"Somewhere in the dark, a cyborg coven is performing a ritual for the future of humankind. Using movement, found text, and machine learning algorithms, they summon the Salem witch panic out of America’s colonial shadows. Featuring an all-queer ensemble, TERMINER
shines a light on contemporary systems of power, and casts a spell of resistance and repair."
Terminer was a groundbreaking new
work which explored the Salem Witch Trials through the lenses of technology, the queer, and the other. The work moved between ritual sequences and courtroom trials, with the text comprised either of original materials from Salem or AI generated text based on the initial accounts. After several sequences of rituals, expositions, and trials, a group of young interrupters storm the scene and bring the play to its conclusion.
The lighting design reflected the transitive nature of the space. The historic New Hazlett Theatre is wonderfully tall.
Because Terminer was staged in proscenium, I wanted to emphasize the scale of the space. For some moments, I emphasized the soaring architecture and during others, I created a sense of claustrophobic darkness to emphasize
I lit the ritual sequences as dance pieces- focusing on the movement to sculpt the ensemble and environment. I also chose
to evoke subtle feelings of the four primal elements through color and texture.
For the courtroom sequences, there were primarily three performers. Each performer was trapped within their own window of light, emphasizing their isolation and movement or lack thereof.
As the interrupters enter, they bring light, color, and warmth, creating a swirl of energy underscored with Nikki Minaj to counter the grim Puritan starkness.
Director: Philip Wesley Gates
Scenic Design: Sasha Schwartz
Costume Design: Janine Paulson
Lighting Design: Ethan Hollinger
Sound Design: Aaron Landgraf
Photography by Renee Rosensteel