A Wrinkle in Time Trailer

by Patrick Hayes, dramaturg

BYU’s marketing office has just released the first trailer for A Wrinkle in Time, offering a sneak peek at the soon to open show. Check it out here.

In the coming days I will post articles written by our wonderful cast and crew–its a chance for the readers to get to know the cast and their experiences with the show. Make sure you check back soon.

A Wrinkle in Time – Photos from Rehearsal

by Patrick Hayes, dramaturg 

With a little over two weeks till opening night, members of the company gather at rehearsal to work scenes and try on costumes. The following photos were taken over two days comprising an in-costume run of the show and a normal rehearsal of Act 1.

From these photos you can really see how the production is coming together.

The following three photos are from the costume run.  (Photos by Adam White.)

Jenna Hawkins - The Man with Red Eyes
Jenna Hawkins – The Man with Red Eyes
Members of the Company - The Beasts
Members of the Company – The Beasts
Allyson Thaxton Dressed as Aunt Beast
Allyson Thaxton Dressed as Aunt Beast

These three photos were taken during a rehearsal of Act 1.

Director Rodger Sorensen gives advise on reworking a scene.
Director Rodger Sorensen gives advise on reworking a scene.
Scene 3, Act 1
Scene 3, Act 1
Scene 1, Act 1
Scene 1, Act 1

Tesseract and Time Travel

by Patrick Hayes, dramaturg

 In A Wrinkle In Time, the children use a process called tessing to teleport to different worlds and dimensions  Below you will find a little more information on how modern science explains what a Tesseract is and how wormholes function.

Tesseract concept

Tesseract as a 3D model

In mathematics, a tesseract is a four-dimensional shape (hypercube) that, when represented in three dimensions, looks, e.g., like a cube inside of a cube with spokes connecting the corners of the two cubes together. In the novel, the tesseract functions more or less like what in modern science-fiction is called a space warp or a wormhole, a portal from one area of space to another which is possible through the bending of the structure of the space-time continuum. A similar concept occurs in Frank Herbert’s Dune novel where it is called the Holtzman effect.

Wormhole / Time travel 

A wormhole, also known as an Einstein-Rosen Bridge is a hypothetical topological feature of space-time that would be, fundamentally, a “shortcut” through space-time. For a simple visual explanation of a wormhole, consider space-time visualized as a two-dimensional (2D) surface. If this surface is folded along a third dimension, it allows one to picture a wormhole “bridge”. (Please note, though, that this is merely a visualization displayed to convey an essentially unvisualisable structure existing in 4 or more dimensions. The parts of the wormhole could be higher-dimensional analogues for the parts of the curved 2D surface; for example, instead of mouths which are circular holes in a 2D plane, a real wormhole’s mouths could be spheres in 3D space.) A wormhole is, in theory, much like a tunnel with two ends each in separate points in space-time.

Imagine a piece of paper that you folded in half. Travel is quicker through the piece then by going around.

Wrinkle’s Time Travel and The Setting within the Books

by Patrick Hayes, dramaturg

http://geek-news.mtv.com/?p=89829

The world of L’Engle’s characters is filled with fictional place names, often taken from mythological figures that relate symbolically to locales in the book. For example, the planet Ixchel in A Wrinkle in Time, where Meg is cared for by a motherly creature, who’s name is Ixchel, a Mayan moon goddess. Other, more mundane locations are often fictionalized versions of places L’Engle has lived or visited in the real world, such as L’Engle’s Connecticut home, which strongly resembles that of the Murry family.

Overall, the series takes place in a roughly contemporary setting, usually understood to be in the near future with respect to the publication dates of the first two novels. Since the series was written over the course of decades, it is not possible to establish an exact year in which each story takes place; historical events mentioned in the books (such as the dates of the Apollo space program and the name of the President of the United States) do not always correspond to the “real world.” In recognition of this, and of the cosmic nature of the series, the inside front cover of Many Waters states that the series is set in Kairos, a way of looking at time as “real time, pure numbers with no measurement,” reflecting her belief that “God’s time and our time are not the same.”

Each of the books contains one or more instances of time travel, carrying the protagonists to metaphysical battlegrounds in the cosmic struggle between good and evil. The eponymous “wrinkle in time” is a short hop to the immediate past, engineered by the Mrs W’s to allow Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace to accomplish their mission and return before they are missed at home. In A Wind in the Door, Proginoskes takes Meg to “yesterday” to show her the Echthroi destroying a patch of stars. Charles Wallace spends most of A Swiftly Tilting Planet “within” the bodies and minds of people from the distant (and not-so-distant) past, traveling there by unicorn. Many Waters finds Sandy and Dennys stranded in the time of Noah after unwisely typing on their parents’ computer while an experiment is in progress.

