Turn of the Screw

2015

ROYAL CENTRAL SCHOOL OF SPEECH AND DRAMA

Scenography for the opera « The Turn of the screw » designed for the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama 
Venue: Hackney Empire Theater in East London
Design Concept: INSIDE/OUTSIDE
ComposerBenjamin Britten
Autor : Henry James
“Inside/outside” is a metaphor to express on one hand the ambiguity of the Turn of the screw characters’ personalities who are torn between their inside feeling and what the outside world wants to impose on them. On the other hand, it expresses a spatial duality between the “refuge” of Bly as imagined by the governess and the outside perverse world, here represented by the context of the urban area of Hackney. As a hotchpotch social and cultural place, Hackney, its inhabitants and the audience, represent all the perversion that the governess imagines with the apparition of ghosts and wants to hide to Miles and Flora. The children’s characters are constantly moving between the two worlds, and so they are performed here by two actors for each character, one located inside the theatre and the other placed outside in the city. 
During the opera, the musicians and technicians located outside the « refuge », will manipulate the membrane (representing the village of Bly), reduce its size and finally drop the membrane at the moment of Miles’ death, to represent the destruction of the “refuge”.   
The audience’s “journey” will start outside, in their everyday space, on the way out of the tube or the bus, observing the governess performing in the city and entering inside the theatre, and then inside Bly. Bly is represented by an immense soft and elastic plastic membrane suspended on the architecture of the theatre (part of the outside world). The membrane represents fragility and the ambiguous boundary between good and evil. Depending on the position of the light inside or outside the box, one side of the membrane remains transparent while the other one will appear as a mirror. When the audience sees inside, the performer sees their reflection in the mirror and vice versa. Additionally, a series of images of the outside world, that is images of context or scenes happening around the theatre, will be projected on the surface of the membrane. 

Research Videos

The viewer is faced with a reversal of outside and inside, of a refuge turned into a hostile place.