Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Styles: Photo Shoot

Spent some time at TRG Reality yesterday to begin work on the promotional image for this year's Great Lakes Theater Outreach Tour, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Previous Great Lakes Theater outreach tour images from TRG Reality:

Seeing Red (2008)

Two By Chekhov (2009)

On the Dark Side of Twilight (2010)

Twice Told Tales of the Decameron (2011)

Todd, Daniel and I batted around ideas a week or so ago. The title, Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles communicates that you can expect some kind of mystery. To give a sense of this play in particular we wanted to emphasize 1) it's a Hercule Poirot mystery and 2) that it takes place a bit earlier than most Christie novels, during World War I.

Thomas and his crew created a well-lit sitting room in their studio. Peg was on hand to create my make-up. Poirot is quite vain, and would not allow for any gray hair, so for the purposes of this shoot she made my hair black, black, black. It was quite freakish in person, especially the eyebrows, but worked extremely well for the purposes of photography. I will have a more naturalistic hair dye for the actual tour.

Most photo shoots I have been participated in for Great Lakes involve engaging my abilities as a contortionist, abilities I do not actually have. Twisting the body for this kind of closely focused picture is much more interesting and dramatic, yet it is not obvious in the final product how difficult it is. At least for me. They asked me yesterday if this was most uncomfortable position they've had me in and I said no, it wasn't. When they asked which image was I immediately answered, Mousetrap.

The Mousetrap (Opens March, 2012)

Frightfully difficult, that one put a kink in my neck for a day or so.

Styles involves a few significant props, including a broken coffee cup and a substance which may or may not be salt. These were included in the shoot. There will be a special digital effect on the cup to remove a piece the size of that puzzle piece I am holding. In addition, the plan is to change the coloring so it is suggestive of an old magazine cover. We found when looking at old magazines that most images were not black and white, but color-tinted.

Thanks to Daniel Hahn for these candid photographs, and to the fantastic people at TRG. We will meet again. (You can find the final image here.)

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