RED RED SHOES | INITIAL STORY BOARD

My design for the touring production of Red Red Shoes is to be set on a traverse stage. I intend to focus the design around the concept of being inside ‘the head of a traumatised child’. I think that this is a significant theme within the play, one that could create something really interesting. For example, as the play is set inside a young child’s mind, it allows the design to be slightly more fantastical (a little bit off). As well as focusing on the mind of a child, I will also look at incorporating a medical feel into the design. This is due to the fact the story continuously flips back to sitting in hospital interacting with a doctor about what has happened to her.

For the opening scene I wanted it to feel relatively normal. The idea that you are within a normal child’s bedroom, but also leave questions there too. One of the key ideas within this scene is that I would like the costumes for the characters in the play to come from Franveras room; as if they were coming from her imagination. An example of this would be the red scarf hanging on her bed becoming Red Beard’s beard. As the actors put on their costume, they strip the bedroom a little barer, until it eventually becomes a stark medical space.

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The next space that I have considered is the Drs office. Here the scene would be very stark, very medical. A singular hospital bed in centre stage with lit up medical screens at either end. The doctor as a character, I would like to appear as a shadow puppet; as someone who is excluded from her imagination. Also within this space a small medical table is brought on with a laptop.

I intend to attempt to solder some of these elements together when making my model box. I see them as all being plain silver and metal.

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When Franvera is forced to leave the town by the soldiers, she enters the forest. To create the forest I want something more ambiguous than literally bringing on trees. So for this scene I have thought about using the bunting to give the illusion of a forest. I want the characters to be able to weave through the bunting as if it were hanging branches. A possible change that I would make to this scene is to make the bunting more autumnal colours, rather than bright red.

To aid the image of a forest I am also contemplating adding different things to put on the floor. These would be to create noises, for example crackles and snaps. This would help the children to imagine the forest even more.

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Another strong image in this play is that of the Black Boots. These are the symbol of the soldiers, of Franvera being ripped from her home, Of her losing her father and ultimately of her death. I think that this is a really important image to get right.

I like the idea of the screens containing the boots, and then also the idea of the cast climbing through the screens with big boots on. The idea of the boots coming through the wall of screens also helps to portray the sense of the room being ‘edgeless’. This is another key theme mentioned within the play; The idea of reaching ‘the edge of the edgeless room’. This offers the idea of the containment of the surgery, and also the unstable elements of the young child’s mind.

Another idea I had for this scene was to utilise the bunting in another way. It would be an interesting image if the bunting were to clip to the screens, and then encircle the screens. I think this adds another layer of madness and being trapped.

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The last space that I have considered is the refugee camp. Again I have considered using the bunting as a scenic element. I came up with the idea of creating a tent around Franvera with the bunting. Although I think this could become interesting aesthetically, I think that  practically it would create some issues.

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VTP | PHOTOSHOP INTRODUCTION

Photoshop is another program that is important to understand within the theatre design proffession. Photoshop can be used to produce story boards, costume designs etc. It can produce drawings which depict the lighting and so are good drawings to give to directors/ lighting designers etc.

Our first task, to get to grips with photoshop, was to edit 6 photos of a skull using different effects. We had to play with brightness and contrast, levels, vibrancy, B&W, hue and saturation and also to post an original photo. We were also asked to add text to the photos, so we could experiment with that too.

Hamlet Skull

The next task we were given was to create a costume design. We were asked to cut out a full length figure using the quick selection and magic wand tools. This was a difficult thing to do, but a useful tool to use. The costume design on photoshop allows for a more precise design, and allows you to use lighting.

Person in Spotlight

HAMLET | INTRODUCTION

My first year at uni will be concluded by the project of ‘Hamlet’. For this project we have been asked to create a full set of costume designs for the 9 main characters, and a set design for the entirety of the show. The designs have to be relatable to the modern society. We have been asked to apply the main themes and issues into every day modern life, or look at the script conceptually and create something timeless.

