Monday, February 18, 2013

When You're At Home: Audrey's Apartment

The best part about analyzing Audrey's apartment is that, unlike Duke's boat, we have some idea of what it looked like before she got ahold of it. In Love Machine (episode 2x03) we see the loft above the restaurant before anyone lives in it, and it looks as though it's being used as a storage area. At this point Duke has had the Grey Gull for a couple of months, so it's not an unreasonable use of a space he likely hasn't had time or inclination to clear out and do other things with. He already has a place to live, and refurbishing it to be part of the restaurant/bar proper would be a pain in the ass. So, storage it is, until renting it out becomes a possibility. We don't see what prompts him to rent it out, but we do see that while he's not exactly sanguine about the prospect of having two members of law enforcement living above his bar, he's even less excited by the idea that his estranged wife might be living that close to him. Oh Duke. 

Things that are already in the apartment! The piano is, which at the same time shoots down the theory that Audrey moved it in when she discovered her hands knew their way around a piano and raises the interesting question of what the hell was it doing there in the first place. Also, good foreshadowing at the start of the episode. Fridge, sink, several tables and chairs, what might have been a couch, stacked wood by the fireplace, the over the fridge lamp. So at some point this place was either a residence or it was another kitchen possibly with a bar for the Second Chance bistro. I'd go with residence because having a portable bar in front of the kitchen doesn't seem too likely, and otherwise you have the kitchen right out there where anyone can get to it, which is verboten in the world of restauranting. The breakfront cabinet is there, and the stairs. There are a few things that aren't there, anything to do with beds or dressers or someone living in there at the moment, for starters. The newspaper is where the books or whatever those things on shelves are supposed to be to the right of the sink, so presumably that shelf/set of bars hasn't been installed yet. The hanging bead curtain has yet to put in an appearance. But now we have some idea of what this apartment looks like before Audrey shows up.

A couple of episodes later (Roots 2x05) the apartment is more furnished, or at least, what we can see of it, and there are candles everywhere and even sheet music on the piano. The beaded curtains are up and the bed is in, indicating that she had a fair amount of stuff accumulated already in the whatever place she'd been living in; since it's implied that she was living with Julia or at least staying there, possibly she inherited or borrowed some of Julia's things while the other woman was in Africa.

Starting from just inside the double doors, the piano is situated off to the left with the keys and bench facing the door. Right up against the stairs that lead to a loft or storage area of some kind that we never see, but presumaby it's a small storage attic space because the Gull doesn't have that much room left upwards of the aparment. This quadrant (we'll call it downstage right because reasons) is one we see least often, so it's hard to get an accurate picture of what's there, but we'll do our best. Starting with the piano, then going stage right-wards we have the stairs, and some kind of red door. Behind which we've never seen, but again, it's been there since the beginning and probably is no more mysterious than a storage closet or some other such thing. It is painted red not by Audrey, since it's been that way from the beginning, but I can't think of a good Doylist reason to do so either. At least, not one that we've seen yet. There is a continuing theme of doors and going through them into safer or more dangerous spaces throughout the show: the police station is largely a safe place (except when it isn't, i.e. Lockdown 2x09), Audrey's apartment is a safe place until season three when they make a point of the locks constantly changing and it's consistently not safe anymore, not just from the Bolt Gun Killer but also from the golem. Going into the barn hits the snooze button on Haven's Troubles. There's a lot of doors, people coming in them, people going out of them. Possibly the red door means something, or they painted it that bright, eyecatching color just to annoy us. I would not be surprised either way.

Down from that section to the upstage right there's Audrey's bed, which we get a good look at in and of itself several times though not from a wide enough angle to see the surrounding area. We see that her bed has white sheets and pillowcases and a white coverlet of some kind, probably a duvet, embroidered with flowers. We see that behind her is a window with white curtains, which doesn't narrow anything down because the apartment is full of windows with long white curtains. There's at least one lamp behind the wrought iron (or wrought-iron appearing) headboard, several candles on the bedside table at any given time, again with all the candles. Also behind the headboard is a mirror and a couple of wooden boxes, and a couple of bottles that might be the bases for the lamps. And while the bottle-maybe-lamps and the wooden boxes are fairly standard for the rest of the decor, the mirror behind the bed creates the image of reflection, reality warping, and of course mirroring right at the place where you sleep and dream. That's not a coincidence. That's damn fine blocking, most likely, is what it is. There's a superstition we both have a half-memory of knowing (though we can't source it and if anyone knows a source please speak up) that if you put a mirror by or under your pillow, your dreams will be more vivid and sometimes it even gives you control over them. Given Audrey's dreams and memories and how they intersect, that might not necessarily be a good thing. But that's about it for the bed area. We only see it a couple of times in the series thus far.

