Cass/Andra is the hauntingly current re-imagining of the Trojan War as seen through the fractured eyes of one woman. Cassandra is a prophetess blessed with knowing the future, but her rejection of her traditional place in the world leaves her impotent and cursed. In Heretic’s production Cassandra is psychologically fragmented by her visions and possessed by Agamemnon, Ajax and Clytemnestra, her enemies. Now at her foreseen death’s door she stands at the crossroads between knowing and doing, surviving and dying. As she ritualistically relives her journey to provoke Clytemnestra into action, she realizes the inevitable fate of mankind, and her inevitable destiny as long as fear, war and religious indoctrination are woven together. Cass/Andra brings together award winning artists from Chicago, New York, and LA in collaboration with innovative sound, video and dance and pushes the boundaries of solo-performance.
The fragmented and disembodied character of Cassandra is represented in the production design itself. Cassandra’s voice comes from within her, is removed from her, her body is in her control and then possessed by the thoughts of another, her image is corporeally present, and then captured on a screen. Inspired by the movement techniques of Bhuto, Suzuki, and Pina Bausch--Kane and Hendrickson explore the physical transformations of a woman possessed. Through collaboration with Tony Award winning sound designer, Leon Rothenberg, Kane’s voice is recorded and sometimes warped to possess her mind, allow her to “speak to” the other characters, and hear echoes of times past. Renowned artist Philip Livingston’s set design, assisted by the haunting lights of Michael Banks, places her in a symbolic world on which she stands at a crossroads bridging a waterway. From within the set hidden compartments, and magical transformations can occur as Kane physicalizes the story and climbs on steps, up towers or ropes, or down into the river. Internationally acclaimed Costume Designer Irina Kruzhilina and Jeff Nominated Beth Laske-Miller have created a transformative costume design that will morph throughout Cassandra’s journey, and allow Kane to slip into the skin of Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, and Ajax as they invade her story. On the backdrop Chicago video artist Paul Deziel, creates both environmental textures and subtextual images that Kane can interact with, dance alongside of, and multiply within.
In this production of Cass/Andra we identify with those who speak out against violence and war. We identify with women who seek positions of power. We identify with truth-telling women, and girls, who are dismissed as loud, crazy and inconvenient.
We are planning scheduled talkbacks to engage our audiences with this challenging and thought-provoking project. Specifically we are planning to team up with organizations to bring young women in for playwriting workshops to support them in creating art that expresses their own unique voices. Above all, we want to use this project to raise questions about what happens to us as a community when we refuse to listen to-or marginalize voices--that are speaking out against violence and what happens to those voices of protest when no matter what they do they are censored.
One woman, one voice speaking out can make a difference and change the world.
Writer/performer Lyndsay Kane began working on this project in 2001 as part of a Graduate Course when 9-11 happened. She began to recognize an eerie similarity to the events, and more particularly the religious rhetoric unfolding in the world, with those in Cassandra’s story. Kane realized the myth still had potent lessons to teach. Kane felt compelled to give a voice to the protestors of war and submitted the production to the LA Edge Fest. Unfortunately life and health events stepped in and brought the production to a halt. Shortly after she and her fiance moved back home to the Midwest, where one of her first auditions in Chicago was for Kate Hendrickson (director of Cass/Andra). After working together, Kane recognized Hendrickson’s talent for directing and cultivating new work. Coupled with a deep friendship and artistic like-mindedness, Kane decided she had found the perfect director to help see Cass/Andra to fruition. Together they enlisted the brilliant and dedicated minds of Deirdre Connelly and Taylor Bibat to help produce the show. These four women, who make up Heretic Productions, brought together members of the original design team along with some of the greatest designers Chicago has to offer. Together the team is collaborating to push the boundaries of solo- performance.
Cass/Andra Contact Information
Lyndsay Kane – Writer/Performer
Kate Hendrickson – Director
Deirdre Connelly – Producer
Cell: 773 495 3450