Hurricane Diane

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Hurricane Diane was performed at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland in 2022. The play, by Madeleine George, imagines the return of Dionysus as a butch lesbian landscaper named Diane. It's 11:45 pm on humanity's clock and Diane comes to save the planet from destruction at our hands. She sets out to form a cult of four Bacchae to begin the planetary healing and selects Monmouth County, New Jersey as her starting point. Carol, Beth, Pam, and Renee live on the same cul-de-sac and become Diane's targets. Hilarity ensues as she attempts to seduce each other them, some more easily than others. Only Carol resists and the world is destroyed in the process. As artistic director Nathan Motta says, "The play is funny until it's not." Everyone in the audience is left to contemplate their own complicity in climate change.

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Housewife Carol shows Diane clippings of her ideal garden.

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Diane reveals herself as god to Pam.

My concept stemmed from one big question: who is Diane? Since she is the Greek demigod Dionysus, I began with a Greek-inspired palette, utilizing lutes, drums, harp, and vocals. From there, I examined who Diane is now. She is a butch lesbian, so I gravitated towards iconic lesbian artists such as K.D. Lang, Brandi Carlile, and Melissa Etheridge. These artists each challenge notions of femininity and gender, just like Diane. The common thread for each of these artists was the acoustic guitar. I added the guitar, percussion, and bass to the Greek palette and created a unique style of music. 

 

Music functioned as both transitions and underscoring for when Diane directly addressed the audience. These transitions were tailored for the women in the scene before, such as adding mandolin for the transition out of a scene where Pam described wanting and Italian garden. As Diane lost control, more distortion was added to the pieces. Near the end of the show, the women are called by Diane and dance while in a trance. The music reflected the Greek side of Diane, as she had "gone full Greek."

 

When Carol defies Diane one last time, Diane explodes out of Carol's kitchen and the world is destroyed. Combined with a slow-brewing hurricane that comes to full fruition, the piece is violent and dangerous. This is the final moment for humanity and my goal was to create fear and uncertainty in the audience.

Director: Shannon Sindelar

Scenic Designer: Jill Davis

Costume Designer: Inda Blatch-Geib

Lighting Designer: Kevin Duchon

Sound Designer: Megan Culley

Stage Manager: Kyra Button

 

Reviews

"Megan Culley's sound design is astounding. It creates music and sound that carry us through the emotional segments of the performance." -Roy Berko, BWW

"It's a slam bang conclusion, aided by some sweets effects from Jill Davis (scenic), Kevin Duchon (lights), and Megan "Deets" Culley (sound.)" -Christine Howey, Cleveland Scene

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