marea inspirations

As we gear up for our upcoming presentation of marea, we’ll be updating this blog with lots of information about the project.

First off, marea is a play about a woman piecing together her identity and family history. One of the ways she does this is via her connection to two very different movies that came out in 1960, L’Avventura and Black Sunday (or La maschera del demonio).

Michelangelo Antonioni’s landmark film L’Avventura is basically the story of Claudia (played by Monica Vitti) whose best friend Anna (Lea Masari) mysteriously disappears off an island off the coast of Sicily.  Drawn together by their loss, Claudia and Anna’s lover Sandro begin a love affair.  Throughout the film Claudia is positioned against the privileged set that Anna and Sandro ran with and witnesses the spiritual emptiness of their world.  Antonioni masterfully used composition, editing . . . and of course the massive narrative jump of Anna’s disappearance to jolt the viewer’s perceptions and expectations.  It is a film that challenges the way we see things . . . and one in which our heroine is constantly observing . . .in fact, her back is often to the camera as she too watches the scene unfolding on the screen before us.  In marea, Maria is obsessed with Anna’s disappearance on the island, constantly turning the scene in her mind until it is no longer about Antonioni’s film, but about her life.

Mario Bava’s Black Sunday on the other hand is a gothic masterpiece that has gone on to influence many directors, most notably Tim Burton (whose Sleepy Hollow often feels like an homage to this film).  The film is about Vajda family and the curse laid upon them by their ancestor Asa, a witch who was executed in a very grisly way in the film’s prologue.  Asa and her virtuous descendant Katia are both played by Barbara Steele, lending the film a Jungian vibe with both Asa and Katia being two sides of the same coin (in fact, Asa hisses to Katia at one point “we are the same.”).  While tame by today’s horror movie standards, the film is chock full of rich imagery and atmosphere, which was part of Bava’s signature style.  The camera spends a great deal of time analyzing Asa’s face which is disfigured by the spiked mask that was nailed to it during her execution.  In marea, Maria’s partner Claudia is a fan of Bava and this film in particular.  Her revelation of this to Maria speeds up the creepy happenings Maria is experiencing as a her past begins to literally haunt her . . . and eventually sweep her away into a hallucination that feels like it was lifted from an old black and white horror film.


2 Responses to “marea inspirations”

  1. November 11, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I love that Antonioni movie but did not know why. Thanks for exploring the ‘why’

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About Packawallop Productions

Packawallop Productions is a non-profit theater and film production company. At the heart of Packawallop’s values is a belief that the conventions inherent in theater and film reveal truths about the nature of human relations, especially when dealing with issues of sexuality, gender and culture. Packawallop is an artistic home for artists who want to create new productions via a rigorous aesthetic investigation of the media of theater and film. It is also a home for audiences who wish to explore these issues in exciting and surprising ways. Both the artists and audiences involved with the work will make discoveries about themselves and the world around them as a result. We consider our audience as part of our collaborative community and we treat each show as an extended cocktail party.

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