Hamlet, as with any shakespeare play, is over flowing with themes and ideas that can be easily relatable to modern life; of course they are probably more exaggerated. The family life within the play is messed up, we are shown incestuous family units, and more conventional ones. This, as an example, can be applied to modern day life; looking at divorce within modern families and how this effects the children etc. There are a lot more themes, like this one, to experiment with.

I love the idea of striping the play down to the themes rather than playing on the literal ideas of monarchy and castles etc. I would like to explore this idea further and research what has already been done.

CONSTRUCT THE MOMENT | FINAL SET

I am really proud of the set that we have created. We have spent 2 weeks solidly building painting, and it has payed off. The set that we have created looks professional, and when inhabited with a person in character, it portrays a narrative.

This project has taught me a lot about the world of theatre design and construction. It has shown me that there is a lot more to consider when designing for shows. I need to be more  thorough with my design process; for example I need to consider every finish and every join, all the small details are so important.

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The group with our set:

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PATTERN CUTTING | TOILE

The next step in creating our medieval jerkins, was to cut materials using our pattern pieces. For fitting purposes we decided to make a toile first. This means constructing the garment using cheaper materials, such as calico, in order to check it fits the model correctly. I personally was thankful for the decision to do this, as I have never been very good at fitting garments to models.

To create our toile we cut each pattern piece out in calico and tacked it together making sure to match all the seems. By doing this I was able to iron out all the fitting issues that I had. I put the toile onto my model inside out, this allowed me to get at the seems easily. The toile highlighted the fact that my skirt wasn’t quite right. It was not flared enough to fit in with the time period. I had to alter this by cutting slits and filling them with more material.

Another element of the garment that needed attention was the arm holes. We pattern cut our arm holes to the basic block, therefore the shape was not accurate to a jerkin. To rectify this I had to shorten the width of the arm holes and increase the length. This meant that the shoulder seem ended in the correct place and allowed for increased movement within the garment.

The alterations that I made to the toile then had to be translated into the pattern. I had to re lay each of the pieces onto my pattern and use carbon paper to draw on the new lines. I found this process a little stressful and confusing, as it was really important for each side of the pattern to match.

Toile | side view | back view | front view

Now that the pattern has been modified and completed I can begin to cut out the material intended for the jerkin.

PATTERN CUTTING | HISTORICAL JERKIN

Another skill that we are being introduced to through this course is the art of pattern cutting. Our first task is to create a medieval Jerkin (waistcoat) to fit a member of the class. This garment happens to be in keeping with our current project.

To begin the process we paired off and took measurements of our partners. These measurements, then allowed us to draw out a basic mens block onto pattern paper. The reason we drew a mens block, regardless of the gender of our model, is the fact that a jerkin is a mens garment. This fact is important to remember in the theatre world, as actors and actresses often have to play the opposite gender.

After drawing our basic blocks, we needed to adapt them into the shape accurate to the jerkin. This involved us cutting along the waist line on both the front and the back. The reason for this is that a jerkin has an almost flared skirt section that extends from the waist. We also extended the arm holes to allow ease of movement, and moved the shoulder seems slightly.

The section of the pattern pieces from the waist down were used to create the skirt. We cut them into sections which we then flared out and traced to create the skirt. The skirt was to be as long or as short as we liked, and as full or as straight as we liked. This allows us to create garments that are better suited for our models.

 

THE CANTERBURY TALES | BRIEFING

To begin the second term of my first year on the NTU Theatre Design course, we have been given a costume based project. The project is based upon excerpts of The Canterbury Tales. We have been given an option of designing for 12 characters which range from Lucifer, to an Elf Queen, To a beautiful young maiden, To a sexy old woman. The range of characters we have been given is vast and therefore allows us to look at combining more fantastical characters with ordinary ones.

We have been instructed to chose 6 of the 12 characters to design for.

