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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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
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
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
The Beggars Opera is one of the last examples of the once thriving genre of satirical ballad opera. It is a tale that focuses on the life of the poor. The opera is set in the underworld of London, It specifically focuses on a gang of highwaymen and a gang of Prostitutes who all work for the same man, Peachum.
Peachum is the wealthiest character in the opera. He controls the lives of the poor, when they are making him money they survive, as soon as they become useless he turns them into the law. Each way he makes money.
Previous to the opera’s beginning, Peachum’s daughter Polly has married one of the highwaymen; Macheath. This causes arguments within the family, which leads to Mr and Mrs Peachum plotting to turn in Macheath. This moment is what prompts the rest of the opera. We see Macheath behind bars, where the sailors daughter; Lucy, interacts with him. We discover they were ex- lovers which then creates tension between Polly and Lucy. Lucy has access to the keys to Macheath’s cell, and although she hates him for ruining her and not marrying her, she lets him go. He is caught again and thrown back into jail.
What Is also interesting about this play is that it is introduced by 2 characters; The beggar and The Player. These characters are only seen in the first and penultimate scene. The last time they are seen is after the play has finished, which sees Macheath go to the gallows. They discuss this scene and then revise it to a happier ending. I think that these two characters make the play more interesting, but also easier to watch.
This term our focus is 18th Century theatre. We have been given the choice between two plays from the era to design for. The designs will be for the RSC’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
The two plays we have been given are ‘The Recruiting Officer’ by George Farquhar (1706) and ‘The Beggars Opera’ By John Gay (1728). Both the plays explore ideas of class however both are very different.
The play I have decided to focus on is ‘The Beggars Opera’, this is because I think the play is the more interesting of the two and so has more to play with. In reading the play a key theme of rebellion stands out to me, and so has led me to consider trying to incorporate the 1970s subculture of the Punk movement into my design scheme. I think that this could give the show an edge and also make it more relatable to modern culture.
Hogarth’s Beggars Opera etching
After a long summer we are finally back to continue the course at Trent. This year we have a lost going on including the idea of going on a placement, alongside multiple design projects. This term we have been asked to consider children’s plays and how design can help to engage the children with the content.
The two specific plays that we are looking at are; ‘Red Red Shoes’ by Charles Way, and ‘The Ash Girl’ by Timberlake Wertenbaker. The Idea being that we either create a speculative design scheme for either of the plays, or devise and perform a short version of Red Red shoes to local school children.
Red Red Shoes:
This play is a take on ‘The Red Shoes’ by Hans Christian Anderson. The play tells a story of a young girl named Franvera, who lives to dance. On her birthday she is given a pair of red dancing shoes to aid her dream of dancing for her country. she is unaware of the turmoil that is to unfold around her. Her village is to be ransacked and anyone who was not born in the country was to be forced out. The women, children and elderly marched across the border as the men where killed within. Franvera escapes, but is left by her mother who goes back after her father. She crosses the border with other townsfolk to face more issues.
It is important to note that the play is designed to be unfolding within Franveras mind. It is disjointed and imaginitive.
The story is one of ethnic cleansing and refugees that occur so much in our society, however Way has managed to turn it into a fairy tale; arguably making it more accessible to a younger audience.
The Ash Girl:
This play is based around the famous fairytale; ‘Cinderella. Ash Girl is the main character who lives with her step mother and two step sisters. Unlike the tale of ‘Cinderella’ Ash Girl’s step mother is not a nasty one, she does not make Ash Girl stay home from the ball or spend all her time cleaning; Ash Girl decides to do this for herself.
Within this story The Prince is Indian, and has just moved to this cold foreign land to escape the turmoil of his own. The Princes mother then holds a ball to find Prince Amir a wife, and route him to this new country. The story unfolds much like Cinderella with Ash Girls step family attending, and the fairy paying a visit. Ash Girl attends and dances, leaves her shoe etc. Much like the Grimms tale the Step Mother mutilates her daughters feet to make them fit the shoe. Amir sees through this, finds Ash Girl and the story finishes with them together.
One of the main differences between ‘Ash Girl’ and ‘Cinderella’ is that Ash Girl is more about self discovery. The fairy in the mirror cannot help Ash Girl without her defeating sadness and believing that she is pretty etc. Timberlake has also incorporated the idea of the 7 deadly sins into the play, through the parts of woodland animals, this explores the idea that we all have demons that we need to defeat in order to be happy and grounded.
This project Is testing to say the least. Working in a group is always stressful, and I think this project proves it can be done. This project is a taste of how group dynamics work in this line of work. We have a designer, a director and then work men. It is interesting for all of us to see how that plays out.
We are using a lot of new techniques throughout this project. It is interesting to learn all these new skills and to be forced to think about budget. The fact that we have just finished scenic arts week has really helped us with this project, it is enabling us to achieve high standards of finish.
A large portion of our set is wood grained. Katie decided that this should be old and worn pine. We have to wood grain the staircase and the top of the steel deck in exactly the same way for it to tie together well.
To begin we mixed a very light sandy colour as a base coat. This was then followed with a layer of glaze to lock in the paint. To create the pine colours we used a orange brown and a dark brown mixed together. The dark brown layer made the pine look more authentic and old, whereas the orange colour gave the pine the ‘pine’ colour. For the wood grain detail we used a special tool that you glide along the surface of the paint and it takes away paint where the grain should be.
Another trial we faced with this project was sourcing a red carpet to run up the centre of the staircase. To solve this we called up a local carpet retailer to ask if they had anything they could give us. They luckily were able to supply us with a length of brown carpet. So now the challenge of turning the carpet red came into play. For this we had to do multiple tests. From our tests we worked out that painting the carpet a base of bright red and then spraying into the edges with a dar burgundy was the best way. This two tone effect gave the illusion of a old carpet that has been used well. To further the worn idea we used rasps and files to make the carpet thinner and frayed in the more used areas.