by BOGOF THEATRE COMPANY
Katherine Davis, Lucy Doig, Lucy Donald, Hannah Harding, Sofia Kherroubi Garcia, Rosa Higgs, Kate Page, Dylan Rowe, Lucy Sarasin, Niamh Smith, Cierra Thirkill, Sophie Welbourne.
In the creation of CYAN[IDE], B.O.G.O.F. Theatre Company investigates the reasons why we, as a consumer culture, are continuously tempted by the efforts of advertising agencies – despite our desultory understanding of the irrational nature of society’s consumptive behaviours. The attached portfolio, containing character profiles, rehearsal notes, an annotated script (including technical cues, costume, and design sketches) and video, details the ways in which CYAN[IDE] has been collaboratively crafted. It also charts the adaptation of our fully conceptualised performance into a multimedia portfolio.
Inspired by the National Theatre’s 2019 productions of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls and Annie Baker’s The Antipodes, CYAN[IDE] combines the familiar and the fantastical by tapping into the subconscious mindthat is influenced by subliminal messaging. By way of moving the audience beyond reality, CYAN[IDE] offers spectators a new position from which to consider consumer culture. The performance’s surrealistaesthetic exposes the manipulative tactics of advertisement while foregrounding the hold subliminalmessaging has on the consumer’s subconscious. This displacement also works in such a way thataudiences are temporarily removed from reality and are given the distance necessary to look inwardly,reflecting upon the irrational nature of their own consumptive behaviours. In order to realise the familiar and fantastical, the performance is split into ‘meeting scenes’ and ‘adverts’, which occur in rotation. The ‘meeting scenes’ provide a sense of familiarity for the audience as they see seven iconic brand mascots join forces to discuss the tactics implemented in their advertisements. The fantastical is channelled when the mascots stage each of their adverts in order to demonstrate the technique discussed during their meetings.
The development of the seven mascots lies in Patel and Moore’s The History of the World in Seven Cheap Things . Each of these ‘seven cheap things’— food, lives, money, energy, nature, care, and work—are explored within their own advert and represented by an iconic brand mascot, e.g. 9/10 Health Care Professionals represents care. Patel and Moore’s all-encompassing discussion of the ecology of capitalism and humanity’s excessive consumption supports our aim to represent consumer culture as ‘the stuff of social problems and social injustices’ (47). Our decision to focus on advertising allowed us to integrate elements of the theorised capitalist eco-system into our piece, focussing on the social relations between advertisers and consumers: the hierarchies, the manipulation, and the temptation. These have been key foci during our adaptation process. The adverts become increasingly surreal as the play progresses, aesthetic intentions for which can be found in our script. An experimental use of language in Scene Nine distorts and foregrounds the fact that nature conservation and consumption cannot combine, despite the determined use of ‘greenwashing’ in advertisements. The intense satire of Mickey’s dreamlike musical number presented in Scene Twelve creates a disturbing fusion between tantalisation and torture (Washburn, 52) which alerts the audience to the monstrous potential of a pervasive consumer culture. The juxtaposition between the stillness of the meeting scenes and the animated adverts creates a collision between conscious and unconscious thought, allowing the performance to speak to the irrationality that drives consumer culture. Our finished script aims to demonstrate the nuanced intricacies of The Seven’s interactions and the importance of language within advertising and the dynamic exploration of our core concerns. Our collaborative process involved the constant presence of selected dramaturgs supporting the rehearsals, with our script being constantly edited. Our rehearsal notes explain the evolving focus of our script and the surrealist evolution of key sequences. Annotations within our script are included to give as detailed insight to our conceptualisation as possible, including performer and staging guidelines: CYAN[IDE] can be picked up and performed by any theatre company.
Working from the perspective that advertisers tempt consumers to fulfil their own desires, we gravitated towards Eve’s consumption of the forbidden fruit from the Book of Genesis, where Eve desires the knowledge from the tree of good and evil. We adopted the infamous story of original sin by exploring the symbolism of the consumer being tempted by a desirable product – an apple. This led us to the prominence of the brand Apple within the digital age. Framing Eve as a key figure of temptation, we began to connect this infamous Bible story with the consumer culture we reside in. We had many discussions as to how we consume advertisement, largely focusing on personalised adverts and the role that artificial intelligence devices, such as Amazon Alexa, play in consumption and the facilitation of the consumers every need. Initially a subliminal feature of CYAN[IDE] , the apple’s fluctuating presence asks the audience to consider their (un)conscious susceptibility to advertiser manipulation. Through the creative amalgamation of these two concepts, the central character of Eve was born. Our portfolio seeks to build on our performative frame, where Eve is positioned as a higher power: her capacity as a technological entity facilitates the formerly implausible meeting of immortalised Seven, with the five Evies acting as physical representations of Eve’s technological functions (as can be seen in the video) The Evies ensure the final Airdrop, an image of an apple, successfully reaches the targeted audience members (those who have an Apple product in their possession) and that Eve’s manipulative authority is reinforced. Eve’s actions frame our piece, as she searches the archives of branding and advertisement in order to create her own advert. Her interminable presence would have been represented through a series of cyan projection mappings on a light-grey circular wooden structure hung from the rig of the Caryl Churchill Theatre. Eve presents the final advert, coined ‘The Mashup’, to the audience as a reflection of themselves, a distortion illustrating our collective succumbing to consumer culture: we are all Eve, manipulated into biting the forbidden fruit before another product comes along, and we buy into that too. Coupled with the symbolic projection of an ouroboros snake, our intended implication is that capitalism is stuck in a cyclical state of consumption. Alongside this, the ever-increasing witticism and camaraderie between the seven mascots emulates the competitive nature of advertising allowing each mascot’s technique to be emphasised, resulting in the destruction of the idealised fallacy of advertisement. For our live performance, we relied on an abundance of light, sound, and projection cues, all of which enriched CYAN[IDE] ’s narrative. Our script therefore contains our detailed technical plans and symbolic costumes, demonstrating Eve’s different functions and how the Evies facilitate the visual surrealist aesthetics and theatricalisation of each advert.
