Had the joy of participating in the PROTOTYPE festival in NYC through the team presenting the work-in-progress opera “Stinney: An American Execution”. The piece is based on the life and trial of George Stinney Jr. and was presented at the Florence Gould Hall, courtesy of FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française).
In this semi-staged performance, projections played a key role in establishing setting. For the visual content itself, I reached out to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History to receive and utilize scans of legal documents from the George Stinney trial. Their generosity made it possible to include elements, phrases, and textures from those historical sources.
Another source of visual elements came from stylizing and treating photography of the town of Alcolu, SC, that the composer took when visiting the town where the events took place. Finally, I created silhouettes of the current cast members and Alcolu buildings which were used to mask or reveal the visual narrative.
Stage directions were also included for transitions and in the absence of a set.
I thank Frances and Emma for reaching out and for allowing me to be part of this moving work. Visual cues were motivated by narrative and, most of all, from the music. One of the sections I enjoyed designing the most was the nightmare sequence in the cell - the Act I finale, where an extended instrumental section built up in dynamics and speed as the nightmare began to unravel.
Composer: Frances Pollock
Librettists: Pollock & Tia Price
Stage directors: Jeremy O. Harris & Emma Weinstein
Music director: Alexander Lloyd Blake
Projection designer: Camilla Tassi
Lighting designer: Krista Smith
Full team bios: