(actual staged recreation)
The piece was, in concept, based on creating an aural landscape that would represent a stylized alien abduction. In other words, we made a lot of noises and hoped it would sound like aliens coming down to kidnap the innocent. The full list of instruments is as follows (in order of scope and magnitude):
1) one microphone and speaker to amplify the portable speaker
2) one Goal Zero portable speaker with which I pressed the headphone jack to my finger to produce a high pitched tone
3) one ocarina (detuned)
4) one dulcimer (detuned)
5) one exhaust pipe
6) one jar of pins
7) one bucket
8) one water bottle
9) two performers and one unsuspecting audience member
10) the invisible alien overlords must be present and watching (ensure any audience member wearing a tinfoil hat removes it for the duration)
The performance began with feedback from the portable speaker while Haley played the ocarina upside down, producing a flat whistling tone like the solar winds. After an indeterminate amount of time Haley then shook the exhaust pipe, signifying entrance into the atmosphere, and I scraped the coins across the table. Because the microphone picking up the portable speaker sounds was on the table, it picked up the sound of the coins scraping the table and produced a reverberating feedback effect much like a low pitched flying saucer. This only happened in rehearsal, however, which was a tad disappointing.
Anyway, once Haley stopped shaking the exhaust pipe she grabbed the ocarina like a space gun and walked around the room shaking the jar of pins in a rhythmic fashion. I stood by and slid a quarter over the strings of the dulcimer, making a sound like idle alien gear. Haley then placed the bucket on the chosen audience member's head and brought her up to the main console (the table everything was set up on). She was then handed the ocarina and, to my surprise, began to play it. In retrospect it seems obvious but I distinctly remember being surprised.
Haley then shook the pipes, I scratched around the coins and then, after a while, I started the portable speaker sound again. The piece then ended and the abducted Intermedia student was never heard from again. I hear she returned to Earth somewhere in Guatemala and couldn't remember her name for a couple days but the rumors are hard to verify.
I really like how this piece turned out. I do, however, agree with my teacher's assessment that the actual performance was more interesting than the story. Alien abduction isn't exactly a subject with new ground to break. I like my classmates' interpretation of it being a ritualistic sacrifice and if I do something similar to this in the future I'll keep it in mind. No one will die or get transported through space and/ or time, I promise. Just a simple, clean bloodless sacrifice to the invisible alien overlords who, surely, watch over our every move.
No one brought their tinfoil hats to the performance, by the way, which made me very happy. I wouldn't have wanted to deal with making someone take theirs off.
Coming up next time: will I take the challenge and dive into the COLD?