The short video included in our portfolio also supports and documents the technical aspects of our piece, specifically the sound design. All audio cues (which were fully edited and finalised in advance) have been included in this video alongside supporting images that represent the original concepts for the stage. CYAN[IDE] creates striking stage images. These images were integral to the design and storyboarding of the video, since portraying our original intentions was at the forefront of this new process. Therefore, we have selected specific moments of our script and adapted them to a digital form: Ronald McDonald’s advert (Scene Three), Mickey’s sing-along song (Scene Thirteen), Michelin Man & Mother Nature’s advert (Scene 9), the character introductions, and Eve’s various interruptions. Video footage of our process was not required in order for us to develop our script and further our ideas, therefore our portfolio video is not a demonstration of our rehearsal process, but rather an surreal aesthetic, visual, and aural illustration of our finished ideas and intentions regarding the creation of humour and entertainment value.
We adopted a collaborative working practice from the outset, later delegating key roles such as sound designer. This allowed us all to push ourselves to our own limits creating a more efficient and effective rehearsal process, something we tried to emulate in the adaptation process. Throughout rehearsals we documented our process, ideas, and extensive research on Google Drive, allowing each member of the group to access, edit and record any ideas. When we began adapting our work for the portfolio, we returned to our documentation and maintained our collaborative ethos. This became pivotal in our ability to adapt the groundwork we had already put into the performance and allow an extensive and detailed portfolio. In order to continue developing our piece, we therefore moved to digital collaboration. Using the virtual meeting application, Zoom, we held rehearsal-style meetings allowing us to converse face to face and delegate the tasks at hand. This new technological approach allowed us to adapt our already well-established performance into a variety of media and capture the essence of CYAN[IDE] . We have contextualised our work in relation to other theatrical practice to allow the reader to imagine the theatrical atmosphere and audience positionality only achievable within an auditorium. We would ask you to consider our portfolio in the following order, so you too can engage with CYAN[IDE] from idea, to process, to performative intention, and to our now digital portfolio.
9th Dec 2019 and Week 1 (13th – 19th Jan 2020)
Why did we choose consumer culture? The first rehearsal generated discussions around the vast topic of ‘consumer culture’ and where we (a group of predominantly white, middle-class females) situated ourselves within it. We chose to focus on advertising, specifically engaging with: subliminal advertising, the small print of advertising, and personalised/targeted advertisements. We brought in problematic, controversial, and iconic adverts which had the common attributes of taglines/catchphrases, jingles (for example: ‘I’m lovin’ it’), bright colours, narration, emotive music, and logos. We looked at Apple’s logo and questioned why it only has one bite taken out of it, this led us to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve.
Why is this work important now? We identified a link between consumer culture and the commodification of every aspect of our lives. Our choice to use a self-reflective tone stemmed from our belief that although we know of the negative impacts of our greed, we cannot deny our guilty pleasure: consumption.
Who is our audience? We identified that our audience would largely be between the ages of 18-25. Therefore, they would be engaged with the technological aspects of consumerism (e.g: a high percentage would own Apple iPhones), to translate ‘targeted advertisement’ in an explicitly performative way.
Week 2 (20th – 26th Jan 2020)
Devising a Structure. Patel and Moore’s article ‘Unearthing Capitalocene: Towards a Repatriations, Ecology’ and accompanying book A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things, provided an aesthetic arc for CYAN[IDE], influencing our decision to write a script that could exploit the manipulative power of advertising. We chose to have seven adverts, each exploring one of the ‘seven cheap things’ referenced in the readings: F ood, Lives, Money, Energy, Nature, Care, and Work. We decided that these seven cheap things and their adverts would come together in the final scene – the ‘Mashup’ Key concerns included: conformativity within consumerism, the greed and desire for products, and the satisfaction of purchase.
Other Inspirations. The aesthetic structure of the National Theatre’s productions of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls a nd Annie Baker’s The Antipodes became a central inspiration for our piece, specifically the first Act Top Girls where there is a dream-like meeting and The Antipodes’ continual conference setting. We created an, authoritative, and technology-based character to facilitate the meetings and encourage consumerism.
