Friday, November 21, 2014

The Great Globe Itself: Design Meetings

Suggested Poster Mock-Up
When I was a kid, more than anything, I wanted to sell things. This is not because I wanted to make money, my career choices should make that perfectly apparent. It is because I love packaging. I made posters and greeting cards and designed my own original cereal boxes and candy wrappers.

I did not have any concept of content, I looked up recipes for candy, and made a few, but the outside was much more important than what went in. While I have finally discovered what it is I truly want to sell, there is that part of me which is much more interested in making you want to buy.

I have written, directed and acted in plays, and even created a few sound designs. But as a stunted graphic artist, I have truly missed out on creating the visual components of theater. I took scenic, costume and lighting design in my freshman and sophomore years at school, and I was terrible at them. I wasn't particularly good at making posters either, and that really disappointed me.

However, that was a long time ago. And practical application of my abilities and the humility to stand and appreciate admire and the work of those who have made design their life has brought me into some very successful collaborations. We have employed the same team of designers for the past several years for the outreach tour (including Terry as scenic designer and Esther as costume designer) and I am consistently impressed, and delighted with the work, and grateful to get to work with them and it.

Wednesday we had our second production meeting for The Great Globe Itself. It is a new situation, acting as director and playwright, having shared the story and then being asked to weigh in on the creative decisions of others in its realization. This is where collaboration is such a relief, as we bat ideas around to discover how the costume design concept will play against the backdrop of the scenic design, how the colors will play, and can the set work with the limitations of three actors playing eighteen characters in forty-five minutes.

This is why it doesn't pay to walk in the room and say, boom. Here's what you get, take it or leave it. This is a manner in which theater is unique among the arts. This is why it never pays to scream at people.

Anyway, it was a very successful meeting and it made me smile. That afternoon, Todd and I had a different meeting, with the folks at TRG to discuss the promotional graphic for the brochure and the poster.

The first image I had, while composing the play (because, as I said, I am always thinking of packaging) was that of the character of Sam, facing the viewer, holding out a globe - a Globe Theatre - shimmering, floating just above his outstretched hand. In the background, the classic Cleveland skyline of the mid-20th century. One skyscraper, the Terminal Tower.

As the script took shape, with each age defined by its main character - Burbage, Sam, Clement - I saw each man, standing, laughing, collaborating, moving the Globe forward. Cleveland in the background is abstract, but present.

I created a mock-up using stock photos (see above) using the copy machine, scissors and tape, because I am old school and that I how I roll. This is what I shared with Todd, our marketing director, and the designers at TRG.

So far, all are supportive of the image. It is too much? We talked about these men being in a place, rather than in an abstract space, but where? Cleveland? Or Cleveland and London - and which London, 1613 or 2005? Or both? Will the final work come out like this, or something mind-blowingly different?

Photo shoot in two weeks.

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