AGPA 2014 & The Great God Pan: Musically representing the Drama Triangle

Developing a directorial vision for our presentation of The Great God Pan is a creative and collaborative process. The opportunities to dialogue with the actors, the consultant, musician and discussant are invaluable—variously in the study group or rehearsal hall, in private consultation and even in my fantasies and dreams.  Each collaborator brings a unique perspective, and it’s my job to metabolize their contributions such that a coherent directorial interpretation emerges. Solitude and reflection are key to my personal style and process. I strategically take time out to exercise on an elliptical exercise machine I keep in a spare bedroom at home.  (Imagine cross country skiing, without the snow or cold.)  The rhythms and quiet are well suited to my creative process of thinking and metabolizing.  And yes, I just got off the elliptical…
After meeting with the musician, Tom Teasley, this morning, I have a much clearer vision of how music and sound will fit into the presentation.  Three instruments will, together, form a ‘basic group’ of sound and music sources.  The instruments we selected include are a flute, a frame drum and a hang drum. A few other ‘environmental sounds’ will be created by additional instruments and we hope the actors might be involved in the performing of some of those effects.
Here are links to hear the instruments, as used by Tom in performance of poetry and storytelling. The first is a remarkable ‘Tale of Two Wolves’, featuring the frame drum and the flute:

Next is a beautiful rendition of a Traditional Apache Prayer, accompanied by Tom playing only the Native American flute:
And here is a rendition of ‘Haikus for the Seasons’, accompanied by Tom playing the hang drum.
These three distinctive sounds—the frame drum, hang drum and flute—are well suited to our play. The next step is for Tom to use his own creative process to explore their potential with the script in mind, and in rehearsal with the actors.  We will eventually make artistic choices together with the actors about what works where, based on our shared sensibilities.  It is an exciting process. Music and sound are indescribable contributions to the transcendent experience of the lived theatrical moment.
These three instruments are well matched to the concept of the ‘drama triangle’.  As a reminder, the drama triangle is a term coined to signify the victim/perpetrator/rescuer dynamics that routinely emerge in human interactions. From my perspective the flute is linked to victim position. The frame drum is linked to the perpetrator position. (Listen to the Tale of Two Wolvesto hear this duality.) The hang drum is linked to the rescuer position. The person bearing witness (therapists, audience, therapy group members) can also be thought of as a variation on the rescuer role. Representing the victim/perpetrator/rescuer dynamics of the play musically is our goal.  I think we have made a good start and I look forward to bringing the music into our rehearsal process.
Bob Schulte