Creative Explorations. Enjoli advert (Bionic Disco) - the advert concept centred around depicting ‘the average woman’ as being able to now do everything after having used Enjoli perfume. We devised a sequence where the characters represented different ideals of womanhood: the sexualised woman, the housewife and professional woman. This was later translated into the 9/10s Advert (Scene Eleven). We also took inspiration from the Extra (Anthem Entertainment) and Renault Clio Adverts (Renault UK) where a product is embedded into a love story with complimentary acoustic music – i.e. consumers identify with the story and then remember the product – this inspired Barbie’s Advert (Scene Five).
Week 3 (27th Jan – 02 Feb 2020)
‘The Seven.’ We decided upon seven mascots to represent the seven cheap things. We coupled each of ‘The Seven’ with an advertising technique, e.g. Character: Ron, Cheap thing: Food, Technique: Sexualisation. (For detailed character breakdowns please see Notes on Performance Document).
Ron’s Advert (Scene Three). Adapting the M&S Food Adverts (Mindmatcher) – We split into two groups, one looked at physicalization and the other at voice. We wanted the audience to be able to recognise the most iconic facets of the advert, and in this case, adapted the language and the use of a seductive voice to describe a roast dinner, providing the advert with a more manipulative tone. This script was then adapted to describe a McDonald’s McApple pie, allowing us to explore advertising’s sexualisation of food. To highlight the manipulation we chose to use non-consumable ingredients as props and the lights coming on at the end to show the audience the construction. For examples: water is poured from a watering can. ‘The Mashup.’ We decided this should reveal that Eve has used the mascots and their expertise to concoct her own advert – one that allows the audience to reflect on their own social, rather than economic, position as consumers.
Formative. After receiving feedback on the premise of CYAN[IDE] we decided to focus on integrating surrealist aesthetics into our piece by writing a detailed and nuanced script.
Week 4 (3rd – 9th Feb 2020)
Formative Feedback. Aneta advised us to streamline our concept by establishing which aspects of the piece we wanted the audience to focus on. She encouraged us to define the role of higher technological power.
What we changed based on the Formative
Defining Eve. We chose the name Eve to allude to sin and desire due to the Biblical inference of Eve consuming the forbidden fruit (an apple). This linked well with the manipulative power of brands and advertisers. Eve chose these Seven characters to learn from their advertising techniques.
Apples. We discussed positioning apples as “products” – e.g. Barbie’s product was originally lipgloss, so we adapted this to be Apple Crush Lipgloss. We maintained this concept for each of the mascots’ products, ensuring that they were all in some way related to an apple (even if merely through a play of words).
Barbie’s Advert (Scene Five). Here, we wanted to highlight materialism solving society’s surface-level problems and how many products are bought for short term happiness or lifestyle ideals of the moment, but never solve the true problems. From our research, we noted the use of close-ups used with this style of advertising. In order to translate this technique into a theatre setting, we created large 2D props, consisting of current trending emojis, to present these materialistic products through an emotive narration. These props also help to represent the ‘cheap’ budget of advertising within commercials and the fakeness of products that once bought are not how they were when advertised.
Week 5 (10th – 16th Feb 2020)
Surrealist Aesthetic Inspirations. ‘Son of Man’ by the surrealist artist Rene Magritte inspired our surrealist aesthetic and concept of exploring what is behind the superficial performance of an advert, i.e. CYAN[IDE] looks beyond the advert to explore and interrogate the manipulative techniques used by advertisers.
Audience. Audience positioning was discussed with a subordinate position decided upon – shown through their applause at the end of CYAN[IDE] f ollowed by Eve’s “Search 100% complete. I hope you like it.” (Scene 13) – they had to buy into Eve’s advert, in the same way consumers subconsciously buy into products.
9/10 Healthcare Professionals’ Advert (Scene Eleven). Our research, specifically the Sensodyne parody (Foil Arms and Hog; Johnstone) found that medical adverts are composed of an authority figure offering life-changing solutions to the everyman by using facts and statistics. The advert featured an ‘anti-fatigue’ toothpaste and was demonstrated using three stereotypical characters: the housewife, worker and fitness fanatic. We decided to invert this technique by having the main section of the advert delivered with increased speed and slow down the list of symptoms (which were hyperbolic anyway) to the extent of speaking in slow-motion. The remaining members of the seven symbolised the energising effects, and later side effects, of the toothpaste upstage.
Hot Seating. This was an improvised task where the seven were questioned on a variety of topics, including their greatest advertising achievements and defining characteristics, allowing us to expand upon their characters thoughts, actions, accents, vocabulary etc.
Key Discoveries Included:
- Mr Monopoly: physicalization of old age and jokes about wealth/the Monopoly board.
- 9/10 Healthcare Professionals: the use of multiple personalities – e.g. speaking nine languages.
- Mother Nature: greenwashing products to sell them – she wants to capitalise on everything.
- Michelin Man: u se of cockney accent and expletives, references to being mute in previous adverts.
- Mickey Mouse: use of the iconic ‘Mickey’ voice, as exemplified in the video document, and dark humour.
- Ronald McDonald: patriotic and stereotypical masculinity.
- Barbie: stiff movement and gestures – made of plastic, multiple personas and speaks in the third person.
- Ron and Michelin: able to discuss the concept of gourmet food and the Michelin star.
- Monopoly and Ron: the McDonalds Monopoly collaboration
- Barbie, Mickey and Ron: all American characters and can play upon advertising stereotypes
- Identifying the links between each advert: Ron and Barbie both using the ‘patriotic American’ link and Barbie and Mickey linking through Paris and relationships with Ken and Minnie, respectively.
