Innsmouth is an intensive workshop where a group of students from the Danish arts school Kulturentreprenør spend two weeks at the Èpica Foundation to work on The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft.
The objective is to make a final performance inspired by the story, more with the intention of basing it on the ideas and sensations present in the text than to make a literal adaptation. Elements such as the sensation of constant danger, the different versions of the same story, rituals with sacrifice and creatures from under the sea will serve as a basis from which to develop scenes. Given that the duration of the workshop is reduced, the students received and read the story in advance, thus facilitating the whole group to share an imaginary on which to base their performance from the first brainstormings.
The first week must establish a solid foundation in terms of group cohesion, ideas and their implementation. Given that the students must present their performance within a few days, it is essential for the team to lose its inhibitions and begin to strengthen the bonds between its members. In addition, from the second day they are divided into working groups, given a fragment of the story and asked to develop ideas to take it into action. The aforementioned fragments are:
1. Journey of the protagonist until arriving at Innsmouth.
2. Discovery of the town.
3. Strange, disturbing, mysterious elements.
4. Zadok Allen, town drunk, the narrator’s informant.
5. Stories about sacrifices and rituals.
Once the first objectives are set, the students start working; they must think of a way to turn their ideas into feasible acts so that the show begins to build in its entirety. Scenes involving shadow beings, humans transforming into fish and tricks with mirrors that distort the image of the audience will be the first foundations of the performance.
Throughout the second week, Innsmouth’s students invest all their efforts in the final preparations of their performance. In order to finish polishing its structure, the last brainstormings are done during the first days: some characters such as the town drunk, who had to to guide the audience through the different spaces, are dismissed while others like the shadow-beings and the priestess in charge of the sacrifices get more protagonism and replace his role. Some scenes, such as the metamorphosis, go from being a key point of the synopsis to an idea present throughout the show: transformations, symbolic and literal, will be a recurring theme (projections where a fish is thrown into the sea and turned into a human being, offerings of dead fish in exchange for human lives, those same human lives hung like fish to be sacrificed …). Once the script of the show is clear, the rest of the days are used for technical passes and general rehearsals. Opening night is very close.