As L’Engle explains in her book The Rock That is Higher: Story as Truth: “If we limit ourselves to the possible and provable… we render ourselves incapable of change and growth, and that is something that should never end. If we limit ourselves to the age that we are, and forget all the ages that we have been, we diminish our truth.” Later in the same book, she further explains her use of the science fantasy genre: “Writing A Wrinkle in Time... was my first effort in a genre now called ‘science fantasy’, and science fantasy is not far from fairy tale, that world which delves deep into the human psyche, struggling to find out at least a little more of what we are all about.”

Wrinkle’s Journey Through Time

by Patrick Hayes, Dramaturg

Like most of Madeleine L’Engle’s works, A Wrinkle in Time depicts time travel and dimension hopping. In particular, Wrinkle covers a time period between the years 1950 – 1969. Most of the important historical events during this time period had direct correlation in her writing, represented by events in the narrative and the fictional science used within the book series. Listed below are some of the major events occurring during that twenty-year period.

1950

  • First_Peanuts_comicFirst Organ Transplant
  • First “Peanuts” Cartoon Strip
  • Korean War Begins
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy Begins Communist Witch Hunt

 

1951

  • Color TV Introduced
  • Truman Signs Peace Treaty With Japan, Officially Ending WWII
  • Winston Churchill Again Prime Minister of Great Britain

1952

  • Car Seat Belts Introducedelizabeth
  • The Great Smog of 1952
  • Polio Vaccine Created
  • Princess Elizabeth Becomes Queen at Age 25

1953

  • DNA Discovered
  • Hillary and Norgay Climb Mt. Everest
  • Joseph Stalin Dies

1954

  • First Atomic Submarine Launched
  • Report Says Cigarettes Cause Cancer
  • Roger Bannister Breaks the Four-Minute Mile
  • Segregation Ruled Illegal in U.S.

1955

  • Disneyland Opensdisney
  • James Dean Dies in Car Accident
  • McDonald’s Corporation Founded
  • Rosa Parks Refuses to Give Up Her Seat on a Bus
  • Warsaw Pact Signed

1956

1957

  • Dr. Seuss Publishes The Cat in the Hat
  • Soviet Satellite Sputnik Launches Space Age

1958

  • Hula Hoops Become Popular
  • LEGO Toy Bricks First Introduced
  • NASA Founded
  • Peace Symbol Created

1959

  • Castro Becomes Dictator of Cuba
  • The Sound of Music Opens on Broadway

1960

  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Released
  • First Televised Presidential Debates
  • Lasers Invented
  • Walsh and Piccard Become the First to Explore the Deepest Place on Earth

1961

  • Bay of Pigs Invasionberlinwall
  • Berlin Wall Built
  • JFK Gives “Man on the Moon” Speech
  • Peace Corps Founded
  • Soviets Launch First Man in Space
  • Tsar Bomba, the Largest Nuclear Weapon to Ever Be Exploded

1962

  • Andy Warhol Exhibits His Campbell’s Soup Can
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • First James Bond Movie
  • Johnny Carson Takes Over the Tonight Show
  • Marilyn Monroe Found Dead

1963

  • 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing
  • Betty Friedan Publishes The Feminine Mystique
  • First Dr. Who Episode Airs
  • First Woman in Space
  • JFK Assassinated
  • March on Washington
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Makes His “I Have a Dream” Speech

1964

  • Beatles Become Popular in U.S.
  • Cassius Clay (a.k.a. Muhammad Ali) Becomes World Heavyweight Champion
  • Civil Rights Act Passes in U.S.
  • Hasbro Launches GI Joe Action Figure
  • Nelson Mandela Sentenced to Life in Prison

1965

  • Los Angeles Riotsvietnam
  • Malcolm X Assassinated
  • Miniskirt First Appears
  • New York City Great Blackout
  • The Rolling Stones’ Mega Hit Song, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
  • U.S. Sends Troops to Vietnam

1966

  • Black Panther Party Established
  • Mao Zedong Launches the Cultural Revolution
  • Mass Draft Protests in U.S.
  • National Organization for Women (NOW) Founded
  • Two Multi-Ton Chunks of the Mundrabilla Meteorite Found

1967

  • First Heart Transplant
  • Six-Day War in the Middle East
  • Three U.S. Astronauts Killed During Simulated Launch

1968

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Assassinated
  • My Lai Massacre
  • Nerve Gas Leak in Utah Kills 6,000 Sheep
  • Robert F. Kennedy Assassinated
  • Tet Offensive

1969

  • ARPANET, the Precursor of the Internet, Createdmanonmoon
  • Neil Armstrong Becomes the First Man on the Moon
  • Rock-and-Roll Concert at Woodstock
  • Sesame Street First Airs

Information on Rehearsals and Devising Pt. 2

By Patrick Hayes, Dramaturg 

In my last blog post I talked about A Wrinkle in Times’s use of performance theories. For this post I wanted to dive a little deeper into the theories and practices of devised theatre, giving you an inside scoop on the two theories that we are incorporating into our show.