- Mickey’s Advert (Scene Thirteen). Firstly we took inspiration from pre-existing holiday adverts, specifically 2015’s Walt Disney World Resorts Commercial (Drombard). We wanted to base this advert in reality, thus exposing how the nature of Disney marketing, i.e selling magic and the dream, was already surreal in itself and something we willingly buy into. We used a combination of Disney songs, which are as follows:
|“Be our Guest” from Beauty and The Beast||Created the illusion of the consumer buying into a product and being looked after by Disney.|
|“Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins||Played on the idea that the realities of Disney and consumer culture were tolerated by the consumer and ignored due to the ‘sweetness’ of the product and the ‘5 minutes of fun and escape’ Disney offered.|
|“Heigh-Ho” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves||Symbolized the idea of consumers constantly working to allow for their small dose of relief and magic from Disney.|
|“Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book||Provoked thought in the audience; do we really need all of these things or are we tricked into thinking we do? We thought about how each individual could contribute to the building of the ‘Disney magic’ that Mickey was aiming to sell.|
Ronald McDonald was one that fit nicely as Disney already included McDonald’s restaurants. Michelin Man could symbolise the vast transportation system already in place at Disney. Mother Nature again fits nicely with how fake everything there is from the plastic boulders to plastic trees and Barbie was able to emulate the idea of an unattainable Disney princess. Mr Monopoly linked with the overall monopoly that Disney has on the entertainment industry and the buying of land to create the parks. Finally 9/10 health care professionals singing “a spoonful of sugar” humorously connects Disney’s song of Mary Poppins to the character with the idea that Disney can cure anything just as 9/10 health care professionals can. Lastly, as with each of the adverts they needed to link with the overarching apple product that is seen throughout the performance. We decided to use a pre-existing item that is frequently seen in Disney parks: a candy apple. Once the concept of the advert was outlined we had to write the lyrics to fit with the chosen songs. We based each section of lyrics loosely upon how the seven characters fit into the advert narrative. Our aim with the lyrics was to set alarming and uncomfortable words to a familiar and upbeat song. This would allow the audience to at first be entertained by the song, before realising what was really being said and what they were really being forced to consume; both in the context of the play and in real life.
Week 6 (17th – 23rd Feb 2020)
Structure. The development of Mickey’s advert led us into including all seven mascots in each advert, e.g. Barbie would perform the female seductive voice in Ron’s McApple pie advert (changing her accent to play into the multiple iterations of the character). We also developed a detailed breakdown of the structure of our piece, creating a visual timeline from start to finish. There would be an alternation between the meeting scenes – where the characters would interact with dialogue with one another, and the adverts where Eve looks back through the archives and projects the apple into each advert.
Developing ‘The Seven.’ Created the rule that the seven could only have three poses in the meeting scenes.
Eve and the Evies. Finalizing the importance of Eve and the moment of interjection into the performance. Allocating her speech “ Searching, searching”. CYAN[IDE] n ow framed Eve accessing and canvassing the adverts to create the ‘Mashup’. She is exploiting the key techniques of each of the seven, with the seven performing in all the adverts to heighten the surrealist state. The Evies now embodied Eve’s functions and represent the female form in a digital age. The audience were positioned as a test audience – Eve has placed them there to review her 60-second advert (‘The Mashup’). They act as Eve’s stage managers. They control the adverts on stage and patrol the auditorium to demonstrate Eve’s overriding power. Equally, the Evies are used to physically transfer the advert through the Airdrop – an image of an apple sent to each audience member at the end of CYAN[IDE].
Week 7 (24th Feb – 01 March 2020)
Formative. We performed the seven characters’ entrance as we wanted to see who our audience gravitated to the most, and learnt that having only three or four of the characters speaking per meeting scene would help refine our stage image. We also wanted the audience to recognise the presence of the Evies and so we kept them onstage as constant bodies within the theatre space. Questions regarding the complication of the ‘Airdrop’ encouraged us to capitalise on the audience’s confusion and anticipation: when we inform them at the start of the show that they will receive something on their phones, we provoke their desire to get hold of this ‘new product’. Reflecting on our work so far and audience feedback, we realised there was too much research to present within our piece, detracting from our surrealist aesthetics. Aneta also pointed out that creating stage images, such as seen with Michelin and Mother Nature’s advert, are equally effective in provoking thought and reflection.
Monopoly Advert (Scene Seven). After extensive discussions regarding Mr Monopoly’s we chose to amalgamate fear-mongering and aspects of the Monopoly board. As panic buying was on the rise, and our concern with the position of our performance and audience, we chose to use the concept of a ‘catch-all insurance’ that the consumer could buy into and insure themselves against anything that might happen. We decided to incorporate the Monopoly board in two ways; firstly, the reasons for needing insurance were tailored to the specific property prices on the monopoly board and moved from ‘everyday’ issues such as paying rent on ‘Old Kent Road’ to extravagant issues such ‘bumping your Bentley’ on Mayfair. Additionally, the concept of the advert was re-establishing a sense of order to the chaotic aftermath of a game of Monopoly in the same way that the insurance could create an order for the clients’ disorder/ruined life.
