Friday, 24 October 2008

School for Scandal

I've just finished the poster for School for Scandal. The play by Richard Sheridan is being directed by Alison McCallum as part of the C18 Farce Week at Bradon Forest. David Calder directs Carlo Goldoni's 'Venetian Twins' which will also show that week. 

The image was the brain child of Miss McCallum, as she is going for a 60's theme for the play and wanted to mimic the famous 1960's image of Christine Keeler. She was inspired after she saw Patsy Kensit striking a similar pose on the cover of Radio Times. The play is all about scandal, so we thought that we could use paparazzi style photos throughout, and to set the scene, I created a 60's styled magazine cover for the poster - to link back to the original spot in Radio Times!

We're quite pleased with this one. What do you think?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Next time lapse project

Some of you may remember my previous attempts at animation, well I have another project in mind. I've been perusing over the previously mentioned Stop Motion Animation site and also some tips from Videomaker, and so have jotted down some summary notes to remember before I start the next one:

  • try and set the camera into manual focus so that it doesn't get distracted with everything moving around
  • lock down the tripod completely as any movement will potentially make the footage unwatchable
  • if possible, turn the mic off (I don't think I can do this, but I have the option of removing sound at the editing stage and adding a soundtrack)
  • calculate the required shooting time for the length of film I want (for my project, the length of shooting time will depend on the projects length. I will have to bear in mind that film shows 30 frames per second though)
  • there is the option of 'in camera' preparation or 'post-production' animation. 
I still have some research to do on the matter, but at the moment I think I can get away with post-production techniques for the desired effect. I will reveal more when the project is underway (11th November, if that gives anything away!).

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

In The Shadow of Picture Frames

So, last night we had Green Eyed Zero in with their current show, in The Shadow of Picture Frames. It turns out that Bradon Forest were the first venue to book the company... just in case you ever get that question in a pub quiz!

The company are Rachel and Seb, a young and innovative couple of performers who met at Circomedia. They have incorporated their cocktail of skills to create a really interesting and different piece of theatre, combining circus skills and visual media to tell their story. In the Shadow of Picture Frames starts with a young couple arriving at their new flat. They are obviously head over heels in love with each other, and we enjoy their giddiness as they set up home. The dark side of the story is then introduced as we hear the ringing of an old telephone. When the phone is answered there is no reply on the other end, and this causes the girl to worry. They have already heard arguments and shouting from the flat above them, and there is concern that someone needs their help. The young couple start to disagree about what to do, and the phone calls continue. Frustration and tension mounts as an old diary is found, and the once close couple start to feel they can no longer communicate with each other. Seb uses his juggling skills to illustrate his puzzlement of the situation, and how he's trying to work through the problem. (He's also pretty quick at the Rubik's Cube!) After the climax of events (I won't give this part away), Rachel and Seb pull the sheet down from the centre of the set to reveal the frame you see on the posters. We are then treated to a physical sequence where the pair throw themselves around the open cube. This beautiful piece of theatre demonstrates where the couple are at this stage, and how they feel they are in opposite places. The tense, silent movement is in stark contrast to the chatty, lovable, endearing characters we met at the start of the play.

We all really enjoyed the performance, and especially liked the story. It was a very sad love story, and beautifully illustrated through the movement. The play relied on the physicality of expression rather than spoken dialogue, and the students were buzzing about the show the following day and really enjoyed analysing it amongst themselves. They are a really lovely company to work with, and completely professional. See if you can check them out on the rest of their tour. They are a really lovely company to work with, and completely professional. Green Eyed Zero would be a highlight in anyone's calendar!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Green Eyed Zero tonight!

Doors open at 7.5 pm. The company have been setting up their set all afternoon and it looks pretty wicked. They have also kindly agreed to let us film the performance, a great addition to your revision! Don't miss the show!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Publick Transport Photos

Angus Barr from Publick Transport kindly let me take some photos from last weeks performance. Here they are for your viewing pleasure. It was a little awkward snapping away during the performance, but I made sure I sat in the front row and didn't move around. Unfortunately you can see my big head throughout the video we shot for GCSE revision. Sorry about that! Hopefully you'll see some of the photos on the company's website as I've just posted them a copy.