THE THRILL OF LOVE | SET IDEAS

After concentrating on costume design for so long, moving onto set design seems quite difficult. I think that my time could have been better spent by beginning set design earlier on and taking less time on the costumes.

Having all of my costumes designed definitely aided me when looking at the set design. It has allowed me to understand the play more and to know the characters and how they would move in the space.

Amanda Whittington included a note at the beginning of her play, saying that the scene changes should be filmic and fluid. This is the most important thing for me to consider whilst designing the set. I think that the set needs to be simple, and needs to act as an aid to the actors and not as a distraction.

I think that the play itself is quite a complicated one, and so I would really like to create a set that helps the understanding of the audience. I think it needs to be a simple design so as to not confuse the audience any further.

When it comes to the scene changes, I really like the idea of doing them through using lighting. The idea that part of the stage will be lit up for one scene, and then it would black out as another scene lights up. I like the idea of using levels to create different spaces.

The spaces I need to create are ‘The Little’, ‘The Court’, a bedroom, a prison and a court house. I want to be able to re use spaces in order to make the set less busy. I think that combining the two clubs into one space is a good idea. I have been considering flying in the names of the club to distinguish between the two. Also I think it would be a good idea to use the bar as the prison and the court docs in some way.

Using Getty images I have found a lot of imagery that shows what 1950s London would have been like. I even managed to find images of Ruth Ellis in ‘The Little’ Club itself. I think this really helps when it comes to designing these spaces. I particularly liked the arched shelves that feature behind the bar. I think this would be a good feature to include in my design.

Ruth Ellis in The Little

INITIAL IDEA FOR SET:

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I think that this idea is an interesting concept, however I think that the scale is too big for the space. The sight lines would be disrupted by the levels. I really do like the idea of levels though, the fact that the actors will be at different heights as they interact.

DESIGN:

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I think this design is better proportions for the space. It will all be made out of black materials, and will seem a little like frame work. This is to make sure that it is very simplistic.

 

THE THRILL OF LOVE | FINISHED COSTUME DESIGNS

The finished versions of my costume designs are more refined. I have added colour in order to form a better representation of each character. I have also chosen to show all of each characters costumes on one sheet of paper. I think this allows their journeys to be shown.

RUTH ELLIS:

-Scene 1: Ruth begins dressing herself. She is in the underwear below, and dresses into the pencil skirt and top. She remains in this outfit until scene 8.

-Scene 8: Ruth becomes the manageress of ‘The Little’ club. In this scene she changes into the red dress below. Here I think she becomes more confident in herself and more showy.

-Scene 9: Ruth comes into ‘The Little’ club wearing underwear and a mens dinner jacket. She is looking a little rough and is searching for alcohol. Here I drew her in the same underwear as the beginning, I wanted to make sure she still looked glamarous.

-Act 2 Scene 2: Ruth is in a coat and hat as she attends Vickie’s funeral. I put her in a statement red coat and a small simple hat. Social etiquette in the 50s was a lot more rigid than it is now with regards to funerals, and so I probably should have put her in black or at least with a black mourning band around her sleeve.

-Act 2 Scene 3: Ruth wears the red dress, she seductivly dances for Gale and begins to remove the dress.

-Act 2 Scene 4: Ruth is left in her underwear with a huge bloody blanket draped around her.

-Act 2 Scene 5: Simple grey button up prison uniform.

-Act 2 Scene 6: Ruth wears a black 2 piece suit and spike heels to her court hearing. She has just re bleached her hair.

VICKIE MARTIN:

-Scene 4: Vickie first appears with a coat on and a suitcase in hand. Here I have put her in a simple yellow wrap coat and a green dress.

-Scene 5: Ruth changes into a pair of green trousers and a cream cardigan. She also wears a green neck tie to glamourise the outfit. This is when she starts working for ‘The Court’ and so can afford a few more items of clothing.

-Act 2 Scene 6: Vickie becomes the judge. I have put her in exactly the same outfit as Ruth.