Week 8 (02 – 08 March 2020)
Subversion. Concerned that the structure of CYAN[IDE] may appear somewhat predictable, we identified there needed to be a moment of subversion, similar to that of ‘The Mashup’ that happened earlier within the piece. Identifying the juxtaposition of two of the cheap things – Energy and Nature, we decided to have a collaborative advert whereby ‘Nature’s bloody contradictions’ (Patel and Moore, A History of the World… 47) would be explored through the technique of greenwashing. The piece also needed a moment of stillness, so the advert mimicked the qualities of surrealist paintings.
Mother Nature and Michelin Man’s Advert (Scene Nine). We decided to include inflatable plastic tyres within the advert, having the audience exclusively watch the mascots expend their energy as they blow them up. We then explored the creation of a surrealist image: an apple tree made of rubber tyres alongside the distortion of advertiser jargon.
Week 9 (9th – 15th March 2020)
‘The Mashup’ (Scene Fourteen). We wanted to use the material we already had but further warp it to reveal the true extent of how manipulative it is and the surreal nature of the techniques. We singled out each technique: sexualisation, product-romanticisation, facts and statistics, fearmongering, greenwashing and idealism. We took the idea of Nature, that was foreshadowed with the greenwashing technique in Scene Nine, and created an image of a tree using the bodies of the Evies. The Evies assembled into an opposite ‘V formation’ (to the one the mascots had been standing in), produced an apple in their hands and moved the apple up to their bodies in a snake-like motion. The tree symbolised the ‘Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’ that produced the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden; a direct reference to ‘Eve’, the first consumer, and a possible beginning of the never-ending cycle of consumption. The apples were held from the hands of the Evies like fruit on branches and directly placed in front of the mascots to symbolise consumerism’s constant temptation. If you refer to Scene Nine, you will see that a hoard of apples are rolled onto the stage. This bombardment of apples allowed the mascots to use them to demonstrate their advertising techniques; for example, Barbie kissed as many apples as she could; ultimately showing the surreal nature of using product romanticisation.
Revisiting Mickey’s Advert (Scene Thirteen). We recorded a voice over for Mickey’s advert. It was important that the song be a voice over and not live as this was a technique often deployed by advertertisment, exposing the fakeness of adverts. Alongside this, we finalised the meeting scenes by analysing the effectiveness of each line and what changes were needed to be made/added in order to make clear connections and character arcs.
Refinement. We split into smaller groups to refine specific parts of the performance, for example: the five ‘Evies’ mapped their positions throughout the performance including; what tech they were involved in, their positions on the stage and interaction with the audience (leading them in and out).
Week 10 Onwards (16th March – 27th April 2020)
Moving Online. We split into teams to continue working on the portfolio so that we could divide the work evenly and maintain a high quality of collaboration. We regularly Zoomed to check progress and offer an objective, critical, and dramaturgical eye on each other’s work.
Sections. As we already had a full script we simply included the scenography designs and contextual information. We kept a detailed rehearsal diary that we reformatted to provide insight into our process. The character profiles were assembled based on independent research and the hot-seating exercises. Within the video we have used the pre-recorded audio to enhance our stage picture and concept for the reader and filmed/digital adaptations of the meeting scenes (through Zoom calls), Eve’s scenes, and Ron’s advert.
Notes on Performance – Characterisation
Evies – ‘Our cheap things didn’t magically make themselves. They emerged through a violent alchemy of ideas, conquest, and commerce in the modern world.’ (Patel and Moore 202) – As Artificial Intelligence, Eve has been designed to scour the internet’s archive of advertising material and formulate the perfect advert in order to present it to her test-audience. In doing this, Eve ironically exposes the gratuitous and bizarre techniques used in past and present advertisements and the fundamentally manipulative, temptational nature of consumerism. Her presence as the consumerist temptress is rooted in the allusion to Eve’s role in the Biblical “fall of man,” and her decision to incorporate an apple at the centre of her calculations. The symbol of the apple further signifies her importance as a technological creation – her meaning and intention is the product of mankind. We therefore chose the sound of Amazon’s Alexa for her voice and visuals, as both a good and a service as well as the anthropomorphic physicalization of consumerist invasion into our every-day life. The Evies are the physicalisation of Eve’s process on stage – the bridge between her as an incorporeal thought machine and a character in a stage play; they serve fundamentally as ASMs but the visibility of their action is vital to the aesthetic framing of the piece. They move rigidly in grid, in order to portray their presence as a perfunctory digital entity of Eve, as well as talking in unison with her. This is further suggested by their workman’s jumpsuits, accented with blue LED belts, linking them to Eve’s aesthetic palette.
Mother Nature – ‘Where European capitalism thrived was in its capacity to turn nature into something productive and to transform that productivity into wealth.’ (Patel and Moore 46) – Greenwashing – Brought in to add another green layer to the company and accompanied by the tagline ‘Mother Nature! Not now’ (Sonicpond 00:00:07 – 00:00:08), this character is epitomised by the stigmatisation of periods, and the othering of nature and natural processes from human societies. Abrasive and intrusive, Mother Nature is portrayed as America’s answer to the “Iron Lady”. Exploiting her ostensible alliance to the natural world (‘pearls? I invented them, darling,’ (Bacianna 00:00:31 – 00:00:33)) and femininity to form shallow relationships with other characters; picking apart the “green” aspects of their adverts and forming a notable bond with The Michelin Man as symbolic of the energy market for their rampant (and most ironic) use of greenwashing. Meta-character: demi-god turned “actress,” she realised that there is more money to be made in destroying the planet than protecting it.