Many performances are rooted in the theories and practicum of two individuals. Some would say that these two people are the two most influential theatre directors and theorists in the twentieth century. Here’s a brief look at both the men and the basic ideas behind their theories.

Jerzy Grotowski (11 August 1933 – 14 January 1999) was a Polish theatre director and innovator of experimental theatre concepts, namely the “theatre laboratory” and “poor theatre” concepts.

Growtowski’s Poor Theatre

He asked the great question “What is theatre?” His answers were formed in devising two brand new theatre techniques / practices, Poor Theatre and Theatre Laboratory.

Growtowski said in order for Poor Theatre to exist there only needed to by two essentials:  the audience and the actor. Poor Theatre productions are categorized by stripping down the essence of the performance to two single elements on stage, the audience and actors. Actors trained so nearly every muscle of the body would be under complete control and could be moved at will. This allowed the director to focus on the body, making “it” the theatrical spectacle instead of the traditional spectacle / theatrical elements staged during that time period.

 

Richard Schechner is a professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He is considered to be the founder of the Performance Studies discipline.

Schechner’s Six Axioms of Environmental Theatre

Schechner’s theories are based around 6 specific axioms.  They are:

  1. The Theatrical Event is a Set of Related Transactions
  2. All the Space is Used for Performance; All the Space is Used for Audience
  3. The Theatrical Event Can Take Place Either in a Totally Transformed Space or in a “Found Space”
  4. Focus is Flexible and Variable
  5. All Production Elements Speak in Their Own Language
  6. The Text Need Be Neither the Starting Point Nor the Goal of a Production.  There May Be No Text at All.

 

 

 

Information on Rehearsals and Devising Pt. 1

By Patrick Hayes, Dramaturg

Creating a performance from scratch can be a daunting task. Luckily A Wrinkle in Time has a formula for success. AWIT focuses on devised theatre practices to workshop and create the final performance. Unlike stage directions in a script or a director coaching the actors, devised theatre centers on an acting style or technique to help create the final performance. AWIT rehearsals are centered on a model of work shop and rehearsing scenes until the feel, emotion, or context for a given scene is reach. Doing this process insures the integrity of the message the company wants to convey.

Here, in this scene, the actors prepare by warming up.

AWIT Rehearsals - Warm Up

AWIT Rehearsals – Warm Up

A group of Actors rehears scene 1, A Dark and Stormy Night, Meg is in the attic. The weather sounds are created by the company.

2013-04-03 15.43.33Part 2 to come shortly. Stay Tuned!

Religion, L’Engle, and “A Wrinkle in Time”

by Patrick Hayes, dramaturg

Scholar Jean Fulton wrote, “L’Engle’s fiction for young readers is considered important partly because she was among the first to focus directly on the deep, delicate issues that young people must face, such as death, social conformity, and truth. L’Engle’s work always is uplifting because she is able to look at the surface values of life from a perspective of wholeness, both joy and pain, transcending each to uncover the absolute nature of human experience that they share.”

– “A Wrinkle in Time”. Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature

Today’s blog topic looks at the religious symbolism and spiritual connection woven into A Wrinkle in Time and examines some of the reasons why L’Engle’s wrote about religion.

Personal Religious Beliefs

wrinkleMadeleine L’Engle’s fantasy works are in part highly expressive of her Christian viewpoint in a manner somewhat similar to writer C.S. Lewis. Like Lewis, her characters  events, and settings depict or loosely reference Christian ideas or characters. In her personal life, Madeleine L’Engle was an Episcopalian and believed in universal salvation–a trait not shared by main stream Christianity. On the subject she wrote that “All will be redeemed in God’s fullness of time, all, not just the small portion of the population who have been given the grace to know and accept Christ. All the strayed and stolen sheep. All the little lost ones.1” Her beliefs, like Lewis, helped to shape the world of the book. Furthermore, her views on divine punishment were similar to those of George MacDonald (1824-1905, a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister, known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels.), who also had a large influence on her fictional work. L’Engle said, “I cannot believe that God wants punishment to go on interminably any more than does a loving parent. The entire purpose of loving punishment is to teach, and it lasts only as long as is needed for the lesson. And the lesson is always love.2

L’Engle’s liberal views on Christianity has been the target of criticism from more conservative Christians, especially with respect to certain elements of A Wrinkle in Time. namely the view of universal salvation as represented in Charles’s story arch. As a result of her promotion of Christian universalism and other beliefs, many Christian bookstores refuse to carry her books, which were also frequently banned from Christian schools and libraries. On the other hand, some of her most secular critics attack her work for being too religious.

