Saturday, February 28, 2015
Terry Martin is Prop Master for Great Lakes Theater, and he also designed sets for all of the outreach tours I have written, including On the Dark Side of Twilight, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Double Heart. We met when he designed the set for Bad Epitaph Theater Co's. production, State of Siege in 2003.
Terry has also designed the props for The Great Globe Itself, with tremendous assistance from Lexi and Rachel. In earlier posts I have described the concept behind the Globe Theatre set. One additional element in the set are signs which will help the audience understand which era the characters occupy, 1613, 1936 or 2005.
Starting with sing concept, Terry created a lovely poster for the ill-fated 1613 performance of All Is True - or - The Famous History of the Life of Henry the Eighth (see top) and finally we needed a sign which said "21st century theatre". Anyone who has attended a performance as part of the Broadway series at Playhouse Square should be familiar with this:
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
|This is freaking awesome.|
Rehearsals keeping moving forward, and as we add layer upon layer of business, our three gentlemen just soak it up and grow and grow.
Bizarre accents? Sure, no problem. By the end of the 1613 scene you will wonder why Shakespeare isn't always spoken like this.
Big dance number? No problem. They can do that, too.
Right now we are incorporating the numerous costume changes into the production. Esther has made herself available to witness and assist, as decisions are made as to what is and is not possible in, say, a six-second costume change.
|How about a little tune to cover your costume change?|
We open in six days.
Friday, February 20, 2015
The Great Globe Itself, however, is historic and humorous and should be a hit with middle school kids. At least, the middle school kids I know, and I currently know a lot of them.
Every mainstage production at Great Lakes Theater includes a series of matinee performances for students across four states, and for every production there is an original Teacher Preparation Guide. These guides are created by GLT staff, area educators and academics including relevant articles, discussion prompts and pre- and post-attendance activities.
We do not often create a guide for the outreach tour. The last time we did this (I believe) was for the Seeing Red tour in 2008. That play was a dramatization of testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and so we provided a guide detailing the history of the committee and biographies of persons represented or referred to in the work, including Hallie Flanagan, Ronald Reagan, Paul Robeson and Arthur Miller.
The Globe is chockablock with historical personages and steeped in true historical fact (that I mess with) and so we have created a guide to hopefully bring our student audiences up to speed. Most of this original material was sourced and scribed by our education intern Elizabeth Finley, who is a recent graduate from Malone University. We are all very grateful for Elizabeth's great work, creating this very useful guide, which you can access from the Great Lakes Theater website.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Last year (Seven Ages) we were costume light but prop heavy, this year it is the other way around. Working through the Great Lakes Exposition Tuesday last night we discovered we would need a clipboard and a baby, and that was about it.
Tomorrow we will be stumbling through the entire piece a few times (maybe twice?) but on Sunday we need to add costumes. During the 1936 scene alone each actor will cycle through no less than four costumes, Rod himself has five. The changes are going to be kind of a big deal.
It has been five years since we have had a cast of only three, the last time was On the Dark Side of Twilight (2010). There is a special kind of attention and focus that comes with such a small ensemble, we work for three hours and there is little down time – sitting time – for any of them. Each of them just has too much to do at any given moment.
By the end of the night this evening, The Globe was a glob, meaning we have given it a basic shape. Our gentlemen should have their lines down by the beginning of next week and they can truly begin embodying their characters and telling the story.
Who can turn a glob into a globe?
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Chuck, our dialect coach, worked one-on-one with each guy while the rest of us kept reading and studying. I threw so much stuff into this script, I have been anxious about how it would be handled by the actors, any actors. By the end of Friday night I was pretty confident that things were on track.
It’s weird, for several years now rehearsals for the outreach tour began in mid-January, with performances commencing the second full week of February. For years we have had a performance on Valentine’s Day -- we auspiciously opened Double Heart on Valentine’s Day itself. Yet we had yesterday off. If we had our traditional schedule, today we would have held our first Sunday afternoon show for an audience braving temperatures below 0° to attend this hot show. I am very glad we pushed the production back a few weeks this year.
Tonight, choreography! I have such vivid, happy memories of the dances Carli created for Double Heart. Critics in New York commented upon James’s and Emily’s dance together … sure, I wrote some good lines, but the dancing was how audiences believed they had fallen in love.
The men in Globe, they are not dancing to fall in love. They have work to do, their characters have work to do. Their characters are actors, preparing for a performance, and warming up. That is one of the pieces.
The other piece Carli has prepared is inspired by the curtain call dance, or “jig” which would have been expected from Shakespeare’s audience. If his text is to be believed (or rather, if you are to expect the opinions of certain of the Bard’s characters to be his own opinions) then Shakespeare hated concluding his performances with dancing. But what are you gonna do? The groundlings expect a jig and by gar, we're gonna give them one.
Saturday, February 7, 2015
|Scale model: Terry Martin|
"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."
|Not like this.|
|May I offer you a Globe?|
|See: "Complete Works" poster in the background.|
Stage right presents backstage, the Tiring House, the storage in the Heavens, costumes and all that.
Stage left, the galleries, the public area occupied by audience members. Performers in the show refer to the galleries several times, but our work will be performed largely in non-theater spaces with one level of audience, on the floor.
Here we see the foreshortened "Heavens" - the ceiling over the Globe stage. These columns suggest the thrust of the theater's platform stage, but will work in a shallow stage space like that at Lakewood, but also provide a "launching pad" into the audience which will work extremely well at Workshop Players. I am very excited to see how this simply device will work in all of the different spaces, large and small.
Terry drew these designs himself, by hand, and though it is hard to tell from these photographs (because these photographs I took aren't very good) the surface has the patina of parchment. This is his original model, life-size!