Mickey Mouse – ‘Work was never meant to be fun.’ (Patel and Moore 95) – Idealism – Mickey Mouse has been the cornerstone of the Disney advertising/merchandise machine since his appearance in the cartoon Steamboat Willie in 1928. His high energy and consistently jolly presence is used to pitch the idea of childlike joy and fulfilment that supposedly comes with a visit to one of his parks. He is a constantly merry character and an incredibly bubbly stage presence; his dialogue is mostly reflective of the joy he has in his life (e.g. his relationship with Minnie, how wonderful his theme parks are, and his famous high-pitched accent) much to the annoyance of the other characters. The perpetual cheer of his gait and voice add comedy, and highlight the fantastical nature of the Disney brand, which directly contrasts the reality of working all year for an overpriced “magical” short-stay holiday at one of his parks.
Mr Monopoly a.k.a Rich Uncle Money Bags – ‘Money facilitates and compels action at a distance.’ (Patel and Moore 67) – Fear Mongering – Traditional aesthetic of an old man which also shows in his character and nature. With this wise and methodological old-man aesthetic, he seems trustworthy and dependable which benefits him in what he wishes to sell; Monopoly’s demeanour lulls the audience into a false sense of security, which allows him to scare them into buying his insurance. Money Bags takes a keen interest in the properties of other characters, including Barbie’s Malibu Dream House and Mickey’s Clubhouse.
9/10 Healthcare Professionals – ‘To ask for capitalism to pay for care is to call for an end to capitalism.’ (Patel and Moore 135) – Facts and Statistics – Monotone but insistent, and eager to advertise their products that they advertise their products in various different languages. They represent more than one medical professional (often seems as though they are consulting with others). Ironically, comes across as a paranoid hypochondriac who fears coming into contact with others, preferring to converse with the rest of the nine healthcare professionals (covering American, British and other European countries) in different languages before interjecting. Their constant interruptions coupled with the dehumanised blue suit makes them appear alien and disconcerting.
Barbie – ‘Cheap lives are made through the apparatus of the modern social order. They’re absolutely necessary to capitalism’s ecology.’ (Patel and Moore 37-38) – Romanticisation - Barbie is a global icon. Her beauty and multipotentiality has captured the imagination of the world since her 1959 debut (Lord). Barbie presents herself as the ultimate accessory on stage. Aesthetically, she reflects the iconic pink prototype but displays her dynamism where possible. Barbie’s characterisation leans into the jarring paradox that the Barbie brand promotes, an innocent but sexually seductive feminist doll that enforces heteronormative standards while attempting to challenge them. In order to expose the duplicitous nature of her character, the stereotype is challenged throughout the performance while her excessive femininity and profligate consumption are critiqued, to comic effect. She finds a particular affinity with Mickey Mouse who, like Barbie, is in the business of selling happiness and dreams.
Michelin Man – ‘Cheap oil is so important because today’s capitalists don’t wish to support the kinds of massive investment that would make a solar transition possible.’ (Patel and Moore 178) – Greenwashing - Michelin was first established in 1894 (Pullano). In many early posters the Michelin man is wearing pince-nez glasses, smoking a cigar and holding a champagne glass, an image which appealed to the very small, wealthy section of society that could afford a car. In the 1920’s, the brand dropped the elitism to appear more approachable to a wider target audience (Michelin Guide). By the 1980’s Michelin was no longer drinking or smoking (Pullano). One of the key features from adverts was that he remained quiet in order to appear “strong and silent.” But, when left to his own devices on stage, Michelin says what he wants, when he wants. His delivery ironises his austentatious roots, complimenting his lines in a rough south-London accent. Michelin, also being the zenith of fine dining awards, loathes Ronald McDonald promoting the degradation of quality and sophistication in the culinary world.
Ronald McDonald – ‘The logic of cheap meat production comes full circle, with additives in food designed […] to sustain cheap human labor, which, in its turn, will produce more profit further down the line.’ (Patel and Moore 157) – Sexualisation – The techniques used through Ronald McDonald himself are best described as “child-targeting”, “colour distraction”, “musicalisation”, and “humour.” In our performance he is played in this jovial manner to begin with – a smiling wacky face of an addictive life-threatening business. After the introduction of his advertising technique, he becomes lewd and crass, dropping the jovial accent for something closer to Patrick Bateman. This is in order to reflect the inappropriate inclusion of sexualisation in food adverts. Throughout the piece his character begins to adopt characteristics of the cut-throat toxic masculine businessmen which strived to keep his character alive and which use gender prolifically and manipulatively throughout advertisement. Ron struggles with Moneybags’ old-business blunt talk about the effectiveness of the ‘McDonald’s Monopoly’ campaign (Barr), trying himself to be the “happy face” of business.
