Monday, February 27, 2012

The Coat of Arms in Process

Photoshop versions by Mary Hickox.
Paint elevations by Dustin.
Painted by Kayla, Mary, Clara, and Dave.

Almost done. One more layer of distressing to go!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Script Without Words

How do you take notes when there is no script and we keep changing things every day?

Stage Manager, Mary Wildsmith's method.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Great article in the Sunday paper of the show hot off the press:

Thanks, Jan Swoope!

Now if we could only discover our ending!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Week of Decisions

This is always the tricky part in any theatrical process. How do we make decisions about what to keep and in what order? How can we make these actions repeatable while still finding the joy and newness that we found while playing and improvising?

Our newest idea is to have the Court Jester (played above by Kayla) to guide the audience through the story, so that even when things get very melodramatic and heavy, she can remind us of the fun and connection to the audience.

We are also staging with a lot of fabric - it becomes evil powers, a wedding veil, babies, time passing, a wall. This week we are having to work out technicalities with such an unpredictable element so that we are safe, times to music, and still feel free to play out whatever is happening.

Decisions, here we come!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ensemble Costume Design!

Today we figured out costumes to support our masks and the story we are creating! After agreeing on the palette for our world, Joseph (costume designer), Casey (assistant costume designer), myself (director) and Mary (the stage-manager) pulled a few things for each character. When that person came in for their fitting and tried something on, they could say "Hate" and then that thing would automatically be thrown out. They only had this veto power once and no one every used it. From there we would all rate the costume 1-10 according to character, world, story, and support for and movement in the mask. If we all rated a 7 or higher we used that costume as our base. If not, we went back to the shop and tried something new. Here is what we came up with:

The Queen


The Duke

The Old Lady
The Royal Daughters

The Prince
The Town's  Protector

The Dutchess & Town Gossip
The Sorceress Sisters

The Town Drunk
The Jester & Knight

The Awesome Stage Manager, Mary Wildsmith

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Vocabulary

At the end of the nights this week we have started to use the phrase "LOCKING IT IN" which allows us to all be on the same page about which discoveries we definitely want to keep as part of the piece we are creating. This way we can start to build around those things and accumulate rather than always starting from scratch. Some of the things that we "locked in" the past couple nights were: 3 pieces of instrumental music that really felt like they belonged in the world of our piece, using the wheelchair that Paige has been playing in since she hurt her foot, two towers, using the space in the round, using characters magical powers to tell the story, the daughters splitting up as an important moment. As the process goes on, we can open the door to these rooms that we have locked in and go deeper into them in order to fill out our piece.

After we say what is "locked in" we ask ourselves what we want to be locked in soon. What we are wanting to know. For example, last night people said that they wanted to use their props and that they wanted to find out more about the characters that are the townspeople. This way, I know how to better structure rehearsal for the next day.

Here are some other terms that we have been using - feel free to steal them!

  • POPCORN - A quick idea that came from playing, observing, or marinating overnight.
  • WHAT IF... - A way to build on an idea or get us thinking outside of the box we might be in. During any exercise or improvisation some can chime in with a what if.
  • THIS REMINDS ME OF... - A way to connect what we are doing to other exercises or real life experiences.
  • ANYBODY, ANYBODY - A prompt to get people to say "This reminds me of..." or "What if"  
  • SOMEBODY ELSE - Talking with someone outside of our process about what our play/process is like and bringing that conversation back to the ensemble.
  • VERSUS - Ways to polarize and describe our world. ie) dark vs. light, chaos, vs. order, isolation vs. community, innocence vs. guilt. We then play with these things physically in mask.
  • PARKBENCH - A process of visualizing the story or a scene in our imagination either as individuals or as a group. And then popcorning one image out loud at a time while everyone shifts their own picture to include that image.
  • TABLEAU - A frozen picture of an event or moment in the story.
  • ENCOURAGE DYNAMIC RATHER THAN DETAIL - Starting to simplify and use bigger brush strokes within our story where we focus on the dynamic or push and pull between two characters rather than a he said/she said way of thinking.
  • WAXWORKS - Sculpting another persons body into a full mask character.
  • BODY ATTITUDE - One shape that a character holds themselves in physical.
  • PITCH - The amount of tension a character has in their body.
  • RHYTHM - The pattern in which a character walks.
  • VOLUME - The amount of space a character takes up with their body 
  • STEPPING ONE MONTH AT A TIME - Thinking and moving in a way where every step is one month or even one year in order to move in suspended time and at a higher volume with one intention.
  • CHARACTER MATRIX - Every character has a limited physical vocabulary of their own to choose from which includes: A prop, 3 ways to sit, three ways/shapes to stand and walking with each one, a piece of music, a superpower gesture & reaction to the effect.
  • ANGLES OF THE HEAD - 3 ways to look out of the mask at things by just moving the neck.
  • IN THE SPIRIT OF THE CLAPPING GAME - Including the audience as if they want you to do something or as if they hold the secret.
  • LOOK, SEE, GO - Looking toward something, inhaling to absorb/let it effect you, and then moving toward it with that reaction playing out
  • PLUNGE - Each person trying on and playing with a lot of different masks in a short time.
  • THINK WITH YOUR HANDS - Showing us just what you are thinking, feeling, being effected by just by isolating your movement to your hands.
  • BLANK CANVAS - A "neutral" body position where anything is possible.
I will keep adding more new ways of talking about things to this post as we go!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I was out sick today in the germ proof booth so I observed.

Now that our detailed background has been established Kali asked us to throw the details away and look at the dynamics between characters. We began to lock in the for-sure things such as the Two Towers, Dustin vs Lavosha, Paige in wheelchair etc. Everyone played with the ball for the first time, following whoever had it then music was added and it built up to being placed in the world of the play. The ball was energy to some people and to others it was something precious like a baby.

Today was a lot about music. Kali asked everyone to let the music make their bodies move and then switch to letting it dictate the emotions/thoughts of their characters. When the characters/actors were dancing the mood was uplifting and happy, completely opposite to the sullen characters walking around when the music changed their thoughts.

Some characters played with various music and made some interesting scenes such as Bosheca (Brittany) and Buckwheat (Kayla) with their sort of tug of war. The image of Bosheca pulling Buckwheat up the stairs was added to our new image board along with some others.

Here are some possible flags I created for the two towers:


- Mary Hickox