For detailed descriptions of the techniques in green, see METHOD

Many Watchface performances developed in their own time, beginning with the gathering
and discussion of materials and then creating the multi-layered movement and text through
the often laborious established techniques. The fact that the date of the Bloody Mary
performance had already been determined before the creative process began made for a
specific and regimented rehearsal schedule.

Since the performance was to alternate between theatrical scenes and Watchface-style
sections, a large part of the preparation was the writing of the script by Chazz Dean prior to
the rehearsals for the former. Chazz had partially conceived of the plot and characters
already but began to further develop and outline the show when an engagement at Dance
Theater Workshop was confirmed. As do most playwrights, Chazz initially wrote alone, with
the scenes then evolving as the rehearsal period continued. This aspect of the process was
not subject to the time-consuming methods of Watchface text development, like Jamming.
Chazz requested that each performer create a back story for their character, a standard
exercise for an actor in developing a role, to round out the portrayal and present what lies
behind the written lines. character study for Helen Quaye

The movement sections presented the major challenge. The themes for these segments
were determined by Chazz, as dictated by the scripted scenes preceding them. But the
ideas that would inform the eventual choreography needed to be developed and debated,
and the movements created and taught, abstracted and retaught. All this raw material then
needed to be organized into set sequences. There were six such sections and each
included all five cast members. A good portion of the actions were done in unison, which
required detailed and precise rehearsals. Chazz also wrote any text that was part of these
sections. Finding the correct tone of eerie mystery after the broad presentation of the table
scenes was not easy. Two sections were written and fully staged only to be discarded and
replaced with new scripts.

The first movement section was the middle portion of the prologue, called “Funeral Dance.”
The cast performed to the melancholy and earthy Tracy Nelson recording of her song “Down
So Low.” The lyrics, by Nelson, bemoaned a lost love, but could easily be interpreted to refer
to a lost life:

When you went away
I cried for so long
I wanted you to stay
But that was all wrong
The pain you left behind
Has become, it has become part of me
And it’s burned out a hole
Where my love used to be

Emblems for Lover, Somnambulist, Falling, Arranging, and Rage became the choreography.
Kim X Knowlton remembers particularly enjoying rehearsing and performing this dance
because of her strong emotional connection to the music. The last part of the prologue was
a poem written by Chazz, “Water,” questioning existence after death. The movement that
accompanied it came from five different Emblems for Soul, with four of the five cast
members contributing unique versions (Kurt Fulton is referred to in the supporting materials
by his nickname, City). “Water” script with notations

Another complex section stressing unison of movement followed the third table scene. The
story preceding this section was a tale of religious visions conjured by a young girl. To a
haunting recording of “White Christmas” the group performed a long series of Emblems built
on ideas such as Disembodied, Vision, Bleeding, Pain, and Sacred Heart, as well as religious
figures like Mary, Jesus, and Saint Sebastian. Angels chart Each actor also staged a stigmata
by crushing blood capsules into the palms of their hands.

After the table scene that dealt with witchcraft, the cast chanted spells spell from Witches while performing Emblem inspired by words including Secret, Fear, and Malice before dissolving
into a bad drug trip to throbbing acid rock and a strobe light, again using the Emblems
technique for related concepts like Coming On, Orgy, and Overdose.

With the constrained time for rehearsals, the Emblem was the main building block for the
choreography. Since each was concise and created by only one person, it made for an
economical yet illustrative method for creating movement. For the final sequence, Demon,
Bodies in Space was also used for the lengthier phrases performed by the exorcist/priest.

Chazz directed the scripted table scenes as traditional theater. Table Scene #1 script However
each of the scenes also included illusions of paranormal activity. Through various stage
tricks, at least one example of supernatural phenomena appeared in each amid the stories
told of ghouls and spirits. In the first scene, an apparition appeared to be moving about
under the table as a cast member manipulated the draped tablecloth with a long stick. In
the final scene, Kurt as Reverend Brody, who had been pouring himself drinks through each
previous scene, switched his bottle of whiskey for a hidden identical one, and then filled his
glass to overflowing with fine white sand. During the final black out before the curtain call,
Kim and Maggie Siena smeared fake blood on their faces and the white collar of Kim’s
costume, making their bows surprisingly gruesome. Perfecting the recipe was memorable
for Maggie, who recalled the experimental batches of blood and their varying degrees
of edibility.