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SYLVIA SHAW:

-Scene 2: Sylvia is wearing her everyday clothing. She is sophisticated in a high waisted full skirt and a tightly fitting jacket. The outfit is inspired by Dior’s new look.

-Scene 8: Sylvia puts on a black coat and black hat. The hat is on the side of her head, as a fashion statement.

-Act 2 Scene 5: Sylvia visits Ruth in jail and so wears her coat and hat again.

-Act 2 Scene 7: She is back in her everyday clothes as her and Doris get on with their work.

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DORIS JUDD:

-Scene 6: She first appears in her simple cleaning outfit of a skirt, a apron, a blouse and a cardigan. She remains in this outfit for the duration of the play.

-Act 2 Scene 2: Doris puts on a simple black coat and a hat.

-Act 2 Scene 5: She is still wearing the coat and hat as she visits Ruth in jail.

-Act 2 Scene 7: She removes the coat.

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JACK GALE:

-Scene 1: Gale is a shadowy figure wearing his 3 piece suit, over coat and trilby hat.

-Scene 2: Gale removes coat and hat.

-Act 2 Scene 1: Gale sits on the floor in a pile of case files. He is still wearing the suit, however he looks dishevelled. So jacket off, shirt untucked, tie untied.

-Act 2 Scene 3: Back into smart suit.

-Act 2 Scene 7: Gale puts on his overcoat and hat again as he departs from Sylvie and Doris’ lives.

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THE THRILL OF LOVE | INITIAL COSTUME

After looking at the characterisation of each character I have begun to sketch ideas from the period. I created simple line drawings of the shapes of the outfits I envisage the characters to wear.

CHARACTERS IN RELATION TO ONE ANOTHER:

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RUTH ELLIS:

-Simple everyday outfit: I think that her character would be quite promiscuous and so would like to wear figure hugging clothes. This lead me to sketch her in a pencil skirt and high necked 3/4 sleeved top.

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-Coat: She is mentioned to have worn a coat to Vickie’s funeral and in a few other scenes. For this I see her wearing a red coat, again to make a statement.

-Prison outfit: For the prison outfit I see her in a very simple, un glamorous practical dress. I found an image of a dress online that i think is perfect. It is a grey button down, long-sleeved, woolen dress.

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-Underwear: The 50s was the era of the bullet bra. It was fashionable to have very coned breasts. Most of the underwear was pale peach colour.

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VICKIE MARTIN:

-Everyday Clothes: I think she would definitely have been a lady who flicked through magazines constantly. That she would have wanted to be completely up to date with fashion. I think she is more daring as a character, and so trousers could be a good option for her character.

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-Coat and suitcase: It is important to consider the fact that rationing was still in play at the time of the play. Each character would have most likely made their own clothes. I think her coat would have been very simple, yet in trend.

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-Prison uniform: Exactly the same dress as Ruth’s. Makes her seem like a friendly face.

SYLVIA SHAW:

-Everyday outfit: A very sophisticated outfit, to show her age and how much she thinks of herself. The outfit is based around Dior’s new look.

-Coat and hat: A black coat and hat for the funeral of Vickie. Simple double breasted black coat with a pinched in waist, or a more full free flowing coat.

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DORIS JUDD:

-Cleaning outfit: I think that she would have had a half apron rather than a full piny. I would like Doris to wear a simple cut skirt and blouse and a cardigan, with simple and practical black lace up shoes.

-Coat and hat: Again Doris wears a black coat and hat to Vickie’s funeral.I think that Doris’ main focus with her clothing choices would be practicality, and so I think she would have a very simple long button up black coat.

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JACK GALE:

-3 piece suit: A traditional 3 piece suit; jacket, waistcoat and creased roll up trousers. He would also be wearing a tie clip and cuff links.

-Over coat and trilby: I think that Gale would be likely to wear a trench coat. The hat and trilby would most likely both be a browny colour.

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