NOYES FLUDDE | COSTUME DESIGN

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.

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(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.

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LEM

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

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.

18th CENTURY THEATRE

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.

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Hogarth’s Beggars Opera etching

RED RED SHOES | MODEL

To create my model for this projects set design, I was able to try a lot of new techniques. I tried soldering, laser cutting, using the spray booth etc. I really enjoyed attempting these precesses, despite the stress involved when things went wrong.

To create the miniature hospital bed I bent copper wire into the correct shapes and soldered all the parts together. This was such a delicate process, and a time consuming one. However difficult I found this technique, I managed to create a bed that was true to real life.

To create the hospital privacy screens I attempted many different processes. These were the most difficult aspect to build. I tried soldering, using electrical wires, filing foam board, cutting card to no avail. In the end I decided to try laser cutting to create the shapes, and then join them together using wire.

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RED RED SHOES | COSTUMES

The costume concept for a tourable show needs to be clever, particularly for this show. For this show I have been given 5 actors and a stage manager to play 9 characters plus act as a collective cast. This means each actor will have to take on more than one character, and so more than one costume.

Due to the fact that the majority of the play Red Red Shoes is narrated by the ‘cast’ I am in need of a over all costume that can act as a blank canvas for the actors. To this canvas I will then add small items of costume that allow them to become the more major characters.

For my basic costume I initially contemplated plain ‘blacks’, but soon decided this would be too boring, too amateur for what I wanted to achieve. So this lead me to consider running with the medical theme, and putting them all in a pair of grey scrubs.

For each cast member to become their characters, they will add simple items to their scrubs. The idea is that Franvera is telling her story to a doctor in a medical facility. For this reason I see all the characters apart from the doctor as figments of Franvera’s imagination. Each cast member will pick up items from Franvera’s room to become their character. Franvera’s room will begin a little messy with a lot in it, but by the end of the play it will be very bare, it will become a medical room.

CAST COSTUME:

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FRANVERA:

My idea for franvera’s costume design revolves around the theme of having your life wrapped away from you that features in the play. She begins in a wrap coat which, during the show, she will remove to reveal a cable knit jumper over a skirt. This is then removed to reveal a hospital gown. She will wear red pointe shoes as her ‘Red Red Shoes’. I chose ballet as the form of dance because I think it is the most recognisable form of dance within a young community.

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RED BEARD:

‘old soldier with a long wooden coat full of holes, as if he had been shot 100 times but never killed. He has a beard that is so red it glows in the darkness.’

This quote has influenced my vision of Red Beard a lot. I would like him to be dressed in a old fashioned woolen coat ridden with holes. Thinking back to the idea of the characters finding their costumes in Franvera’s bedroom; His coat will also double as her school bag somehow, and to create a red beard he will find a chunky red scarf.

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OLD LADY:

It is mentioned in the play that the old lady is wearing a black shawl. This lead me to consider putting her into a wooden poncho, I think that this is a more modern version of the shawl. The poncho would be found on Franvera’s bed and will double as her blanket.

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MOTHER:

The mother will also be using the poncho/ blanket as her costume. she will somehow wind it up and use it as a head scarf. This is due to the description of the guests at the party at the beginning of the play. The women are described to be wearing ‘black headscarves’.

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FATHER:

The father is a football coach at the local school. I want him to be dressed in a training bib with a whistle around his neck. This is because I think these are objects that you might find in a little girls room, especially if her Dad is a coach.

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SOLDIER:

The soldier will pick up the lampshade to form a helmet, and also re use the vest as a arm cuff.

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ANNA AND HER FATHER:

I want Anna to be dressed in a little pinafore that she finds in Franvera’s drawers. I think that having her in a school uniform helps again to demonstrate the normality of both characters lives before the events unfold. It is also an item of clothing that Franvera would own.

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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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