There are a couple of shots that I had to change to B&W because there was some strong red filters being used that saturated the images. The couple at the end didn't work in B&W and it's a shame they didn't work at all, because the final scene was just hilarious. Comic genius!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus - Die Hinterbühne

Hey peeps,
It's been a little while, but never fear, I can make up for lost time.
I can categorically claim that hunting isn't really for me. There's a lot of sitting around in forests in the freezing cold just staring at the same clump of trees for a long time...far too long. However, some of the views of the rolling, rugged hills and the regimental pine forests were pretty breathtaking....nature's stage as it were. Tenuous I know, but it's always nice when you get to see lovely countryside. Cities are the same I find, they can exude an atmosphere much like the theatre. We went to Antwerp yesterday to visit the daughter of my host family who's gone to university there. It's one of those beautiful old European cities with cobbled sidestreets all of them with quaint, yet wonderful architecture; and horse drawn carts still clop about the main square guarded by the impresive cathedral and town hall. It made me want to write a novel. I think that feeling is one of the reasons location is so important in theatre. The same often goes for a theatre itself. The Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus gives the spectator a feeling of immense scale and power, with its sheer size. But like any good story, when you start exploring things can be different. It's time to find out.

This week was my first full week of insight into die Hinterbühne - Backstage.
There is a rather overwhelming feel to the place, and even the foyer where the audience wait for the shows is architecturally very impressive, with marble flooring, gorgeous furnishings and fancy colour-changin LED lights. However, the real hub is as one may well expect, quite different.
It feels a bit like a school, or a hospital I suppose with it's shiny floors and off-cream stairwells. One would never imagine how many different jobs have to be done backstage in a theatre, and just walking around you see snapshots of the different rooms, there are so many varied careers here within one building it's amazing. However, normally, pretty much everyone is friendly, and when they find out I'm English, they tend to go a bit easy on me, which helps. It is of course organised mayhem of the most structured kind. Down at stage level, you always have to have your wits about you, as the bars lowered from the flies for light rigging and moving around big pieces of staging are up and down like a kangaroo, and there are always heavy things being moved around.

Anyway, what do I actually do?
Well more for one. I'm beginning to get to know people in the lighting team, and they are beginning to realise that they can afford me a few seconds more, because I can, surprisingly, actually be helpful.
Basically, a new play is rehearsed or performed for an audience nearly every day, therefore, naturally the lights required for whichever piece changes day by day. Thus, the basic job is to take down superfluous lights from the afternoon or evening before and rig up the new lights for today's piece. There are many long, electronically-operated bars stretching across the stage and covering the whole area from right upstage to down into the auditorium. They are lowered to stage level and we have to take the lights off and store them and then attach and secure the new lights. There is of course a lot of safety stuff to learn, particularly with securing things like cables and safety harnesses. Some of the lights are huge beasts with 6KW output, and so weigh a tonne and need two people to carry them. Thus clearly, making sure they're secured is of utmost importance. I have begun to find my way a bit more comfortable now, though it is a positive labyrinth.
It's interesting to learn about the lights though. I have been shown one opened up to see it's different sections, I have been shown the room where they keep all they're rolls of cellophane for the gels....soooooooooooooooo much cellophane it was unreal, and I never knew that many colours existed, I was able to go on to the roof which gives some fantastic views over the city. The outside of the building is also wonderful as you can see from the picture above, the glowing red is pretty cool too.
There can be a fair bit of sitting around, but you also get to see some interesting rehearsals and staging. One play this week called 'Schroffenstein' utilises the stage's supernatural powers, with the stage revolving, being used to raise the actors into the flies as well as lowering them below eye level. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to stroll across the stage as if it's your living room.
I've also been learning things...promise. Earlier in the week, the other 'praktikant' Vanessa and I were taught how to take apart one of their big lighting plugs and test it to see if it's still good. A lot of screwdriver work, but still it's interesting.
The plays they put on tend to be theatrically quite challenging, and thus quite exciting, particularly in terms of their staging.....that and they're enthusiastic use of many many mirrorballs. :)

Take a look at the photobucket stuff, which I've now, no doubt having been affected by Germanic surroundings, ordered into albums.

