Moonie Mass Wedding

A wealth of images was drawn from Don DeLillo’s prescient 1991 novel Mao II for director Jody McAuliffe’s theatrical adaptation at Duke University in 2002. Much like the rich soundscape created by composer Scott Lindroth to thread in and out of the play’s ninety minutes, a continuously playing triptych of digital video streams was created to project the image-heavy consciousness of the novel’s protagonist, writer Bill Gray. Employing a combination of archival video and still images, original stills and footage, and dramatizations directed by McAuliffe, the resulting visual streams, like the novel itself, merged reality and imagining.

Moonie Mass Wedding was the brief prologue to the production that mirrored the novel’s prologue, in which DeLillo brilliantly evokes a mass wedding for 13,000 performed by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon in Yankee Stadium. “He wears a white silk robe and a high crown figured with stylized irises. They know him at molecular level. He lives in them like chains of matter that determine who they are.”

Mao II, April 17-21, 2002 Sheafer Theater, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Adaptation: Jody McAuliffe
Directors: Jody McAuliffe & Derek Goldman
Video Design & Editing: William Noland
Soundscape: Scott Lindroth
Dramaturg: Frank Lentricchia
Co-investigators: miriam cooke and Rob Sikorski
Cast included Frederick Neumann and Honor Fergusson of Mabou Mines, and Clay Taliaferro and Chris Morris of Duke University