A production of fantastical whimsy is about to descend on The Goat Farm in the form of The Navigator. Based on the adventure novel by Eoin McNamee, Director Michael Haverty's adaptation promises to utilize the art center's many metamorphic faculties to explore friendship, courage, time and the attendees themselves. This 7 Stages' production kicks off with preview performances September 26th, so BANG! grabbed Haverty for this week's Q&A.
BANG! The Goat Farm is transformative by nature because the artists that have utilized the space understand the art center’s potential for creative flexibility. What about The Goat Farm drew you towards the decision to place it as the apparatus for The Navigator?
Michael Haverty The world of the Navigator is flowing backwards through time. The protagonist's world is literally crumbling around him. The vintage aesthetic of the GF was perfect for this story. The fact that we can travel between multiple locations is also key, as I wanted an active, exploratory experience.
Finally The Goat Farm is simply magical. You would never guess you were in the middle of midtown Atlanta, and so just like reading, the space allows your imagination to flourish and dreams to take flight.
BANG! The harsh industrialism of The Goat Farm could pose as an interesting aesthetic to the fantastical depths of The Navigator. How do you plan on mixing those two components?
Michael Haverty Our composer, Klimchak, has incorporated the GF building structures as percussive instruments. The acoustics of the spaces have become integral to the atmosphere created by our voices and instruments.
BANG! The concept of audience participation highlights the focus on friendship and courage in The Navigator. Could you elaborate on that?
Michael Haverty The audience will be in charge of leading attacks on the Harsh, healing wounded soldiers, and finding important clues to propel the plot. The audience is split up into multiple groups to take charge of different aspects of battles and journeys. Through the active nature of the play, we intend to form teams from our disparate audience members, sharing in the action that propels the plot forward.
BANG! What was your process in adapting this piece?
Michael Haverty A very long process of reading and re-reading, fantasizing creature designs, integrating puppets and shadow play, animation and music.
BANG! Did you choose to take on this venture more for the content or the challenge?
Michael Haverty Both. Although if the story had not gripped my heart I wouldn't have been as interested. It's the combination of dynamic, fantastical settings and characters with the beating heart of a young boy struggling to take on the mantle of leadership.
BANG! What kind of preparation do you require for a production with these unique nuances?
Michael Haverty Lots of stretching! Lots of tech rehearsal to get the projectors working!
BANG! What would you like The Navigator to contribute to it’s audience?
Michael Haverty Exercise, imagination, and fun!
(photo courtesy of StunGun Photography and 7stages)