I think that captures the general atmosphere of what I've been doing, though it's difficult. I keep having to stop myself and think again about exactly what I'm doing, it's a very surreal feeling. Very surreal. It's also giving me more independence, as I am doing this all on my own and catching the U-Bahn and mastering it on my own as well. It's nice as I'm becoming more confident and it means I'm beginning to feel more like I livehere than just visiting, which is clearly very important. Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks I can really being to settle in at the theatre and be able to relax a bit more and give you a more measured account of my experience. As ever, feel free to ask anything, there's a wealth of theatre knowledge in there for me to uncover.
Until then - Viel Spaß
Keep Smiling

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The reopening of Bristol's Old Vic

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Swindon Advertiser finally catch up

It looks like the Swindon Advertiser has finally caught up with Theatre Works in that you can now submit your own events listings. You can also add photos from events and reviews of plays you've seen (although, if they are any of ours, make sure you give Stacked Actors the exclusive!). I just wonder if the submissions make it into the paper...

20,000 Leagues Under The Office

Tonight we have our first professional show of the season. Publick Transport are in with 20,000 Leagues Under The Office.

20,000 Leagues Under the Office is a comedy about two office workers who find themselves stuck in a lift that is hurtling towards the centre of the earth. Aside from a series of frantic phone calls that only serve to reinforce their isolation, various coping mechanisms kick in, including the use of cliches, mind-over-matter, heroism, romance and ingenious bracing positions. However, all is not what it seems, and the characters, as well as the audience, soon find themselves sifting through many strata of deception - necessary by-products of a situation that is both absurd and unstageable. What remains is a show about play - with time, space, genre, narrative, language, theatrical conventions and audiences' expectations.
Show starts at 7.30 pm and run time is about an hour. There are still a few tickets left so email me or call 01793 773981 to reserve yours now!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Archangels Don't Play Pinball

Remember The Nothing Show? A group of our GCSE students worked with Stewart Wright in a physical theatre workshop before the performance. After they had seen the show they spent some time devising a piece based on a scene from Dario Fo's 'Archangels Don't Play Pinball'. This is the first part of the short comedy piece. Click here for part two. We also now have a couple of dance drama pieces from last years Summer Arts Festival online in the theatre gallery.

National Youth Theatre Auditions

"We are pleased to announce that applications for our 2009 season are now open.Course presentation

If you are interested in applying to join us as an actor, or to join one of our technical departments then please click below and follow the links.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Please note: you must be between 13 - 21 to apply for an acting audition, and between 16 - 21 to apply for a technical interview."

Thursday, 2 October 2008

So and So Theatre Company

The So & So Circus Theatre Company have just been brought to my attention. Don't they look great?

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Longest Day: Could a class of college students survive without iPods, cellphones, computers and TV from one sunrise to the next?

Another student apparently did not see the irony in this statement: "I felt like I would be wasting my time doing the project. I did not want to give up my daily schedule, which mainly includes lying on my couch, watching television and playing The Sims2 -- a [life simulator] computer game."

Interestingly, reading this article made me think of a recent conversation we had with some friends who have younger children. They've recently introduced 'Free Play' for their son and daughter (5 & 8). Free Play is basically when their kids can play as much as they like, but they cannot use the laptop, TV, DVD's, xbox, DS's etc. They apparently didn't like the concept and so their parents had to apply some distraction techniques to get them interested! It just shows how reliant children these days can be on technology to have fun. Contrastingly, at the weekend one of the family gerbils was killed tragically in a confrontation with the neighbour's cat. When our friends came down the next morning, son & daughter were sat at the kitchen table drawing and writing poems in memory of their beloved Batman.