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Ghosts, Memories & Masturbation in Vieux Carré



Ghosts, Memories & Masturbation in Vieux Carré


Will Detlefsen

Master of Fine Arts in Theatre and Dance (Directing) University of California, San Diego, 2017 Professor Gabor Tompa, Chair

Vieux Carré is about eight tragically lonely outsiders, vagrants and artists who find solace and support in one another’s company. The play follows the journey of a young, gay writer searching for love and artistic inspiration in the people and environment around him. He is an observer, a seeker, a vampire. The Writer finds himself in the Vieux Carré of New Orleans and rents a room in a dilapidated boarding house filled with beautiful dying souls. It is there that he discovers himself as an artist and the power of empathy. At its core, Vieux Carré is a coming-of-


age / coming-out story, which is why the research for this production truly began with my own personal coming-of-age / coming-out story.

My production mentor and directing professor, Gabor Tompa, challenges his students to articulate a clear and deeply personal concept. Concept, as I have come to understand it, is about how my personal worldview is expressed through the themes, designs and situations of a specific production. My access into Vieux Carré was through the Writer, but in order to find the concept and the scenic language, I needed to first discover the analogy between his experience and my own. This is how the concept for my thesis production was born: What the Vieux Carré was for Tennessee Williams, the theatre was for me.

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