that people can have for one another that cannot be tamed, cannot be controlled, and cannot be shaped by the demands of society.
If such things appear at all in life they do so unexpectedly, without precedent, and they often leave a path of destruction in their wake. In the 13th century, the Troubadours built a tradition around this kind of love, the kind which flies in the face not only of social convention but also the conventional laws of God. We see a similar theme in the story of Tristan and Isolde, which many of you may be familiar with. “You have drunk your death,” Isolde's maid says when she discovers that they have drunk a love potion, when she was already betrothed to Mark.
In the story of Citizen Y, these lovers - Dionysus and Lua - have already died and been reborn countless times, and yet they still seek each other out in each incarnation, without even knowing what it is that they are seeking until they see it. I imagine that you may have felt a similar eerie sense of familiarity yourselves, in those times when you have fallen in love. (Supposing you have been blessed and cursed by such things.)
Taken a step further, this insistence upon the value of one's personal experience over and above societal or cultural demands makes even a love story a form of social commentary. This was my intent when exploring this current, and I believe the same was true for John.
So with these things in mind, open yourself up to your imagination of this dream-play, and step into the world of Citizen Y.
Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on Amazon.com)