A common thread is that all protagonists wrestled with shame. You wonder how it’s possible that someone is interested in exhibiting their privacy like Ann did. Her story stands in stark contrast, for example, to today’s reality shows. All three narratives touch upon the edges of privacy.
In terms of similarities: in all three stories, there are one or two protagonists. Elisabeth communicates with her aunt who tells her via postcards that she is crazy and has to face life. Eventually one wonders who the crazy one is. It’s an interaction between two people, like with Henry and Martha too. Martha took off her clothes before Henry’s camera. She chose to do it but could have said no. Queen Ann tells a different story: Ann is self-destructive and in conflict with the outside world, she decided to cut away her fat belly.
In case information lacks I add to it, so to answer questions, like ‘where does he live and what is he like?’ Each time I write a script and gradually shape characters from notes, memos and sketches. Failing items are drawn from other sources, because I consider the material valuable for making up a partly fictional though credible character. This doesn’t apply to my other books. He was there (2012), for example, is a photobook for which I took pictures myself. At other times I collect pictures online. But Taking Off starts from the dramatic principle, that in creating a full-grown character everything has to match.
I designated it a ‘trilogy’ because my approach relates to theater insofar I work with characters like Elisabeth or Ann, or Henry and Martha for the new book, based on archival materials I received. Like a performer creates an environment, you build credibility by responding to questions as: who am I, where do I come from, why am I here, where do I go & what do I want? Being able to answer these one makes an analysis of how characters develop and mature.