Performance Intentions

Week of July 30

The open communication encouraged in previous meetings proves to be a great tool for fine tuning the final project concepts this week. So far, the individual and partner exercises have been used to strengthen the connection between their personal stories, presentation ideas, and the text. General ideas and themes have been deliberated and now it’s time to review how those ideas can become more concrete and rooted in the texts. Professor Tom Palaima, who led the class readings and discussions listens to each idea and offers his thoughts as needed.

Gianna’s vision has been clear since her first illustration of the the soldier’s memorial weeks ago. Inspired by Hector’s funeral pyre and her work in mortuary affairs, Gianna plans to create a life size soldiers cross. James suggests that the title of the piece could be her direct tie in from the text, as well as using it on the memorial dog tag.

Honing in on his ideas discussed in previous meetings, Bart details the intentions and inspirations behind his project - the death of the soldier from two perspectives. Comparing  Hector’s death to that of unnamed soldiers, it’s clear that social status played a huge role in the respect shown to soldiers killed in battle. Is this fair? How does this strip the humanity of the soldiers on both sides?

Darrin is able to tie in both his naval experience and the text with his idea to visually represent the “thousand ships that brought Greeks to Troy.” Tom commends the idea of pulling direct textual content.

Brian continues to shape his intent and overall messaging. At this point he wants to relay the dangers he believes are threatening our democracy. Drawing from his deployment experience as a linguist, Brian describes his feelings of sudden unfamiliarity with this country’s moral fabric. The revelations brought about by Snowden’s leaks were also influential. What were the real causes of the war versus the media representation? Should these factors be able to fly under the radar of public opinion? How can democracy be maintained among unconsented wars and a homeland spying apparatus? Tom suggests pulling inspiration from the Iliad’s Fall of Troy. Brian’s main concern at this point is how to present this in an informative yet non-threatening way to the audience. He contemplates projecting images against a screen and wire Trojan helmet.

Glenn’s highly personal performance of Man in the Mirror, by Michael Jackson is meant to recall the torrent of feelings he felt after his son’s decision to join the Marines - a reality he never wanted his son to experience. How does this tie into the text? The pleas from Hector’s family to fulfill his duties at home parallel the sentiments Glenn felt toward his son, and can also be applied to the lyrics of the song.  

Thanks in part to the the previous week’s hero discussion, Steven is able to clearly define his intentions with his immersive performance piece. Yellow footprints will usher audience members through the hero’s journey and guide them to recognize the heroes in their own lives. The yellow footprints are a very specific reference for the former Marine. He hopes to capture the vivid memory of crossing the threshold of military life and present that to attendees in a way that can mirror different aspects of life’s challenges.

For James, the question of how dead soldiers are seen through the ages is a potentially poignant focal point. It’s a question that incorporates many of our discussions, including heroism, duty, and the propagation of patriotism without criticism. Feeling both pride and guilt about his role in the service, the duality of James’ sentiments should make for an interesting piece of writing that explores many of the topics at hand.