Monday 4th January
On Monday we were introduced to the concept of sustainable design. Due to my interest in all aspects of film and theatre I found it to be a vital and informative talk as it taught me vital traits to create sustainable designs. In my opinion there are there main positive outcomes of sustainable design. Firstly,most of the time it can save costs. Secondly it can usually save, time and lastly it is good for the environment. The simple moto of reduce, re-use and recycle is a positive attribute that all designers should aim to achieve in their work. The talk on sustainable design made me aware of strategies of reducing and recycling that I had previously been unaware of or had taken for granted. For example planning transportation and using more sustainable materials such as Pinatex or mushroom foam (two types of growing materials) where important factors that I had previously ignored. Lastly "The Get Out" was a new term that I was introduced to and once again highlighted to me the ways in which the dismantling of a project can be achieved in a more effective way that benefits both the environment (recycling and claiming) and one self (selling props or networking by donating items). To conclude I found this talk extremely beneficial and will use it to inform my planning and my design not only for this project but for all my future projects.
In the afternoon we focused on the importance of stage directions and their necessity in setting a scene. For example Ionessco's play "The Chairs" required an entire page of detailed text stating the aesthetic of the play and the characters positions- it even included a diagram of the set/.. On the other hand Brecht's play involved almost no directions at all. I find this to show a clear distinction between the two plays from when they were set and what style they were written in. Naturally I also discovered that the more detailed the stage directions the less room there is for interpretation- unless one decides to simply go against the writers decisions. However, when we were later presented with the task of creating a space/ scene based only on the stage directions in our given Shakespeare text, I realized that in analyzing and dissecting a scene with little stage directions there is plenty of information to translate into a set. Our group was given an extract from Julius Caesar. Despite there being only two stage directions in the text, through analyzing the entire text we were able to bring the scene to life using costume, props and movement. It was interesting to see the way in which we were able to convey the scene to an audience without any speech and emphasized that potential and power in costume and setting in a story telling. The strengths in our performance was the way distinguished rank among the characters through costume and level. Another Strength was the way included the audience into the scene which grabbed their attentions through being more immersive. The weaker elements of our performance was the absence of lighting and sound. What is more we needed to make a clearer distinction of the division in the scene.
Thursday 7th January
The main focus of today was to brainstorm ideas for our pieces- which in my case is Hamlet. To begin with we considered the different settings and locations we could give a play despite being given a limited amount of text to work with. I found this task useful in making me consider the way in which Shakespeare can be retold by giving it different settings and how it can effect the message conveyed, the atmosphere and the emphasis off the play. later we were given the task as a group to come up with 20 ideas with in 20 minutes based on our texts. After which we had to eliminate 10. I found the initial part of the task an important exercise in not being too precious over ideas by being instinctive, rather than over thinking each idea. From there we had to develop our remaining 10 ideas further before removing 5 more. We then developed the final 5 before selecting our final idea. The second part of the task was a useful exercise in giving ideas more development and therefore being able to see more clearly what ideas have potential.
Monday 11th January
On Monday we sat down for the first time as a group to discuss our ideas. Initially we were all very divided and unsure as to what to do due to us each coming up with separate ideas. However once we decided on a scene within Hamlet to focus on we were then able to build up an idea using different aspects our individual research and designs. We decided to create a piece centered around the play with in the play in Hamlet splitting the responsibilities of each aspect (a male costume, a female costume and a set) between us. I was given the task of creating a male costume.
Once we had focused on the bare bones of our idea we cold flesh it out with our research. When analyzing the scene we agreed that Hamlet was a childish and naive character who acts out in a bold and audacious manner to catch out the King. The entire scene is over the top, obvious and in your face. We therefor wanted to convey all of this into our final piece. Fortunately as a group we all gravitated to a very graphic black and white set deigns- similar to German Expressionist Theatre- as we believed it conveyed both the audacity and childishness of the scene. We also agreed that we wanted to maintain the silhouette of the period costumes as they in themselves are bold and in your face.
Tuesday 12th January
Today we had a workshop with the company behind "Shakespeare is dead get over it". We spent the morning analyzing an extract from the play in great depth. The way we tackled such a complex text was an eye opening method as it really simplified and broke down each idea being expressed. A way in which this was done was by looking at the information given in the text and categorizing whether it was background information are something happening in the present. from there we could then think about how the text made us feel and how we can combine the two to build up ideas on the set and costume. We were then introduced to using sound and again how this effected the tone and atmosphere of the piece.
Wednesday 13th January
On Wednesday we had a workshop on deconstructing and reconstructing old clothes. This was an extremely useful workshop as it greatly aided me in ways to create a period costume that were simple, cost effective and time efficient. Thus the workshop helped a great deal in teaching me how to make a sustainable costume using old clothes for my project.
Thursday 14th January
To begin with we spent the morning looking at lighting and the ways to light a space. It was interesting to see the ways the colour and intensity of the light effected the atmosphere of the space. Also it made me aware of the way lighting, in particular coloured lighting, effected the appearance of a costume (which is important to bare in mind when building my own). manipulating shadows was also something for me to bare in mind for our final piece as it would add a menacing quality to our piece.
In the afternoon we presented our ideas to the class. I found this to be an extremely useful task as it made me aware of areas in our idea that needed work as well as putting forward factors we needed to consider such as sound and mobility.
Thursday 21st Januray
On Thursday we spent the morning doing a workshop on prosthetic. It taught me a lot on effective methods to create realistic prosthetic as well as the materials needed to achieve this. It took a great deal of time and patience to create a bloody hand but it was effective. I think it's an interesting concept for me to think about in future projects as the detail of the prosthetic would have a much greater impact on an audience than a bit of fake blood.
In the afternoon we learnt about aging clothes in a workshop. I really enjoyed the methods in which to make something look worn in rather than brand new as it was an idea I hadn't initially thought of beyond making a costume look dirty- yet it greatly adds to the character and realism of the costume.
Monday 25th January
We spent Monday rehearsing our piece and putting our set together. It was important when putting our set together that it was easy to deconstruct. Therefore all of our props and decorations had to be easy to remove. We over came this problem by breaking down each element of the set design into sections which could be removed and reattached using Velcro. One of the main issues to our set was that the top panel kept pulling away from the frame. We resolved this problem by supporting the back of the board with bamboo (which we painted black) to strengthen it.
Building The Set
Tuesday 26th January
We spent Tuesday once again rehearsing our performance for Wednesday. Once we had all our individual costumes and sets in place it was a matter of working out the legistics of our movements. The biggest issue was Lois' costume for the queen was both huge and heavy due to being made out of metal. Therefore to overcome this issue we made her dress stand at the center of the set like a still image whilst the king moved around her. This then enabled us to experiment with beautiful slow and captivating tabloids and stills.
Testing The Set
Wednesday 27th January
Elements that worked well in our final performance was firstly the overall aesthetic of our designs which was simultaneously Gothic and haunting and childish and bold. I was extremely proud of the way our designs all blended and worked together. Secondly our slow pace was captivating and eerie forcing the audience to focus on each movement and aspect of our designs. Elements that would have improved our piece would have been to include music over our performance.
I was overall very proud of my costume as it achieved all the goals I had set. I think the silhouette of the period costume blended perfectly with the childish a graphic design. I also like the way the the tubes and red string represented the poisoning in the veins whilst simultaneously making the King look bug like and distorted. The main aspect I would have like to have improved on in my design were the trousers as they were quite messy in their construction and were not as big as I had wanted.