Our excellent dialect coach Liz Hayes sent along a series of videos as touchstones for the sound of the fictional town in which SPLENDOR is set.
Some are available for embedding here, but not all, so follow the links.
Let’s start with THIS ONE, which may be particularly helpful for Gloria.
Here’s a great one of Somerville’s Mayor Joseph Curtatone:
In general, the SomervilleCity TV YouTube channel is kind of a gold mine. Check it out HERE. (After all, it includes gem like THIS!)
LISA: Go Trojans.
MIKE: Trojans is bullshit, we should be the chiefs, we were always the chiefs some people just can’t fucking leave well enough alone fucking troublemaker this is a good place, a good town, we’re the fucking Chiefs, fucking warriors.
Images of schools’ various chiefs logos:
Images of schools’ logos for trojans:
Hell no I ain’t cookin’ squat. Joe’s mother does it, the old bat, and I say let her. Whatever I make it’s too salty, it’s too sweet, it’s too hot, it’s too cold. She said that once, that what I made was too cold, once, and I looked at her, all the plastic on her furniture shinin’ at me through the kitchen doorway cause she windexes it, every day she windexes it like anyone’s ever allowed to sit on it and she says that to me, that what I made was too cold and I looked right at her, I looked right at her and I said, “It’s freakin’ jello and cool whip, it’s supposed to be cold”. First Thanksgiving we were married I told Joe, I told Joe, the best thing I make is reservations.
Covering new furniture in plastic is considered a way to keep it clean and in good condition for as long as possible. For families for whom an expensive furniture set is a one-time investment, keeping it in pristine condition is important, even if this comes at the expense of a soft surface to sit on or a couch that doesn’t shine in the sunlight.
In the course of the play, water takes a central imagistic role — sometimes it’s a stand-in for peace and calm, other times it’s explicitly a marker of death by drowning. Director Shawn LaCount has said that all the characters in the play feel, at some point, the pressure and need for air that a person caught underwater would encounter. They are all looking for a way to swim, to succeed, to deal with the circumstances of their lives. Only Anthony finds his way to the surface; Fran and Nicole may reach it as well. There are moments where each character might have the potential to surface, to breathe again, and moments where the pressure nearly crushes them.
A selective list of water images evoked throughout the play: the Middle Passage; Davey’s drowning; Mike’s implied trauma in the water connected to Davey’s death; the feeling of invincibility in the water quickly transformed to mortality; Anthony’s love of the “black hole” in the harbor beyond the lighthouse; the way Lisa hears water sometimes; the way the lighthouse and harbor feel peaceful to Anthony and Nicole; the implication that the most expensive houses in town are the ones nearest the water; Aline’s feeling that the ocean is peaceful; Lisa’s Caribbean vacation….
Scenic Designer Cristina Todesco and Lighting Designer Jen Rock are also playing with the feeling of water, and of light filtering through water, as a component of the play in production.
The work of artist Jason De Caires Taylor is particularly evocative here. He creates concrete statues of people in everyday positions, installs them underwater, and waits for corals to create sculptural reefs. His installations change in shape and color over time, but the human forms remain.
On the feeling of drowning…
GLORIA: Katie showed me her Thanksgiving project and there’s stuff on it about the kind of soil you need to grow corn and which way Haddock swims off Cape Cod and I’m thinking: where’s the birds made out of hands like you used to bring home from school—
FRAN: It’s a different kind of school, Ma.
Thanksgiving arts & crafts…