squeeze: A Motel Play focused on the societal pressures faced by women in America. The expectation to be well-mannered, mentally stable, to adhere to a certain standard of beauty, to marry by a certain age or even to be a certain race can build up until there’s no room to breathe. This unbearable pressure is what squeeze achieved.
As a New Play Festival production, squeeze had a limited build time and a one-day run. This was a challenge because squeeze has four distinct locations. These distinct, claustrophobic locations were achieved through four flats on casters, two of which were locked together until the finale of the show when the motel room splits open to reveal the heart of the motel. These moving pieces served a dramaturgical function as well. In squeeze, the scenery is the fifth character and so must be threatening and able to scare Jenna (the protagonist) by rearranging itself. Because of this, transitions were celebrated through choregraphed sequences set to a soundscape in which we observe Jenna in her ability to see the motel change.
New Play Festival is a unique experience in that there is a mountain of work that happens in a very condensed time frame to create a show that will live for one day. It is a feat of collaboration and an incredible exercise in instinct. If one stays true to the text, gut instinct is a powerful way to deduce the core of what a design needs to function.
squeeze: A Motel Play
Copyright 2016 Alex Casillas