Storyboarding

When we had decided which scenes we wanted and whereabouts in the theatre we wanted to create them, Ge drew up a large storyboard so we could refer back to it and help us clarify our ideas.

It included ideas for the set design, props, costume and lighting. I feel like once this was drawn up it helped us to make decisions on what was, and wasn’t needed as we had that visual image in our head.

Shadow Puppetry

As part of our ‘playing’ process towards the start of the devised project, we realised that we wanted to include some form of shadow puppetry within the performance. We weren’t really sure how to go about this so we went away one evening and all created some 2D puppets out of card and acetate, which related to the play in someway.

I chose the rat and a drum set, as I imagined those to be toys which come out of the toy box at the start.

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Once we had all brought them in, we played with them onto a large screens which we found in the theatre, using various sources of light. We also decided to manipulate different objects such as bottle openers and feathers in order to see what they looked like as a shadow. Both the handmade puppets, and the objects casted some really lovely effects and I feel like this was the moment we knew we wanted to 100% include shadow puppetry within our devised piece.

Object Theatre

Towards the start of the devising process we experimented with different objects and how we could use them as part of a narrative. We went down to the props store, we brought objects in from home, and we basically used what we could find to tell a story.

We thought about things such as symbolism within the objects; red for a soldier, delicate objects like ribbons or feathers for a dancer. We also thought about sounds and how that could change things, therefore we starting looking at the snipping noise of scissors and what connotations that had. We created small pieces of narrative using the scissors as an aggressive, menacing sound which is one of the things which led to our final monster idea.

We performed numerous times, the things which we had discovered with the objects and I feel like this period of ‘playing’ really helped us to connect with the objects and understand how we could use them more professionally, but still retaining the playful element.

Another thing which we look at right at the start, was the manipulation of fabric. We had two different pieces of organza, one blue and one orange, and we really liked the effect they gave when manipulated to represent different things. The orange created a glowing fire effect when lit with an orange light, and the blue moved like the sea when held under a fan, or manipulated by hand.

Dead Dog in a Suitcase

During skills week, we also went on a trip to Warwick Arts Centre to watch Kneehigh’s production of Dead Dog in a Suitcase. I didn’t really know what to expect however I thought it was absolutely amazing. I got told beforehand that i would either love it or hate it, and I definitely loved it.

The performance had so much humour, and energy, and I truly believe it’s a whole new kind of theatre which is worlds away from the traditional Shakespeare which people associate with going to the theatre.

The set was also very lively and interactive, with moving pieces of scenery and a slide which the actors could use to enter different scenes. It all had a very makeshift, yet professional feel to it.

Mask Making Process

The process of mask making came in different stages, which meant we had to do it over the course of a week.

  1. Firstly we had to think up of ideas of how we wanted our mask to look in accordance to our individual brief; mine for example was ‘Angry Warrior’.
  2. Then we we given a lump of clay which we lay, piece by piece, over a model plaster head which would give us the correct/ standard size for our masks.
  3. We worked with the clay to develop the facial features and how large or small we wanted them to be; for example, I created very prominent eyebrows to enhance the anger.
  4. Once we had settled on our final shape we placed pieces of tin foil over the clay which we had layered with slip (a watery clay substance).
  5. We then went into the layering stage, which involved us layering up over the mask using packing paper, j-cloths, and a wallpaper and PVA mixture to make it all stick together. We had to do this in stages as each layer needed to be fully dry before we could start on the next.
  6. Once the last layer was dry, we were able to cut the mask off the plaster head, trim down the edges to the right shape, and add the elastic for going around the head.
  7. The final touch was painting the mask to achieve the desired finish.