Sunday, December 6, 2009

spring update

well hello again! since last we spoke, i've had auditions, and i am absolutely pleased as punch by my cast of nine - what extraordinary talent. updated production information: the putting on and taking off of make up will now happen within the scenes, instead of during transitions. the set is changing in beautiful ways. faye has done a set of colour renderings. we've found a brand of make up - mehron - that goes on and comes off without water, and will wash out of the costumes. i have a fabulous assistant director, melissa cleary, who may also function as a dance captain of sorts. through generous donations from friends, i've raised enough money to pay my choreographer. AND i have an idea in mind for a splendid final moment. all in all, it's been a productive few months. we have our first read-through on saturday, december 12; we'll start rehearsals in earnest on january 11. i look forward to posts on updated thoughts from the other designers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

grant money, well, money in general

hello all. so emily wrote this really kick ass grant. unfortunately, we only got $550, not the $1000 minimum we needed. this means that unless we find an additional $450, i'm down one really kick ass choreographer. does anyone have any ideas on how i can get more money? short of prostitution and selling my eggs, i'm willing to do almost anything! ideas (or donations) welcome.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

new ideas

i had designed a whole soundscape based on the xylophone, because, you know, it's a childish sort of instrument, but also incredibly versatile. i'd found pieces ranging in tone from macabre to child's play to romance. plus, i had a suzanne vega song in mind, "blood makes noise," as well as a laurie anderson song, "example #22." while i'm as of yet unable to give up the laurie anderson piece, i've pretty much thrown in the towel on the other ideas. this is because my wonderful lighting designer, jonathan hicks, introduced me to "the circus doesn't stop at gove." their music is more violin-based than anything else, at least according to my untrained ear. it's slightly carnivalesque and macabre, also by turns cheerful, melancholy, oompa, strange... oh, i don't know, everything. their song "pinocchio" would make a KILLER accompaniment to wendla's dance, and "house of cards" fits in perfectly with the absurd teacher's dance.

madelyne, my brilliant choreographer, sent me this link awhile ago, not in particular relation to "spring awakening," but just because she thought i'd like it. well, i did, i do, and now i'm totally committed to incorporating this kind of violent youthful cheerful devastation into our choreographic lexicon.

finally, i just found this. kinda neat, huh? kinda like katrina's idea for a topsy-turvy platform path. also, kind of like a prison. there's a lot of overlap between prisons and playgrounds, particularly in the shadows...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

the rough model

informal design meeting

on friday, september 11, an incomplete but enthusiastic group of collaborators - emily, dramaturg; madelyne, choreographer; katrina, set designer; jonathan lighting designer; stacey, stage manager; and myself, toby, director - gathered at my beautiful amherst apartment for spaghetti and creative conversation. we had an incredibly exciting, productive, 3 hour meeting. katrina showed her initial design for the set, we discussed the most recent draft of our adaptation, we played music and showed related video, photos.

from an initial meeting back in july, katrina took my ideas of skeletal, graveyard playgrounds, and came up with a delightful, utilitarian set, full of staging possibilities. there is a house frame upstage, made of pipes, replete with various ladders and cross bars for climbing, and even monkey bars. there is a swing downstage left and a topsy-turvy raised path leading from downstage right. i am starting to visualize the staging in 3D, on all different levels, and it is THRILLING.

we discussed the function of dance within the piece, which seems mainly to provide fantastical escape from the dark, repressive lives of the characters. madelyne and i have worked together in the past, on my 2006 adaptation of "a doll house," and i have no doubt that we'll continue to collaborate brilliantly.

in the adaptation, currently being edited by emily and myself, nine actors - each with one core child character - will play up to 4 additional adult characters. the kids will become the adults through a choreographed sequence of makeup application and brief, aggressive music. this transformation will change in tenor over the course of the play, from playful bustling dress-up to self-lacerating self-hatred at the end. this idea came from a conversation over sushi with my favourite theatre professor from smith college. on some rainy day in the future, i will outline the evolution of this idea. suffice it to say, my collaborators and i are truly excited about it as it now stands.

after much disgruntled analysis of the first couple of beats, i decided to combine them. emily had the brilliant idea to throw in beat 7, "the stork," and i eventually decided that beat 1, "the dress," was useless. so now, our play begins with simultaneous action - wendla swinging and moritz/melchior monkey-barring, the stork being discussed in the former scene while "masculine urges" are discussed in the latter. the scenes will ideally happen as a flawless whole, seamlessly interwoven so that lines from each are nestled up against each other, all but overlapping. make sense to you, readers, whoever you are? probably not. but it will, oh, it will.

more thoughts to follow, and hopefully some comments from my collaborators. oh, and a final thank you to dawn, for the idea and incentive to start this blog. boy, won't we be prepared come thesis time.