We began the day with a presentation on artists working within the field of performance and notably using movement as an integral part of their pieces as well as design-driven projects.
Design led performance
Contextualise it in regards to this project
Unpick this: saying that if there is an action, there is always another (idea of stillness and motion as mutually inclusive)
In this project constantly asked to perform actions and inactions
Expose examine reveal
Strange mysteriously unsettling
Peter Bond Performance in the Expanded field
What does perform actually mean (latin context)
Josiah McElheny 'Interactions of the Abstract Body'
Manipulated through motion and the viewpoint (breaking down the fourth wall)
- Forcing the viewer to become part of the artwork themselves (through the mirroring of their image)
- Try to understand reality
- Rosalind Krauss
- It did not matter that constructivist forms were intended as visual proof of the immutable logic and coherence of the universal geometrics…. The rage to historicize simply swept these differences aside
"Constructivism must become the supreme formal engineering of the whole of life" - Mayakovsky
- Everything has a function (moving away from aestheticism)
Idealism = systematic
Victory over the Sun - Malevich
Milestone for abstraction
Dir. Vsevolod Meyerhold
Design. Lyubov Popova
Actors as workers on the stage
Everything constantly in motion
The Death of Tarelkin
- Dir. Meyerhold
- Design. Varvara Stepanova
Aparatus manipulated by actors on stage
- Taking everyday objects and turning them into performances
Florence Peake - 'make'
- Works in relation to audience architecture and situation
- Costume figure hiding, moving slowly, not speaking, moving through the space
Elvira Santamaria Torres
Yukio Ninagawa - Titus Andronicus
Golem - 1927
Ida Muller& Vegard Vinge
- Ibsen translating classics
- Performances last up to 12 hours
- Not really advertised, etc.
- Doppelganger effect of everyday
Ida Muller & Vegard Vinge - Dolls House
Idea of using visual metaphores for the everyday - Romeo Casstelucci
- Non-narrative theatre challenging traditional forms
Brave New World - Valentina Ceschi, Kate Lane, Guoda Jarusceviciute
Performance being design-led
Allow the design to direct the process
Narration and structure built from design
Big circle blocking vision of stage
Impossibility of Utopia
(Further information in research)
After having created 3-4 sculptures/set-ups using our objects (boxes) we were to create a performance in a line equally representing an element relating to boxes.
I said that the task reminded me of line production and everybody agreed that they had this thought too. We therefore stood in a line like robots starting straight ahead, passing many identical boxes down the line mechanically and repeating this process. We focused solely on movement as the task was silent and therefore created a short performance that felt very mechanical and lacking human emotion or complex narrative.
As a whole class we then surrounded two performers at a time who only followed the instructions shouted out to them (acted in silence).
Focusing on movement they were then asked to either slow down or speed up, and even reverse/rewind and stop/start. This somewhat removed their actions from very typical, mundane tasks and emphasized the actual movements necessary to perform these actions.
It was very interesting to see this and movements were often very interesting to pick apart when acted out at a different speed or played in a reverse order. Detaching the movement from mundane reality proved to be very odd. When setting aside narrative and speech, the audience is invited to concentrate solely on the performers' movements and thus begin to question more profoundly how the body works and what causes us to associate a particular movement to a distinct task. This makes me think of the schemas we each have and how due to our individualities such as education and culture we may all associate actions differently. It would be interesting to explore this further with more abstracted movements and see how each viewer would report on what they imagined was being represented.
Then in our tribes we were assigned to create a performance to show in the window representing an element of our theme 'boxes'. My group discussed for a bit before selecting a final outcome. At first the idea was suggested that we continue the production line theme and simple just pretend to pass on much larger boxes. I thought however that this might be a bit too simple and repetitive of what we had already done. We then thought what if we were trapped in boxes?
I quite liked this idea, and while imagining it visually I thought it might look even better if we were all in different sized boxes to add something a bit more stimulating for the eye, for the viewers. We then decided that the tallest of us would be stuck in the smallest box up until the shortest would be in the largest box, and we'd eventually break free as an exit.