A Few Religious Themes in A Wrinkle in Time

The novel contains several references to Biblical verses (in addition to quotes from various famous philosophers, poets, and playwrights). The most well-known of these is a quote from 1st Corinthians from which the book’s final chapter derives its title. Mrs. Who advises Meg, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty….” —1 Corinthians 1:25–28

Another major Biblical reference is the hymn of praise sung by the centaur-like beings on the planet Uriel which translates to a very close paraphrase of lines from Isaiah and the Psalms, “Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein”; similarly, the alien that Meg calls ‘Aunt Beast’ quotes a line (without attribution) from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans concerning being called and justified according to God’s purpose, another line from the same is earlier cited by Meg’s father.

The theme of representing the fight of good against evil as a battle of light and darkness is a recurring one. It is reminiscent of the prologue to the Gospel of John, which is also quoted once. When the “Mrs. Ws” reveal their secret roles in the cosmic fight against “the darkness” they ask the children to name some figures on Earth (a partially dark planet) who fight the darkness. They name Jesus, and later in the discussion Buddha is named as well, along with various creative artists and philanthropists. The three women are described as ancient star-beings who act as guardian angels.3

More themes and symbolism can be found in BYU’s upcoming production. Please check back for future posts and developments on the show.

 

Sources:

1John Wilson. “A Distorted Predestination”. Sept. 1, 2003

2Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson. Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment. p. 171.

3Hettinga, p. 26

Who is Madeleine L’Engle?

by Patrick Hayes, dramaturg

To start our journey with A Wrinkle in Time, I wanted to take a look at the author of the original novel.  Just who is Madeleine L’Engle?

About the Author

The Early Years:
Madeleine L’Engle was born in New York City on November 29, 1918, and named after her great-grandmother, Madeleine L’Engle. Her mother, a classically trained pianist, was also named Madeleine. Her father, Charles Wadsworth Camp, was a writer, a critic, and a foreign correspondent during World War I. With the influence of her loving parents, L’Engle wrote her first story at age four and began keeping a journal at age eight. Her early literary attempts did not translate into academic success at the school where she was enrolled. Being a shy child, she was often branded as slow and mentally challenged by some of her teachers. Unable to please them, she retreated into her own world of books and writing.

Adulthood and Career:
MadeleineL’Engle attended Smith College from 1937 to 1941. After graduating cum laude, she moved to an apartment in New York City. In 1942, she met actor Hugh Franklin when she appeared in the play The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov. L’Engle married Franklin on January 26, 1946, the year after the publication of her first novel, The Small Rain. The couple’s first daughter, Josephine, was born in 1947. The family moved to Goshen, Connecticut in 1952 where their son Bion was born that same year. Four years later, seven-year-old Maria, the daughter of family friends who had died, came to live with the Franklins, and they adopted her shortly thereafter.

madeleine_lengleIn 1959 the family returned to New York City so that Hugh could resume his acting career. The move was immediately preceded by a ten-week cross-country camping trip, during which L’Engle first had the idea for her most famous novel, A Wrinkle in Time. L’Engle completed the book by 1960, but more than two dozen publishers rejected the story before Farrar, Straus and Giroux finally published it in 1962. After Wrinkle, L’Engle wrote dozens of books for children and adults throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. One of her books for adults, Two-Part Invention, was a memoir of her marriage, completed after her husband’s death from cancer on September 26, 1986. A few compilations of her older work, some of it previously unpublished, appeared after 2001.

In her final years, L’Engle became unable to travel or teach due to reduced mobility from a cerebral hemorrhage in 2002. L’Engle died of natural causes at Rose Haven, a nursing facility close to her home in Litchfield, Connecticut, on September 6, 2007, according to a statement by her publicist the following day. She is buried in the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, New York City, New York.

Awards, Honors, and Organizations
Associate Dame of Justice in the Venerable Order of Saint John (1972)
USM Medallion from The University of Southern Mississippi (1978)
Smith College Award “for service to community or college which exemplifies the purposes of liberal arts education” (1981)
Sophia Award for distinction in her field (1984)
Regina Medal (1985)
Guest speaker at the Library of Congress, giving a speech entitled “Dare to be Creative!” (1985)
President of the Authors Guild (1985 – 1987)
ALAN Award for outstanding contribution to adolescent literature, presented by the National Council of Teachers of English (1986)
Kerlan Award (1990)

In her lifetime, she received over a dozen honorary degrees from as many colleges and universities, such as Haverford College. Many of these name her as a Doctor of Humane Letters, but she was also made a Doctor of Literature and a Doctor of Sacred Theology, the latter at Berkeley Divinity School in 1984. In 1995 she was writer-in-residence for Victoria Magazine. In 1997 she was recognized for Lifetime Achievement from the World Fantasy Awards. In 2004 she received the National Humanities Medal but could not attend the ceremony due to poor health.