Love and Money

Written by Dennis Kelly

Produced by Hatch Theatre Co.

Project Arts Centre, Space Upstairs. 17th April – 9th of May 2009

Directed by Annabelle Comyn. Set, Paul O’Mahony; Lighting, Sarah Jane Shiels; Costumes, Catherine Fay; Music & Sound, Philip Stewart; Video Design, Jack Phelan. Cast: Barry Ward, Phil Kingston, Ali White, Kate Nic Chonaonaigh, Will Irvine, Kate Brennan

David conducts an office romance by e-mail. He has love at his fingertips. But a shocking admission unravels his relationship piece by chilling piece.

Jess loves David. She believes happiness can be bought.
David loves Jess. He must work to pay off her debt.
Love and money is killing them.

Dennis Kelly’s Love and Money offers a cautionary tale of consumerism gone mad, putting spiralling debt and its effect on love under the microscope. Funny but heart wrenching, this ingenious drama dares us to enter a dislocated world of bad debts and even worse desires.

For this Hatch production, I designed a video sequence that helped set the tone and feel of a dialog through email that makes up the first scene of the text. The idea was that David (Barry Ward) would physically type a small amount of what he was writing to Sandrine, the video design would then be abstracted further to give an impression of typed text without each and every word coming up on screen, which would have been distracting.

An interesting part of this design was the fact that the actor was actually in control of the typed text from his keyboard on stage! Well, not entirely. I wanted it to be believable – so that when Barry hit a key, a letter would appear. This is what happened – however, all the text was stylised, pre-rendered text played back letter by letter from a custom max/jitter patch. To take the pressure off Barry having to hit the correct key every time, he could press any key and the next character in the sentence would come up.  At certain points he had to press return to go to a new line. This was to prevent himself from typing too far ahead of what he said aloud.

One of Davids lines was delivered by typed text only – it gave it a distinct and errie impact. The typed text effect was done by having a letter per frame in one movie file, and an unblinking cursor in another movie file. The cursor was overlaid in real-time (using alpha channel) and blinked with jitter. I used TextAnarachy by digital Anarachy for After Effects to reveal the text letter by letter, frame by frame.

I extended the on-stage PS/2 keyboard cable by 20m using good ol CATVe cable and soldered a PS/2 jack on the end. It worked fine over that distance.

Review of Love and Money in the Irish Times (I get a mention!!)