Unfortunately, I feel that we did not really have enough time to practice this and so it was not quite up to standard - we did not have a proper entrance nor a well executed or planned exit. I think however that if we were able to do it again it would look much more professional and successful. We could even develop the narrative a bit - for example perhaps instead of breaking free at the same time, one could break free first and go to help the others.
Despite this it was very interesting to see everything that the others had come up with and some were very funny, while others were very sweet.
Overall the day was full of many different and equally interesting exercises. I still don't have a completely full understanding of what the project will culminate to however I quite like not knowing as only at the end does each task we were set then make full sense to me, which I always find very interesting in hindsight. I quite like that we are focusing on movement however, as I have always loved dance and this is somehow similar. I think that sometimes putting aside a narrative or placing movement first can create a very interesting piece whereas we might not always think of performance this way.
Today my group and I briefly discussed ideas for our 'changing room' scenario. We were initially slightly confused about the idea of a communal fitting room situation as we typically associated communal changing rooms with gym or pool changing rooms whereas this was indicated to be one for trying on clothes. We therefore discussed the setting and decided to have two people in a communal fitting room trying on various jackets/coats. We thought that it could be interesting to have a unisex changing room as well and explore the people's reactions through the subtext as this would be an interesting unusual position and would therefore lead to intricate subtext. I therefore created a storyboard to represent what we had discussed.
A guest speaker today began by introducing us to to the project for today involving text and subtext.
Performance is mainly communication; we communicate 70% through our bodies and then through speech and smell.
Behind narratives as audience members we always seek to find the subtext - what people are thinking or the smaller details that aren't immediately implemented into the narrative. For example, these could be details that are in body language or the things that were said previously, etc.
After the talk we went to work on our performances from our given scenarios. From the storyboard I had drawn as well as further discussion, we began planning the performance like this, making it slightly comical and making sure that there would be things for the subtext to represent with movement. When talking to the project leader, he said it might work better to have unisex changing rooms because we could not have a second male to represent the first one's subtext as we only have one male in the group. Therefore we continued with our story, changing it slightly to adjust to the genders of each character.
It was difficult at first to go through a rehearsal smoothly because we weren't always sure how to remain in synchronisation with our subtexts and also the other actor without properly seeing each other, however with practice we managed to improve (see performance below).
The final feedback we received from the tutors included that the set up looked really successful and professional and that the symmetry was very effective. As well as this, it was apparently very improved from our rehearsal and the subtext actors, putting in a lot more exaggeration (notably within their body movements as opposed to facial expressions) were much more successful.
After the movement workshop with Jenni my group went to the library to work on our choreography and discuss costume/scene ideas.
- Everyone starts in a box like robots and will break out in synchronisation
- There is one person who shall be somehow in control (in a separate frame)
- Moving away from theatre and into movement
Synchronised movement in wave
Moving in between slow motion and sped up
Tribal movements (one person standing out)
Director - Diane
Main Role - José
Four others - Stef YP Phoebe Holly
Scene 1: Everyone in a box except for Leader
Scene 2: He then frees the others
Scene3: everyone breaking out of box
Scene 4: Leader is on a higher level than the rest
Once they break out Leader claps or does a sign and all the others turn to the front
Hearbeat knock from the leader - when it stops, all fall (people mimicking the heart knock on their chest)
End: all drop
After our discussion we went to our next (mechanisation) workshop with Gary we learned how to make cams. I was however in a student meeting (Curriculum Area Forum) and therefore missed most of this workshop, unable to make one. I was however there when Gary introduced it and therefore learned about the process and how to theoretically make one which I found quite interesting as I had never learned about this before.
After our workshops we went and practised the performance various times, adding bits, changing and perfecting our initial ideas as we went along. We decided to have five performers and a director (me) who will tell the performers exactly what to do at what time from behind the scene in order for them to be perfectly in synchronisation without having to look at each other. At the end of the day we had an improved performance but decided to continue perfecting it on Wednesday.
Today a few of the group members were able to meet up and work on the piece. We made a few improvements to the choreography and went a lot further in achieving synchronisation of the performers. It looks a lot better today than it did yesterday and think that practising tomorrow with the whole group will truly make the piece very strong.