Center upstage is the breakfront distressed white cabinet and the table which very rarely sees use, most recently when Duke's sitting at it unrolling his knives. As with the rest of the furniture, the breakfront cabinet is old or at least gives the impression of being old, and white in a way that seems best described as quaint. Various things sit on top of the cabinet, sometimes what looks like a silver pitcher, sometimes candles. There's a picture above it but it's difficult to make out what it's of, and it looks as though there's a chair to the left. To the right is the aforementioned table and set of four chairs, all of them painted black but usually covered in a white lace tablecloth and a silver tray with vase and flowers on it, sometimes more depending on what's going on. When Nathan was intended to come over there were candles and wine. 

Over again to what we're calling now upstage left is the kitchen area. The fridge comes first, one of those older white-painted metal jobs with a lamp on top of it that, we may remember, was there before Audrey moved in. The fridge also looks like it has either the freezer on the bottom or like it's a reconstituted icebox that at some point, the freezer drawer was where you put the ice in. Again, in keeping with the rest of the apartment in that everything is either old or appears old. The kitchen is more of a kitchenette, there's a sink and a set of counters and cabinets that are also white painted and wooden, rustic cabinets with a dark brown countertop, but there doesn't seem to be a stove. When Nathan comes over she cooks pancakes on hot plates; presumably whoever lived here before her cooked in the Grey Gull kitchen or brought food up from it. The sink is also white, ceramic with stainless steel? fixtures and a lamp extending from the wall to the right of the sink, possibly with a matching one on the other side. Several ... things, which at some angles look like books and at other angles look like tubes of spices stacked on a small protruding shelf held in by slim stainless steel bars, looks like a matching set of about seven or eight. There's a mirrored cabinet to the far right and around the corner of the wall, looks like it might have been a medicine cabinet at one point, big mirror and cabinet front on top and two small drawers on the bottom. A small single overhead hanging lamp towards the center illuminates the kitchen area, two desk lamps in the corner of the cabinet/wall. In fact, Audrey's main source of illumination seems to be desk lamps. Couple of wine bottles, coffee maker, doesn't look to be much in the way of spices or other things on the counter, very little counter space left.

And then there's the fireplace, which is the center of another large chunk of the action. The fireplace is downstage left, with a brick chimney surrounded by architectural type stone. It's an actual fireplace, not a wood stove set in a mantel, with a simple wooden beam for a mantel over it. There's usually several things on top of the mantel, and most of these are candles. And one black globey thing. The wood is stacked high almost to the ceiling and has been since before Audrey moved in, so presumably someone (most likely Duke or Audrey if Duke's pointed her to where she can find it) replenishes the wood on a regular basis. There's a table between the couch and the fireplace, and the couch is some sort of plain microfiber looking thing but almost always has a throw or three draped over it. And then, of course, another set of tall windows with white curtains and the door, although between the couch and the door there's a chinoiserie looking cabinet to the left of the door as you go out.

Let's go back and look at the words I've used a lot in this summary: white, wood, candles, rustic, old, and occasionally flowers or beads. There's a lot of wood in the place, not just the walls and floor as one might expect of the Grey Gull but the furniture, cabinets, everything that in a more modern home might be composite board or at least more disguised wood but here is sanded and distressed to appear antique. Everything is also white, and it looks like everything that will stand still holds a candle or three. There's a long tradition of people dressed in white holding candles to symbolize things, mostly in Western traditions does it mean anything good, but even so. White plus fire generally equals Spiritually Significant.

Because we get that glimpse at what it looked like when Duke was using it for storage, we know that Audrey brings beads and flowers and more white and some lace to the apartment. All kinds of throws that might conceivably be lent from other people but also might be chosen by her from second-hand shops, it's hard to tell. She keeps flowers in a vase. We even know that someone remembers Lucy by the flowers she favored, so it's not likely a coincidence. She puts the windchimes up at least partly at Audrey II's suggestion, but it seems like she might have done that anyway and the only disagreement was as to where they would go. And in any case, they're still there even through the third season. Perhaps most tellingly, she doesn't seem to develop a set of personal tastes until she gets the apartment above the Grey Gull. Keep in mind, now, that the apartment where Howard pulls her out of at the beginning of the series is bare and barely lived in, with only a few stacks of books as personal items. Although she has no more sense of identity than she did then and in some ways even less, her settling in at the Grey Gull shows more of her personality than Howard gives her with the staging in the apartment, signifying that these are her choices, this is who she wants to be.

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