Excerpt from the Hopscotch album, Track 12. Composer, Ellen Reid
“This chapter was Lucha’s cry of despair, where she was literally split into two – and the only chapter that was not good for audiences with motion sickness. In her desperation, the two Luchas drove obsessively around the same street corner, over and over again. We originally called this chapter the Doppler Effect, because it began with Ellen’s early wish to explore that effect as a musical phenomenon. Each time the car would pass an abandoned loading dock, the window would roll down and a quartet of trumpets would blare a siren-like fanfare. The trumpeters seemed to multiply, as Lucha’s own vision of reality seems to fracture and decay.
Discovered separately by Christian Doppler and Hippolyte Fizeau in the 1840s, this phenomenon refers to change in frequencey/pitch relative to speed. As the listener moves toward the sound, its wavelength decreases, causing its pitch to be perceived higher. Consequently, as the listener moves away from the sound, its wavelength increases, causing its pitch to be perceived lower.
“This was the chapter on the Yellow Route where the outside world infiltrated the isolation of the car interior (on the Red Route, this was Chapter 2, and on the Green Route this was Chapter 19). Not only did we have the trumpeters on the loading dock, but the haunting coda of the work had Lucha leave the car and sing from the street. Using the same wireless mics and Sennheiser antennae set-up from other chapters, Lucha’s voice changes from the immediacy of the shared space to the removed, alienated loneliness of the coda.
“Lucky Orpheus!” When you went to Hades, your Eurydice was there. Still in wedding whites-braiding slowly her clean hair-lilies fresh in her bouquet-lilac live behind one ear-but what flower could live here? Lucky, lucky Orpheus! Hades he visited and he left with his fresh bride. Oh Hades has bloomed in me. Hades now lives in me…I become a part of night.”
“Mandy’s text has Lucha sing: ‘I become a part of night.’ It made me think of creating a shroud that could ‘black out’ the windows and make the surrounding world disappear. So many other chapters were about observing the streets; in the depths of her despair, I wanted to find a way for that street life to be obliterated. A black shroud pressed against the windows suddenly made the cityscape disappear, and Lucha floated in a featureless darkness. When we were rehearsing this, I often thought of the ‘day for night’ approach most films take to create the illusion of a nocturnal setting in normal daylight hours – I thought we were doing the makeshift operatic version of that.
Laura Bohn drew strength from within to portray Lucha in the throes of despair.
“The ‘car-eography’ of this chapter, with the nauseating circling around the same block, was particularly demanding, and based on how long it took to drive around and around the block, the scene would also get cut short on a moment’s notice. Like Chapter 12 and Chapter 15, this scene was performed in a different order depending on the direction you experienced it: some audiences began with the shroud aria, others experienced it as a coda.
“As if it wasn’t already demanding for the artists to portray this anguished scene 24 times a day, they also had to be constantly prepared to deploy one of so many different alternative versions of the scene at a moment’s notice – I’m still astonished how they did it.”