We also discussed the idea of using props and while we found no need in the performance itself, we did add the element of bringing in the group leader in a box before starting the main body of the performance. This plays on the idea that while the leader is controlling the people around him, he himself is ultimately also being controlled by someone/people even greater than him. Overall today was actually a very useful day for the continuation of our performance, it was simply a shame that not everyone from the group could make it.
26.11.15 - Final Day
Today we began by bringing the other group members up to speed (those who had been unable to practice with us the day before) and practising the performance over and over again, adjusting and perfecting small details. As a director today I was very particular about helping the group members be in time with one other, counting them in and practising without my help afterwards.
When doing our first rehearsal in the windows, James was watching in order to give us feedback afterwards. I was also watching and had noted a couple of things during the performance to tell the group afterwards:
- Enter with more efficiency
- Need to practice synchronisation further
- Box needs to be taken out with much more cleanliness
James's feedback notes:
Door tight structured
Slow mo pushing on box
Odd enough no need for costumes
Physically help him out of the box
Get out the box much better
Masking tape in exact middle
Choreography at the end needs to be on point
Stamping really good
Exit with force
Cool that Jose stayed there
Could have Jose integrated into the next piece
Heart Beat very strong
We therefore went off to work on all of these points. We had actually started with the two people at the beginning pulling José out of the box physically and were trying to do it otherwise, however reverted back to physically pulling him out for the final performance. We also decided to remove the cardboard mesh costumes as they were (sort of) removing the attention that would have been purely focused on the performers' movement as opposed to aesthetic; they also made the performance more difficult as there was the risk of them falling and it took more time logistically for the two people in the beginning to then rush around back and put on their costumes after the performance introduction/entrance.
For the end, we decided to leave José on stage (for the next group to take off); the next group thankfully had someone quite strong and he agreed to pick José up like an object and remove him from the performance space which turned out to be really effective. Everybody also really loved the ending with the heartbeat which made me quite happy as it was initially my idea and I think that it really did work very well. It put forth and clearly established the idea that the majority (4 people in this case) were all being controlled by one entity, yet pulling him out from a box in the beginning and needing to be taken off stage by someone else equally shows that someone has control over him as he did on others.
This is therefore somewhat of a representation of society and how while each individual is unique (show through the different face markings/paint) we are all unified by society putting pressures of conformity on us (black clothing, one man controlling actions of those around him). Hierarchy is explore as well through having three different levels (those performing at all times and an even higher level which place and remove the leader from the performance space).
How we defined our Odd Box tribe throughout the project:
A tribe that celebrates how each and every one of us is unique and different. However, we are an endangered tribe as society frowns upon individually. They label us as "odd" for expressing our creativity and therefore try to control us.
The Playing Audience
We began today with looking at the brief followed by a presentation on the world of performance within games.
Sight and responding to sight
Freedom to play that defines it as opposed to work
Go around and find inspiration
High quality end product but good work in the process (good final product for portfolio)
The Game, David Fincher
Interactive (vs immersive)
Reacted as opposed to interactive -
The Invisible Treasure
Reactive to audience's interaction/participation
Pervasive media studio
- Technology to engage with art
Small Town anywhere - 2009
- Each night the stories were created by the audience
- Suspension of disbelief
- Tried to make the set not too realistic; just easy to engage with
Kony - Early days of the better nation
- Audience put in camps/political allegiances
- Variety of outcomes slanted by the political/social makeup of the towns
66 minutes in Damascus
- What it was like in Syria at the time
- Quite emotional experience
Punch Drunk - sleep no more
- Immersing audience in the experience by letting them conceal their identities
- Witnessing scenes like a ghost
- Witnessing a murder, reading a letter
- No straight narrative
You Me Bum Bum Train
- Reality has been increased
Rider Spoke - going around looking for hiding spaces
Skin we live in - fevered sleep
Room escape game!
