HISTORY OF TEST
To ask the question “where did TEST come from” is like asking “what is the source of creativity?” Philosophers have frequently pondered first causes, but without successfully finding them. The original spark is often lost in the mist of time, and the long process of creation becomes clear only after the fact.
A large part of the creative process is filling in the gaps as you go. Through hard work and painstaking attention to detail, you add heft and girth to the skinny start. Creativity is not an outpouring or a flow. It is the careful noting and correcting over time of soft spots and missing parts.
The origin myth of TEST can be traced to an evening in March 2010, when Krista Jaquet, her cousin Tuija Takala, and her cousin’s husband Matti Häyry sat up late one evening to discuss Matti’s new book on the ethics of genetic engineering. Krista, who always looks at the world through the lens of theater, immediately saw characters emerging from the types of genetic optimization that Matti described in his book.
Over the next four years, countless drafts of TEST were written based on the characters created and their dilemmas. These drafts came in various forms, lengths, and names. We drafted and continually rewrote a treatment, an elevator pitch, a short synopsis, a long synopsis, a logline, a scene-by-scene breakdown, a mock review, character boards, and ultimately, a lengthy creative description.
The characters went through some grueling sessions with us as we created their back stories and their future stories. We constantly talked to the characters in our mind and probed into their lives. They talked back to us and started to take over our lives, as characters are known to do.
The three-year back-and-forth of drafting the libretto for TEST underwent an intensive final spurt at the end of 2013. Krista and Jamie reserved the six weeks heading into Christmas that year to nail down the story. Between Christmas and New Year the lyrics began to take shape.
By March of 2014 Jamie and Krista had finished writing the lyrics and then prepared briefs for each song for the TEST composer Jakob Vinje. Over the next six months, Jakob wrote the music. At the first workshop, Jakob taught the songs to the actors. If we were to assign a date to the birth of TEST, the first workshop and the publically performed sing-through would be it: September 24, 2014.
And the work goes on. The second workshop in January 2015 also generated rewriting and rethinking. The honing never ceases. It only gets more detailed and deep-reaching.