In 2013 we began working together to build a show from scratch with nothing more than two very different impulses, as well as an insistent image of a woman on a tiny boat in a vast ocean, and a mission to fuse them together. We dove right in with research, focusing on real-life twin stories and vaudeville sister acts. We connected most with the story of the Chaplin Sisters. The conflicts in their lives mirrored how we imagined our twins interacting. They were insular, isolated, and very domestic. As we built our narrative over time, we went back to them for inspiration often. We studied old vaudeville acts like the Dolly Sisters, TV variety shows starring Carol Burnett, Judy Garland and others.
For text and help with developing the complete show, we stayed within the creative confines of our PEP collective, and turned to Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell and Martha Mendenhall. We also commissioned Jim Waive for a song. Jennifer and Jim both agreed to write in response to assignments and themes from us, and let us do what we want with whatever they made. Martha helped us work to combine the texts from Jennifer with the physical scores of action we were separately creating. For months, as we worked, sometimes alone, sometimes with Martha’s guidance, we kept refining our choices to develop the narrative of the play. The result is The Convolution of Pip and Twig.
We have continued to develop the play through many iterations with the help of Martha and many other collaborators, and have performed it in Charlottesville and Richmond, VA and at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We went back into the rehearsal room to develop the play further with redesigned set and lights for a hometown run in September 2017. We are so grateful for all who have helped us make Pip and Twig come to life.