The show goes up in less than two weeks, and I have to say I’m both thrilled and scared silly. I have a LOT of amazing kids to work with, which is a blessing. They are also VERY high spirited, which has it’s pluses and minuses. Sometimes the ants-in-the-pants gets in the way, but I’m so happy with how things are starting to shape up.
As I’ve stated before, we’ve set “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Mali, Africa. This request came at the hands of the executive producer, and posed some problems at first but soon led to what I consider a major plus in the focus of the play. The theme of deforestation and the beauty of the eroding landscape of the Mali area was what my research led me to, and for a play that is set in a magical, lush forest, the contrast brought some great ideas for a Prologue. We’ve taken images of the richness of some parts of Mali and then compared them to the encroaching desert (which also leads into problem with useable water in the area). This will be matched with a short voice over of the problems, and how “once upon a time…” there was a magical forest. The theme will be reincorporated in imagery (backdrop) during the show.
Music and Dance
This has been big fun and also a headache, working out and synching up the ideas/focus of the show with everyone’s opinions. We have our Dance team, Musical Director, and myself (not counting the Executive Producer) with varying POV on all of this. I wanted not only traditional African music and dance, but also some contemporary work for the “hook”. So, I have some Motown for the narrators (yes, I had to include some who would tell what was going to happen to “soften the blow” of the Shakespearean language for the audience. We’ll have young camp audiences, and I needed to make it as accessible as possible). The Mechanicals get two fun modern pieces: some crumping entrances (fun fun FUN) and for their Bergamask, they are doing a really wild hip hop routine. So…big fun. We nailed the music down today on some pieces that were eluding us all, and THAT felt great.
NO SET! Yes, I said it. I’m not having a set. I am making the lighting and visual projections (images, gobos & gels) to created the feel that I want. I was asked by the Exec Producer what my vision was for this, and I said “The Globe.” Entrances, exits, costuming (simple but effective), music and dance and CHARACTER WORK lead the way for me in this. It is, in my opinion, so rich that there is no need to add on the further razzle dazzle.)
Minimal, to say the least. I’m having the kids make Rain Sticks for the fairies (shakers; rhythm); we’re using Walking Sticks/Staves (dowels, painted) for more percussive work; sword for Pyramus/Thisbe; Scrolls for the parts & commendation from Theseus; and, oh yes, juggling scarves; and one really big stuffed dog, whose name is Lola.
One thing that was mentioned to me years ago, that I’ve kept close at hand: Lighting should be considered another character. We did our light plots, added our specials, and the feel of the play really comes alive by the lights. We have some surprises in store for the audience, and I can’t wait to play them out for the cast this coming week.
THIS COMING WEEK:
Finish blocking, and run the show again and again and again; Tech starts on Thursday & Friday, and dress will be the following Monday and Tuesday. So… here we go. I may not come up for air for the two weeks, but I hope to.