OpenCity Project – Audio Tour of Nottingham

Yesterday we experienced the OpenCity Project by Andrew Brown and Katie Doubleday. It was an unusual experience which involved downloading an mp3 file onto our phones, setting off at a specific time with a group, and listening to the recording along the way.

Although we encountered some initial issues such as actually downloading the file, and then the recording would stop and start because of the internet, we finally got it working in time with the rest of the group.

It was unusual to be performing instructions from the recording at the same time as the others, without knowing what we were going to do beforehand. It gave us a chance to appreciate the city, without actually having to be anywhere. It was also quite funny watching members of the public reacting to us moving in ‘silence’ but in sync with each other.

Here is the map which we had to follow:

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Maxine Peake as Hamlet

As part of the course we were recommended to go to the Broadway cinema to see Maxine Peake as Hamlet, at Manchester’s Royal Exchange. The show was apparently a hit, and had an interesting stage design.

We checked this out online and here is the trailer which made us really want to see the show.

We also had a look at the Cineworld in the Cornerhouse and it turned out to be cheaper there so we decided to go there instead. The film lasted around 3hr 45mins and so it was quite long, however I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was better than the film adaptations which I have seen. Maxine Peake’s performance was outstanding and I also enjoyed Katie West’s interpretation of Ophelia as I have seen her perform at the Royal Exchange before as a completely different character.

The stage design was really interesting, particularly as it was set in modern day Denmark as opposed to the Elizabethan period. The lightbulbs created tension when the ghost of King Hamlet appeared, and the removable plastic meant the stage had different layers. I was also impressed by the use of specific costume, such as the bin men inspired wear for the grave diggers.

Final Set Design.

Once we had completed the set on the Tuesday deadline we were all incredibly relieved and proud. Despite our group separating to perform individual tasks to begin with, I felt we showed great teamwork towards the end of the project when it came to actually putting it together. We often stayed late, or worked through dinner time in order to get it finished as we were all passionate about getting the final result we wanted.

It was also really nice to see the work the other groups had done too, and how they showcased it to people by using actions, lighting and music. I think that everyone was really happy with the way their sets turned out.

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David Tennant as Hamlet

At Uni we watched ‘Hamlet’ together as a group to get a basic introduction to the story and it’s characters.

Here is a clip from the film which shows the Coward Soliloquy:

I thought the film was well acted and although it is hard to interpret this into a stage design, has given me basic ideas for set, costume, props etc.

‘Mermaid’

As a course trip, we went to the playhouse to see the production of ‘Mermaid’ which was written and directed by Polly Teale.

We also received a pre-show talk from Tom Piper, the designer for the play. He talked about his processes and inspirations, and showed us slides of some of the reference images which he used.

I enjoyed the play, and its unusual twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale. It wasn’t ‘princessy’ or ‘Disney-esque’; it was raw and honest and sometimes a little uncomfortable. I felt the stage was unique, however from where we were sat we couldn’t see much of the ‘underneath action’ and could only see the actors either when they were on top of the platform, or just emerging out from underneath it.

Nonetheless, I appreciated the musty mirrors, and the way they got rid of the furniture by incorporating it into the play. It was an unusual interpretation which I’m glad I saw, especially as fellow course mate, Nikki, was a part of it so we could cheer her on.

Lighting Week 4

This week was more self directed, and were asked to light three scenes from a Shakespeare play. This involved reading through the scenes and deciding on lighting cues, which lights needed to be rigged and where, the colours which could be used and also any gobos or other effects.

Here are some of the final results which we created:

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