Ludic Proxy is a multi-lingual, multi-media play in three acts exploring the tenuous line between memory, reality and fantasy through three narratives that unfold within an immersive theatrical landscape:
ACT ONE Past: Nostalgia
The Soviet city of Pripyat was built as a model city of the future to house the workers of Chernobyl. Following the accident at the nuclear power plant in 1986, the residents were evacuated and never allowed to return. Nina, who was a teenager at the time, is now an unwelcome guest in her sister's home in present-day Brighton Beach. Friendless in a strange city, she finds comfort only in her memories of what life was like before the accident. One day, she witnesses her nephew playing a video game. She recognizes its setting as her hometown of Pripyat, abandoned and in ruins after 30 years of neglect. The graphic accuracy of the game is such that she is able to navigate through the streets of Pripyat and arrives at her childhood apartment. This virtual return to her home triggers the most vivid and unfiltered reliving of the moment of trauma that cast her out of her home.
ACT TWO Present: Virtual Reality
The tremendous earthquake of March 11, 2011, in Japan led to the meltdown of Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant and rendered many surrounding areas uninhabitable, as the effects of longterm low-dose radiation have not accurately been studied. Maki, a woman born and raised in Fukushima city, still lives there, in the outskirts of the nuclear evacuation zone, with her husband, and takes care of her ailing father. She is visited by her younger sister, Maho from Tokyo. Maho is extremely apprehensive of her sister's decision to remain in Fukushima city. During her visit, Maki reveals that she is 8 weeks pregnant, and the two grapple with what to do, torn between staying in their hometown or saving the health of the child.
ACT THREE Future: Dream
In the distant future, all of humanity has moved underground to a technology-saturated world to escape the toxic conditions of the Surface. Trepple is one of the last few unaltered humans living in a world that values technology-integration through physical modification. After she loses her mother, and then her co-worker and only friend, she is given a diagnosis of uterine cancer, catapulting her into a crisis, questioning her own mortality and possible progeny, unable to imagine a future for herself. She steps into a dream state where she is finally able to act on all the things she was afraid of doing. At that point all three narratives of the play begin to collide, resulting in the future pointing to the present -- the only moment where we actually have agency -- and the present coming to terms with the past.
Note: Some actors are cast in multiple roles and so must possess versatility and range. All should have a collaborative spirit, as well as strong movement skills. The theatre space will be used in a non-traditional way and the piece is an immersive theatre piece. The audience will be guided by performers to move to a different location for each act and actors should be comfortable with some interaction with the audience.
(Female, Caucasian, late-30s to mid-40s) native Russian or Ukrainian preferred, must speak English with convincing Russian accent. PRESENT NINA is a fragile, damaged beauty, someone who is trapped in the past. She manifests herself in a wide range of ways, from the dark crazy woman who endlessly walks up and down the boardwalk in Brighton Beach talking to herself, to an ethereal, light angelic presence, reliving her childhood. Actor must possess a lovely singing voice and ability to sing in harmony.
PAST NINA / VARYA
(Female, Caucasian to play Past Nina, a teen-ager and Varya, mid-20s ) Should have an ear for languages, as the part will require speaking lines in Russian (need not be native speaker, but would be an added plus). PAST NINA is a fresh, bright, 13-year-old school girl living in Pripyat (USSR) in 1986. Innocent, sweet, light, mischievous, earnest. Full of dreams.
(mid-20s) is an artificial intelligence in the form of an intensive care nurse in the distant future. She is indistinguishable from human beings except for her ability to connect with and channel the recently deceased. Varya is utterly professional, calm, and convincingly compassionate. The actor will be double cast in these two roles.
(Female, Japanese, early to mid- 40s) Must speak Japanese fluently. MAKI is a housewife living in present day Fukushima City in Japan. She was born and raised there, and has had no experience traveling abroad. Although married for 15 years, she and her husband have no children -- but she discovers that she is unexpectedly pregnant and must consider whether to remain living in her home and bear the consequences of an unstable environment. Actor must possess lovely singing voice and ability to sing in harmony.
MAHO / DOCTOR
(Female, Japanese, 30s) Must speak Japanese fluently. MAHO was born and raised in Fukushima City in Japan, but she has since traveled and lived abroad, and now lives in Tokyo. She considers herself urban and worldly, in contrast to her older sister, and tries to share information and express her opinion to influence her sister’s choices. DOCTOR is a high status human with privilege, living in the distant future. Extremely knowledgeable but lacking in compassion and patience. This characters actions will be partly determined by audience votes in the moment, so actor must possess flexibility, physical and emotional precision and ability to connect with audience members. Ability to sing and harmonize a plus.
SEMYON / SIMON / ASTRO
(Male, Caucasian, must pass for older teen to early 30s) Should have an ear for languages, as the part will require speaking lines in Russian (need not be native speaker, but would be an added plus). SEMYON is a 16-year-old boy living in Pripyat (USSR) in 1986. He is in love with Masha. Mischievous, awkward, funny, sweet. SIMON is a 16-year-old boy of Russian descent living in present day Brighton Beach. He is hard, guarded, vulnerable, abrasive. He is also in love with Masha. Video game fanatic. ASTRO is a man in his late 20s-early 30s, living underground in the distant future. He remains physically unaltered in a world that values technology integrated through body modification. He is a survivor and optimist, passionate, youthful. He is in love with Trepple. The actor will be triple cast in these three roles
MASHA / TREPPLE
(Female, non-Caucasian, non-Asian, must pass for older teen to early 30s) Should have an ear for languages, as the part will require speaking lines in Russian (need not be native speaker, but would be an added plus). MASHA is 16-year-old girl living in Pripyat (USSR) in 1986. She is Nina’s older sister, “the beautiful one” of the two. She exudes a maturity that is easily undone by her mother or sister. MASHA is also a 16-year-old goth girl living in present day Brighton Beach. She is Simon’s high school classmate and toys with his affection. She is aloof, always buried in her cell phone, but has her sweet moments. TREPPLE is a woman in her late 20s-early 30s, living underground in the distant future. She remains physically unaltered in a world that values technology integrated through body modification. She is desperately trying to find a place or circumstances where she feels at home, but she is running in place, too afraid to take real action. She craves human connection and yet shies away from opportunities to connect. A dreamer. The actor will be double cast in these two roles. She must possess lovely singing voice and ability to sing in harmony.