Tech Plans: Urban Shakespeare, Week 3 (part 1)

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date . . . .”

Well, for me, Summer could trip away and make no stay…especially not the heat we’ve had this past week (and are still experiencing). The heat has definitely affected everyone’s mood and output this week, even with all the progress the kids have made.

Tech Things Reporting:

Costuming and Props:

I had a great visit to Materials For The Arts this week. For those not in the know:

“Since 1978, Materials for the Arts has provided thousands of New York City’s arts and cultural organizations, public schools and community arts programs with the supplies they need to run and expand their programs. Materials are gathered from companies and individuals that no longer need them and redistributed to the artists and educators that do. In the process, hundreds of tons are removed from the waste stream every year and kept out of landfills, helping to sustain our environment and promote reuse and waste reduction. MFTA helps artists realize their visions, provides students with a richer educational experience and furnishes businesses and individuals with a simple and efficient way to enhance the cultural life of their city. The success of MFTA and its programming would not be possible without the participation of material donors throughout the metropolitan area. If you are interested in donating your unwanted reusable items to MFTA please visit our Donor page or call 718-729-3001 and press 1 for “Materials Donation”.

At this moment, my costuming costs are  as close to zero as possible. There will be some fill ins, I’m sure, and I am not taking into account the salary of the costumer and her assistant.


I picked up some wonderfully vibrant fabric, colorful and light, to go along with the previous fabrics I had “shopped” on a previous visit. Set in Mali, I am excited about the patterns and use of Earth colors that the costumer now has to work with. My cast will be barefoot, which fits both the traditional feel plus the ease of the dances. I have a lot of running, twirling, swirling, foot stomping things planned.

To the right is a picture I found online when I did my Google Images search. When I came across this, I immediately had my Oberon costume, in style if not in actuality. A little more “magical,” this outfit is already close to perfection to me for Oberon. I love the pattern and the flow of the garment. I would only add a bit of green to it, to cement it to the Magic forest, and I need it to capture the idea of Air.

That is how I am seeing  this, as I am sure so many others have before: the Royal Court (Humans) are grounded/Earth; Fairy Court are Air; Mechanicals are of the Earth, but deeper and more firmly planted, even in their clowning/Everyman status.

Face Painting & Masks

For the Fairy Court, mainly, I am looking at traditional and tribal face painting to accent the “difference” of the two realms. Yes, again, nothing new, but I’m letting you into my process of total environment.

I’ve been enjoying the research, the “hunting and gathering” of what the production staff will need to help the overall artistic vision come alive. Colors play an important part of all this.

I’ll be using some masks: planned are three and I feel that is all I will do, even though I originally wanted to have more. Less is more, in all things. It should not take away or hide (mask) the work the kids are doing. Their performance should shine through first and foremost. So, Oberon will have a Dragon Mask (I’ve had for years) that stirred my actress (yes, actress) in her physicalization; the Donkey do for Bottom; and a half mask for Thisbe (Flute). All three masks are planned for removal during the show.

More info to come, and that will make up (get it? pun intended) part two of my Tech Titterings.


I’ve said it before, re: me: What fool this mortal be!


How did you trick out your show? What would you like to do?

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hocam
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 02:52:44

    I remember the first schol concert I did. It was a dance/mime to The Nutcracker Suite. My pupils were age 4-6. I spent hours cutting up old sheets, making basic tunics and tie dying them, all of this is a tiny bedsit. They made mouse masks in class. I got huge satisfaction from it. Now, the parents make all the costumes, some have moved it up a notch and buy them on the internet. Not as much fun in my opinion. Good luck with your show.


  2. Penelope J.
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 14:08:55

    How very creative! It must be fascinating to set a Shakespeare play in Mali. Why there? Good luck and good fun.


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