Sunday, 29 March 2009

Costume design

So today I've started my costume designs for the show. Carolina and i have decided on a Lord of the rings meets Narnia theme for the clothing, the costumes will be quite an Edwardian style in terms of dresses- empire lines and long flowing hemlines. but for the other costumes, we want everything to look quite mythic with a strong inspiration from woodland and nature. I started my design for the Tree Tricksters; Carolina and I previously discussed the idea of the tricksters camouflaging with the environment and wearing a raw sort of leather, so I've decided to go with a ripped short initially, with a pale green undershirt and a brown faded leather waistcoat type item tied together with cord. we also discussed the sorts of weapons that the characters will carry and decided on quite a few people having bow and arrows so i have incorporated this into each of my designs with additional weapons for the elders (a tool belt type item with an axe and a sword.) We decided on an individual colour for each tribe and i have been using it to accent each costume i design, so for example, the elder for the Bedouin tribe is a (i have designed it as a female) female, her costume would consist of a black, velvet empire line dress with draping sleeves. see has a turquoise sash tied at the waste and a utility belt with a sword and axe. she has a turquoise sash which is attached to her bow and arrow. i thought it might be interesting if each of the elders had a big gold chain holding the coloured gem that represents their tripe and as the tribe members meet each elder they could collect the stones and use them to form the key at the end? I'm really enjoying designing the costumes, even if they won't all be used, or may be modified by Tina. it lets me be creative in a certain direction and I'm beginning to feel a passion for the project growing, and a little more scarily, a huge responsibility growing! There will be pictures to follow....

Thursday, 12 March 2009

House Tour with Ricky Pound

The Tour of the Chiswick Villa was very interesting, and worthwhile however, not all the information was incredibly relevant to us but certain points stood out for me which i would like to list here. we started off the tour with the downstairs of the villa which was a complete opposite to the upper level. downstairs was all marble and cold stone floors, with cream walls, very minimalistic and almost like a modern day villa. downstairs so original statues from the gardens were displayed, such as a bust of Napoleon, a sphinx and even a water nymph preparing for her bath (which made Rosie squeal out loud!!). it was in this lower half of the house that the first interesting thing occurred to me, this was the myth of the Sphinx, a creature from Greek myth (not Egyptian which was interesting) which guarded the city of Thebes (in Egypt..) and would propose a riddle to anyone who tried to pass. if the riddle was not answered correctly she would strangle the person until they were dead. one day Oedipus cam to Thebes, the Sphinx told him a riddle; "what animal is that which in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two and in the evening upon 3? Oedipus replied, man who, in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect and in old age with he aid of a staff. the Sphinx was so angered that she threw herself off a cliff to her death. i found this very interesting and maybe we could make it part of the quest, to get by onto the next stage you need to complete a riddle from the sphinx?
the next interesting thing to me was discussed upstairs. there were three coloured velvet rooms in the house, a blue one, a red one and a green. this was originally thought to be because of red and green being a good colour to hold art, however, it was later discovered that it had more to do with the four elements, earth, fire, water and air. in the green velvet room on the fire place there were carvings of the green man- the pagan god of vegetation and also the sun, and therefore could be described as the earth and fire segment of the house. in the blue Velvet room there were many carvings of shells on the ceiling, and on painting frames. the shell is the symbol of the goddess Venus and links this room to water. the last remaining velvet room, the red velvet room was linked to air, through the paintings and carvings of the zodiac. this idea of the four elements could become a major influencing factor in our production and could lead us to interesting avenues for this project!

The First Workshop

the first workshop i completed was a book week workshop in Alexandra primary school. we played a warm up name game, discussed their favourite books, what a good story entails, then split into smaller groups to create a story together, one sentence at a time. after we had completed this we acted out the story in the style of helicopter reading. before the workshop began i was very nervous, and worried about whether the children would listen to me and let me help them make a good story. when we got there the children were very excited about the workshop and quickly began making up fantastic words to go in our story. This year 5 class were had a very good knowledge of descriptive words and used them fantastically in the story. the story had a good structure and good descriptive language, the only problem was that we finished the story very quickly and had practised acting it many times before the other groups had even started practising theirs. so i had to think very quickly, and with limited space and equipment at my disposal, i initiated a group game of book week hangman, which got the children talking about their favourite books again and made the time go more quickly. when we came to the end of the workshop, the children were asked if they had learnt anything from the workshop. the feedback was that the children had learnt that creating a story together can be fun and that when you are working in a team you have to listen to other peoples ideas. on this note, i feel the workshop was a success. the next day we took the workshop back to the school to do with a year 3 class, because the children were so much younger and we had much less space we needed to adapt the workshop. we changed the opening game and chose not to discuss descriptive words before the story writing as we felt this may be far too confusing for the younger children. I found this workshop a lot harder than the one before, the children struggled with the concept of taking it in turns to say a sentence and often spoke for children that were maybe too shy. there was one boy who didn't say anything when it got to his turn not matter how much i suggested or tried to prod him in a direction. he refused to speak, the other children tried to talk for him, but i insisted that it was his turn and after 5 minutes of not saying anything, i suggested to sentences for him to chose from with a word missing at the end for him to fill in. i felt that this still gave him a choice, and let him own part of the story. it took a lot longer to come up with a story with this group because they were so much younger and i had to keep reminding them that we need a beginning middle and an end, and maybe something should happen now, what do you think? etc. Therefore we were one of the last groups to get up and rehearse our story but we still made a successful piece for the other children to watch which was very enjoyable for me to watch as i know i had helped so much with it. the children reported back much the same that the other group had about learning about teamwork and learning about writing a story together, which was good as this was the aim of this workshop. I think my personnel contribution into this workshop was good, however i feel i may have tried to control the story too much, and i maybe i should have let go and let the children bring the story to a natural climax and a natural finish, however, because of the time constraints we were under, i felt that this was not possible or the story would have to be left unfinished which was not the intention of the workshop.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Site Visit

We had a Hard Hat day last week when the whole group got the opportunity to view the grounds that the production will take place in. i think most of you will agree how inspiring and exciting it was visiting the venue. from walking around the are i began to get so many ideas and images of what the show could be like. for example princesses running over the bridge with their dresses flowing behind them, and pirates sailing down the canal on little wooden sail boats. The feel of some of the sections in the garden is so magical, it can almost make you feel like a child in some ways. when we went down to the amphitheatre with the pool in the middle, it made me think of a mermaid pool and i could imagine music being played around it and people dancing. when the tour was over i felt so excited about the project i wanted to start straight away!

Venue Liason

Under the title Venue Liason, it was my responsibility to organise the groups initial viewing of the venue, and to keep the venue informed of any group decisions that will affect it and any other information that they might need as the project progresses. unfortunately i felt like i had stumbled at the first hurdle as it were, as it became increasingly more difficult to pint he venue down to a preliminary meeting date, due to crossed wires, and other commitments. but as time went on i feel i have managed to form a sturdy relationship with the venue, and more particularly a relationship within which they fully understand the project and what we are trying to achieve. The first meeting with Sarah, from Chiswick was very exciting. in the first instance i was very nervous and not entirely sure whether they would agree to letting us use the grounds for the project, but it became clear as the meeting went on that they were very keen for us to use the grounds, and very keen about what it would do for the house and grounds themselves. I think at times being venue liason might become quite difficult but for now its OK and i think by the time the difficulties arise we will have a much better relationship with the house.