Annotated Script and Ideas for Design
This video documents the sound and projection created by our group and prepared for our piece. We have decided to include these technical elements within our portfolio in order to showcase this work, and for the audience/viewer to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the visual and audio aesthetic of ‘CYAN[IDE]’. All extra footage was created in order to reflect the visual concepts of our performance, therefore no new content was added solely for the purpose of this video.
We hope that you enjoy it!
A note on the clips used:
All clips of EVE were provided to us by the tech team of Royal Holloway’s Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance. They were part of our projection mapping design, aided by Chris Irwin, who provided us with the temporary clips seen in this video. The projections of EVE were the main component of our stage design.
Many of the clips seen in this video served as our main inspiration during the rehearsal process; these clips were viewed, studied, and used as the foundation of our original advert creations.
Moore, Jason W., and Raj Patel. A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism,
Nature, and the Future of the Planet. Verso, 2018. Print.
The Antipodes. Written and Directed by Annie Baker. National Theatre, London. 14 November 2019. Performance.
Top Girls. W ritten by Caryl Churchill. Directed by Lyndsey Turner, National Theatre, London. 12 April 2019. Performance.
Washburn, Anne. Mr Burns: A Post-electric Play. Oberon Modern Plays, 2014. Print.
Zinder, David. The Surrealist Connection: An Approach to a Surrealist Aesthetic of Theatre. UMI Research, 1980. Print.
Anthem Entertainment. “Extra Gum – Can’t Help Falling In Love Feat. Haley Reinhart.” YouTube, 14 Oct. 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NemtQx0m0Ss.
Ashman, H. and Alan Menken. “Be Our Guest.” Beauty and the Beast, 1991.
Bionic Disco. “Enjoli Perfume ‘I’m a Woman’ Commercial’.” YouTube, 15 Nov. 2017,
Churchill, F. and Larry Morey. “Heigh-Ho.” Snow White, 1937.
Drombard, Nicolas. “Walt Disney World Resorts Commercial.” YouTube, 23 Nov. 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Nhwt8GQAI.
Foil Arms and Hog. “Sensodyne Commercial Parody – Foil Arms and Hog.” YouTube, 7 Jan 2016, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1IAbIuAn1c.
Johnstone, Douglas. “Celebrex Ad.” YouTube, 13 Jun. 2007, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GvYI4VdVEI&list=PLQZTk4BbrTExLq1Lmdj1HqEOZRxv0zbN2&i ndex=2.
Magritte, Rene. “The Son of Man.” 1964, “The Surrealist Artwork of Rene Magritte: The Son Of Man.” Art Pieces, 2020, www.artpieces.net/son-of-man.html. Accessed 24 Apr 2020.
Mindmatcher. “Marks And Spencer – Christmas Food 2006.” YouTube, 19 Dec. 2006, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHFKE6PD_6U.
Moore, Jason W., and Raj Patel. “Unearthing the Capitalocene: Towards a Reparations Ecology.”
Capitalism: Locating the Climate Crisis in the Historical Context of Colonialism, Orientalism and Extractivism, 9 July 2019, http://www.capitalocene.org/2019/07/09/unearthing-the-capitalocene-towards-a-reparations-ecol ogy/.
Renault UK. “30 Years in the Making | The All-New Renault CLIO.” YouTube, 7 Nov. 2019, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrNCVAqbCD0.
Sherman, Richard M. and Robert B. “A Spoonful of Sugar.” Mary Poppins, 1 964.
Jones, Ellis, et al. “Rethinking Greenwashing: Corporate Discourse, Unethical Practice, and the Unmet Potential of Ethical Consumerism.” Sociological Perspectives, vol. 62, no. 5, 2019, pp. 728–754.
Renault UK. “30 Years in the making | The All-New Renault CLIO.” YouTube, 7 Nov. 2019, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrNCVAqbCD0.
Saturday Night Live. “SNL Commercial Parodies: Health.” YouTube, 29 Oct. 2019, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGYDWO5Fhtg.
Notes on Performance – Characterisation
Bacianna. “Tampax Pearl Outsmart Mother Nature TV ad – longer version.” YouTube, 3 Nov. 2009,
Barr, Sabrina. “McDonald’s Monopoly is Back – How to Play.” Independent, 23 Mar. 2019, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/mcdonalds-monopoly-how-to-play-rules- customer-game-a8833316.html.
Lord, M. G. Forever Barbie: The Unauthorised Biography of a Real Doll. Avon Books, 1995.
Michelin Guide. “8 Surprising Facts About the Michelin Man.” Michelin Guide Washington, D.C., 9 Sept. 2017,
Pullano, Chelsea. “History of the Michelin Man.” Vocal Media, 2017, vocal.media/journal/history-of-the-michelin-man.
Sonicpond. “Tampax Pearl – Millie Reeves.” YouTube, 10 Aug. 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuWJqg3rguE.
Steamboat Willie. Directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, Walt Disney Studios, 18 Nov. 1928.
Buckingham, Susan. “Ecofeminism in the Twenty-First Century.” The Geographical Journal, vol. 170, no. 2, 2004, pp. 146-154.
Gershon, Livia. “The Secret History of Menstruation.” JSTOR Daily, 8 Feb. 2018, daily.jstor.org/the-secret-history-of-menstruation/.
