THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT
music: Michael Nyman
text: Christopher Rawlence
production concept and design: GLMMR
stage direction: David Adam Moore & Vita Tzykun
scenic, costume, and projection design: David Adam Moore & Vita Tzykun
lighting design: Maxwell Bowman
projection engineering: Maxwell Bowman
neuroscience advisor: Dr. Randall Hamilton
neuroscience advisor: Dr. Bruce Hughes
conductor: Matthew Kraemer
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Dr. P: Tony Dillon
Mrs. P: Emily Ann Pulley
Dr. S: Brian Joyce
produced by: Indianapolis Opera
The case of Dr. P. is one that reminds us of the mystery and fragility of human experience. Everything that is most dear to us - our personalities, values, relationships, emotional life, sensory perception - is dependent upon a delicately tuned web of synapses and neurons in our brains that can be instantly altered by any number of traumas or diseases. When the brain loses its ability to put an object or experience into context, many questions are raised about what exactly it means to be human.
In bringing this story to life, we (like Dr. S., whose character is based on the renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks) wanted to understand what it's like to see the world through Dr. P's eyes, or rather, through his brain. We began the process by consulting with a team of neurologists who enthusiastically shared their time and expertise with us, offering guidance at every stage of the production process, from the way the sets are designed, to the way Dr. P. negotiates his path through a room. This was a perfect match for GLMMR's wholistic creative approach - allowing the most central ideas of the piece to find their voice through every element of the production.
Another aspect we wanted to explore is Mrs. P's role as a caregiver to her husband, Dr. P. She is perhaps the most relatable character in the opera, and serves as a conduit for the emotional distress resulting from Dr. P's disorder. Within the scope of this story, she experiences a journey from denial to realization, acceptance, and ultimately gratitude for every single moment that she has remaining with Dr. P.