I really wanted to focus my set design on the development of the new world, the old world and the transitional period between these worlds as the main elements of the set. I focused on bright colours and sharp triangles for the old world; my intention was to create a sick, twisted and corrupted space. I wanted to do this through a more unconventional set, by making the design more like an art installation. Inspiration for this came from looking at the artists; Phyllida Barlow and Michael Beutler. I really liked looking at the ways in which these artists incorporated their structures with the architecture of the environments they were placed in. I also was particularly taken by an installation by Michael that involved the construction of a flimsy florescent yellow structure that was placed into a stark concrete space. This instantly made me think of the world that I was aspiring toward for my new world.
(source: pinterest. Image by Micheal Beutler)
One of the things I found really difficult about this project was the fact that the timings for the set movements are dictated by the Falsetto, and cannot be changed. One of the main mistakes that I made was to create such a large scale set for the new world, looking back at the Falsetto now I have realized that there is not a lot of time to get this up, and that not a lot of action happens at this position. I do, however, stick to the fact that I think this is a very important area in the story to create. I think this is why I decided to create the world large scale anyway; To show that it is just as important, if not more important than the old world. After all God is wanting to create a better world for Noye and his family, so surely it needs to be impressive.
I spent a while writing out where I’d want all of my scene changes to occur, and I came to the conclusion that having the scene changes as part of the action of the opera could be really interesting. An example of this would be the moment when the material boat engulfs the audience; my idea of this is to get all of the animals to maneuver the fabric as a sort of dance/ physical theatre piece. The inspiration for this aspect of my design came from watching the recent production of Pinocchio at the Nottingham Playhouse that I went to see. In this production all of the set pieces were hung from the rigging, every time a piece was needed the cast members slowly lowered them from the air and moved them into place to create different spaces. I thought that this worked really well and that it was a really interesting piece of theatre to watch.
My costume designs also stemmed from looking at Futurism. The main inspiration for the designs came from the Italian futurism film; Thaïs. This film is a black and white film, and although this is not a design decision, I loved the colorless shapes. The designs were based on creating optical illusions in the set. The artist Enrico Prampolini, who also inspired a lot of my set design developments, designed the set of Thaïs. I wanted the costumes to provide ease of movement for the cast, especially for the animals who I intend to be not just singing but doing physical theatre and dance as well.
(Source: Wikipedia. Image by Enrico Prampolini : Thaïs)
I have the intention of having a mixture of adults and children making up the groups of animals. The reason behind this is because I have the vision of the animals creating levels to aid the audience to see the action when the entire cast and congregation are within the material Ark. Thaïs was not the only aesthetic inspiration behind the costume designs for the Animals, I also thought back to the anatomical horse that we created as part of the Woyzeck project. I loved the way that worked and how you could see the person behind the mask. I thought that this would create a really interesting element of the opera.
Noyes Fludde is a production based on the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark. The main themes that I picked up on through reading the text and listening to the falsetto of the opera was this theme of creating a new world, and starting fresh. This led me to think about the art movement of Futurism as they share similar ideals. When beginning my research into Futurism I came across an article on the Guggenheim’s website, where I found the quote; ‘They sought to revitalize what they determined to be a static, decaying culture and an impotent nation that looked to the past for its identity.’ I think that this quote links so well to the thoughts of God when he decides he wants to create a new uncorrupted world.
(Source: Guggenheim. Image by Fortunato Depero)
One of the most interesting aspects of this project for me was the fact that we were designing for the Arkwright Courtyard. This really inspired me because I love the idea of designing for spaces other than traditional theatre spaces. The monochrome nature of the gothic architecture of the courtyard is another reason why I thought that Futurism as a concept would work really well. I think that the bright colours and sharp shapes of the movement would contrast really well with the traditional nature of the architecture.
(Newton/ Arkwright Courtyard, NTU, original photo)
The theme that I worked on most through this project was the adultery scene and the construction of the lips. Initially we had this idea of a massive lip puppet which is strapped onto the front of an actor. The … Continue reading →
Our end game of this project is to create a short performance for other members of the course to watch. The performance is based on the German Opera ‘Woyzeck’. We have decided to combine the ideas of the whole year … Continue reading →
The next stage of the project was to look into ways in which we could create a processional performance of the opera ‘Woyzeck’. To do this we were asked to think back to all of the work we had done … Continue reading →
An important thing that this project has been teaching me is that the initial reaction I have to a performance can also be really important. After reading the opera for the first time we then split off into groups to … Continue reading →
LEM is a form of object theatre that involves the movement of architectural structures, rather than bodies. The idea is to create abstract structures that can be manipulated by people to create a performance and a sense of story. The focus is on the idea of depicting certain emotions through which a narrative is formed.
Our first session within this project was spent creating architectural structures out of bamboo, paper and tape that responded to a certain one of the 7 deadly sins. Our group chose to attempt pride, and for this we created a tall pointy structure that was almost an extension of a person. To this structure, we attached another element based on the opening of a peacocks tail. The structure itself was able to tell the story of pride through the movement of the person operating it as well as the structure itself.
Object theatre is an interesting concept that we have been introduced to this project. The concept is to create a narrative out of objects rather than people. In this project we will be largely experimenting with different materials and ideas of carnival and opera. The brief is to create a short performance piece that includes all that we have learnt and is based on the story of ‘Woyzeck’.
‘Woyzeck’ is a german opera that tells the story of a man, Woyzeck, that slowly turns mad. He is faced with adultery, experimentation, betrayal which ultimately leads him to murder his wife and then to commit suicide himself. It is an interesting story filled with a lot of interesting imagery.
The first week of the 18th Century Project was spent making our very own, historically accurate corset. This process was not only long, but very difficult. We had a week to complete this task, which was definitely not long enough. … Continue reading →