McElroy, Ryan. “The Dark and Violent History of the Michelin Man.” CarKeys, 26 Feb. 2016, http://www.carkeys.co.uk/news/the-dark-and-violent-history-of-the-michelin-man.
Myweekendmyway. “Mother Nature.” YouTube, 9 Dec. 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLyWTNpWOwU.
Sinclair, Mark. “The Secret History of The Michelin Man.” Fast Company, 10 Mar. 2014, http://www.fastcompany.com/3036541/the-secret-history-of-the-michelin-man.
Studiodump. “Tampax Pearl Romance.” YouTube, 5 Mar. 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5ZQdDwncCc.
Tennisservedfresh. “TennisServedFresh video: Tampax – Serena vs. Mother Nature.” YouTube, 3 Sept. 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIeYV63ap20.
See ‘Frequently Used References’.
Moran, Nicole. “How I Write Down My Choreography.” Dance Insight, 29 Jan. 2019, http://www.dance-insight.com/write-down-choreography/.
AirTransatModelsOFFICIAL. “Mickey Mouse: Steamboat Willie Whistle (Best Quality).” YouTube, 18
Apr. 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6CZW4rRGfY.
Alifitzd. “Rotting Apple (Mould).” YouTube, 2 1 Feb. 2007, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRiwXMeKoGk&t=14s.
Anthem Entertainment. “Extra Gum – Can’t Help Falling in Love feat Haley Reinhart.” YouTube, 14 Oct. 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NemtQx0m0Ss.
Ashman, H. and Alan Menken. “Be Our Guest.” Beauty and the Beast, 1991.
Bacianna. “Tampax Pearl Outsmart Mother Nature Ad -longer version.” YouTube, 3 Nov. 2009,
Barbie. “Barbie Dreamhouse | Barbie.” Youtube, 7 Aug. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEHuFcia6fw.
Best Wheels Online. “Michelin Rain Commercial.” YouTube, 3 Jul. 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dgs99ql-Ng.
Bryan Michurski. “Mr Monopoly 1.” YouTube, 7 Aug. 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqAuz1Qxazw.
Churchill, F. and Larry Morey. “Heigh-Ho.” Snow White, 1937. CollegeHumor. “Monopoly Man Goes Bankrupt.” YouTube, 11 Dec. 2008,
CrotonPublishing. “Colgate Dentist DRTV.” YouTube, 2 0 Oct. 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ULR68LTmbw.
Discovery UK. “SUGAR | How it’s Made.” YouTube, 2 1 Jul. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCKt02NGjfM&t=386s.
Disney Channel Africa. “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Rubber Ducks | Official Disney Junior Africa.” YouTube, 4 Apr. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcpUVuyup-Q&t=35s.
DisneyJuniorUK. “My Mystery Patient | Mickey Mouse Clubhouse | Official =Disney Junior UK HD.” YouTube, 1 8 Sept. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qGRtXQqJJM.
Disney Junior. “All Hot Dog Dances! Compilation |Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” YouTube, 21 Mar. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bseyU2PvBQo&t=2s.
FRCIeServices. “Michelin Energy Saver.” YouTube, 12 Jul. 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAMXTuZufSo.
Howcast. “How to Inflate Car Tires.” YouTube, 22 Jun. 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAdrb3Mmffo&t=20s.
Lecturio Medical. “Medical School Survival Guide – Course Preview | Lecturio.” YouTube, 9 Nov. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUfipcaTf2c.
LV=. “Home Insurance TV advert March 2020.” YouTube, 9 Mar. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo2X4nBhhY0.
Movieclips. “Grease (1978) – Thunder Road Scene (10/10) | Movieclips.” YouTube, 6 Oct. 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsYC-hVEpQM&t=4s.
M&S. “Adventures in Imagination: M&S Food – TV Ad 2014.” YouTube, 1 Sept. 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ4pctQMdg4.
Nicholas Dromard. “Walt Disney World Resorts Commercial.” YouTube, 23 Nov. 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Nhwt8GQAI&t=2s.
Nuffield Health. “Nuffield Health Hospitals – Specialists in you – 2020 Advert.” YouTube, 1 0 Jan. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILb5cy9PwjQ.
ProjectADHand. “McDonald’s Happy Meal Ad – 1994.” YouTube, 2 6 Sep. 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyzWlMZ1Y54.
Romy Leong. “Barbie in a Fashion Fairytale- Fashion Show scene.” Youtube, 16 Mar, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOD2y_dCrcE&t=60s.
Sherman, Richard M. and Robert B. “A Spoonful of Sugar”. Mary Poppins, 1 964. Skwirk Online Education. “Flora and Fauna in Australia.” YouTube, 25 Mar. 2012,
Sonicpond. “Tampax Pearl – Millie Reeves.” YouTube, 1 0 Aug. 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOJeYbpyDSM.
Tasty. “How To Make The Perfect Pie.” YouTube, 3 Nov. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR4R7GHxU1w&t=3s.
The Coca-Cola Co. “World Without Waste.” YouTube, 19 Jan. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD6ORHLbaAA.
Tyresales.com.au. “Michelin – Extended Version of the Michelin Man Defeats the Evil Gas Pump TV Commercial.” YouTube, 12 Mar. 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwnT3Iy1pyk.