“Each of the characters had a piece we called their ‘Portrait’– less narrative and more character study. This one, for Jameson (on the Yellow Route), shows his split nature. A percussionist is in the car; outside the car, he can view himself as a projection on the walls of the 2nd and 3rd Street Tunnels. He sees himself as an animation, surrounded by scientific formulae. We also see a galloping deer – the totem of his near-death experience, as we learn in the Chapter 5 animation. That decisive moment from his youth changed him so utterly that the deer becomes a sort of spirit animal for him. His helmet has a deer decal in Chapters 2, Chapter 7, and Chapter 19.
“The philosopher Paul Virilio proclaimed that ‘what goes on in the windshield is cinema in the strictest sense’, and that confusion of real and virtual worlds was one of the primary ideas behind Hopscotch. In brainstorming ways to put that idea into motion, Production Designer Jason H. Thompson was keen to project on buildings as part of the production design of Hopscotch. When it was clear the performance had to be during the day and projections on buildings were likely to be obliterated by the sun, we realized that tunnels would still provide a dark enough situation for projections to read.
Completed in 1924, the 2nd Street Tunnel, with its unique light and tiling, has been the set for over 70 car commercials. It is also significantly featured in the film Blade Runner.
“He and Lead AV Tech, Edward Carlson devised a plan to strap a projector to the roof of the limo, with the controls coming from the assistant stage manager in the passenger seat. How they figured this out is completely beyond me – they are both such mad geniuses.
“Andrew Norman’s music for these portraits were not meant to be stand-alone pieces but improvised materials that prepared the audience’s ears for Chapter 36: The Finale. For this portrait, the percussionists play one of the themes from the Finale on the glasses in the car. Just as Jameson is an analytic, Faustian materialist, he obsessively filled the glasses with water, trying to find the exact pitches of the Finale.
“The narrations allowed us to show two times simultaneously: the situation in the car, and the voice coming over the car speakers, representing a different stand-point in the characters’ lives.
“It became clear that Andrew’s musical ideas and the scenes themselves would do better with some first-person narration. This was a very last-minute addition for the three portraits, but it was great to think about how the narrations could make connections across Hopscotch.
“For Lucha’s portrait and Orlando’s portrait the voice-overs show the wiser, older version of the character remembering their younger selves with warmth and compassion. Jameson’s voice-over is from the perspective of his younger self curious about the future: ‘Is this the man I will become?’ Like the images on the walls of the tunnel, the striving scientist Jameson we are presented with in the car is a projection: an uncertain and - perhaps unsatisfying? – future.”