Excerpt from the Hopscotch album, Track 8. Composer, Ellen Reid
“This chapter expressed how two people in love become connected to the deepest mysteries of the universe, that the depth of Lucha and Jameson’s love magnifies and multiplies them but also, in a way, obliterates them. An angel figure leads the audience into a fenced off, almost forgotten corner of a park underneath the Broadway viaduct. Cars whiz by overhead, and every five minutes or so a Metro train goes by.
“There we see Lucha and Jameson, suddenly seeming so small and alone, cast as two dancers on a patch of green AstroTurf lined with stars. The motorcycle sculpture from Chapter 2 stands there. Quayla as the angel sang live and striking chimes as she walks, while an 8-channel sound installation surrounding played Ellen’s haunting work for children’s choir.
“This chapter went through bigger changes than any other. Ellen originally imagined the children’s choir to be live in the space – an idea I loved, until the logistics of children singing the same piece 24 times a day every weekend for six weeks finally defeated us. Ellen’s idea of recording the children in a spatialized format offered a great solution.
“The biggest challenge this chapter faced was a last-minute shift of venue: the original version of this scene was to take place in an empty, graffiti-covered warehouse, with the audience moving through a small darkened room to emerge into an expansive amber-lit space.
“At that point we felt pretty much stuck, since the map of the Green Route was completely worked out by then, and any replacement site couldn’t be more than a few blocks away without wreaking havoc to the distances the cars needed to travel in either direction. We also didn’t have a single dollar more on renting a space – the new space would have to be donated to us like the warehouse.
“But the final result ended up feeling so perfect, and in fact so much more mysterious and wondrous for being such a surprising location. I wonder whether the empty warehouse would have felt too melancholy and potentially nihilistic, as opposed to the sunny but hidden space of the Viaduct.
“Jason had three projections in mind to hit the motorcycle sculpture and the warehouse walls. Two weeks before we were planning to rehearse this scene, the warehouse owners informed us that a major film shoot rented the space –a possibility that was always part of our agreement.
“Luckily, our great friends Sean Woods and Stephanie Campbell at the California State Parks – who were helping us secure the land by the LA River for Chapter 26 – offered the Viaduct space as a solution, directly across the street from the original warehouse location. Of course it required a complete shift of focus for the scene: the projections, of course, had to be cut, and we had to make adjustments to the very different character of this space opposite our intended warehouse.
“My original staging idea was to have two actors as Jameson and Lucha sitting on the motorcycle sculpture, while the dancing Lucha and Jameson activated the space around them – picking up on the ideas in the Chapter 10 animation of the multiverse offering innumerable alternative versions of the self. In that chapter, Jameson asks Lucha: ‘How do you know you’re in love with me, when there are so many you’s and so many me’s?’ That line felt central not just to the overarching concepts of Hopscotch but to the practical realization of the piece: all the many actors, singers, musicians playing Lucha, Jameson, and Orlando, and how they all add up to a single representation of their identities. But I had to cut ten performers out of the total scope of Hopscotch to keep to our budget – and hey, we still had a cast of 126! – so the two silent actors sitting on a motorcycle all day long were an easy target for the axe. We tried replacing them with life-size puppets of Lucha and Jameson, but they got knocked over and crushed by the motorcycle at the first rehearsal. When we picked them up again and saw that they looked like mangled corpses, they got cut as well.
“The warehouse was also going to have the blue rotary telephone that Lucha uses to call herself just sitting there, with a recording of the two Luchas singing to each other. I loved the idea that this moment where Lucha and Jameson are at one with the universe was also the actual site of the blue telephone she finds to call her younger self. But when we shifted venues and the Viaduct didn’t have a good location for the phone, we moved it to the center of the Central Hub – in many ways a more fitting location for the object.”