I've spent some odd hours this weekend online hunting for images and footage of a number of historical events from the past sixty or so years. We've talked about using video projection as an element in the scene change transitions for Absence
since each scene jumps forward in time anywhere from two years to a decade or so. The idea of building the events of the timeline into those transitions seems appealing. It's a rich, albeit obvious, opportunity for the sound design -- period music, audio from newscasts, etc. The visual element, though, is a bit more of a challenge. I'm designing the lighting for the show, and because I'm a sucker for a challenge and have no capacity for protecting myself from overwork, I'm exploring possibilities for video.
So I've been poking about online in a hunt for images of things like VE Day, the war in Vietnam, the fall of the Berlin Wall and other less focussed things, like the Cold War (any suggestions for images that evoke the Cold War are most welcome). The last scene in the show takes place in 1993, and the script specifically mentions "CNN news about the first World Trade Center bombing." [sic] If you're lazy about your search parameters, and even if you aren't, a lot of the hits are going to refer to the September 11th attacks in 2001.
There's a lot on the web about the events of that day. I looked at some of the footage of the second plane -- it's eerily well documented -- and found it a very incisive reminder of the feelings on that day. I'm glad the timeline in Absence doesn't extend into the 21st century. I'm uncomfortable enough with the idea of editing elements of that footage, and even more uncomfortable with the thought of how inured to it I might become through the particular sort of familiarity created in the process of editing.