- Frivolous, for fun
Heist - given instructions to steal stuff
AGON - competition
ALEA - chance (betting, gambling)
MIMICRY - simulation (theatre, playing a different role)
ILINX - vertigo (being out of control of your own body)
Ludus - versy serious/difficult
(levels of complexity)
Today I continued mostly doing research for the project, looking back at King's cross in the 1850's as well as video-games such as Assassin's Creed or Dark Cloud 2 that could help me develop my idea for a game.
Today I could not work on the project as I went down to Southampton to visit the university campus, as I am considering applying to the BA Film Studies course there.
Today, alongside independent study we followed two workshops with Jennie and Gary in life drawing and model making. My group and I began with life drawing with Jenni. We learned to show movement and an accurate depiction of the body very quickly and simply. We learned that when first drawing the joints and setting out the body proportions quickly it is easy to then add detail to make a drawing look accurate and properly proportioned. We dressed our partner to draw in clothing that resembled the character we wanted to develop and then drew it out to emphasise this character.
For the rest of the day I continued my independent research, looking into London's history during the industrial revolution, particularly around the 1850s. I also brainstormed ideas to identify a more detailed game idea and character history for my project:
- Idea of a cage that is ideal on the inside yet still a cage (Sword Art Online cage)
- Develop idea of cage as an extended game - the idea of the game is to escape the environment in which they are trapped; starts off in this cage and once out of cage it is like an underground steampunk old victorian/industrial revolution type thing
- Can fight monsters/demons along the way (like dark cloud 2, include in research) - includes notion of underground (kings cross underground station, tunnels, etc.)
- steam trains as very steampunk and includes large element of kings cross
- when they escape the underground, go around canals etc. different stages different levels
- draw a bunch of mood board sketches and ideas to communicate this - can be rough but add some permanent ink and watercolour to make it look good
- Write all of this out as a mindmap/exploration in the sketchbook
- Could have an arena/battle episode like Gasholder park thing
- Can look around King's cross for inspiration in different levels/areas
- Maybe instead of being cut up like in DC2 it can be more of one whole fluid thing like Assassin's creed (have research on this as well)
I hence came up with a game synopsis:
Main character: Eldon Ptarmigan, male aged 25
Setting; London, beginning of the Industrial revolution (19th century) around King's Cross when the train station was being built, etc.) - Steampunk inspired style (alternative fiction world based on this real setting)
Back story - Father died before he was born; mother was taken away when he was young
Father was an inventor beyond his time but nobody believed in him and he was mocked in the society in which he lived. He left behind an old parchment full of notes on inventions and things around the setting leading to items/parts necessary to achieve certain inventions that he had not completed, as well as old sketched maps (this is the map that leads players through the game; it is an open plan (like, for example, in Assassin's creed, however some areas are blocked off at the beginning of the game and are only knocked through when defeating certain people/meeting new associates)
The game starts off showing Eldon going through to an underground place (full of gears, pipes as in a steampunk style setting) into this large room with in the centre a stand with a glowing greeny-blue crystal. He is talking to an accomplice on a talkie walkie type device, yet when he steps in to retrieve the crystal a cage forms around him (like a birdcage (inspired by IFO in King's Cross)) and he is stuck. An evil enemy character + Eldon's accomplice approach him, sneering and Eldon discovers he was backstabbed.
Gameplay starts - first task is to escape. Once out of the bird-cage he finds himself in a maze of underground tunnels and must fight his way through strange creatures and the odd human guard.
When passing a certain point, a mole type character pops out of a vent and tells Eldon to follow him. He takes a leap of faith as he has no other choice, hearing people running after him approaching.
This character then becomes one of his contacts. They get out to the surface level and Eldon is left, told to melt into the crowd. He goes back to his lab/workshop and gathers all he can, preparing to find all of the things his father mentions in the book before fleeing London.
The game goes on to Eldon following his father's map/instructions and riddles as best he can, finding characters along the way that are added to his contacts and that sometimes intervene to help, give advice, etc. At one major point he teams up with a girl, Sophronia Bohley, who is similar to him (family-wise) and has no money, therefore stealing items of great value to survive causing her to be wanted by the police (hence also seeking to flee London) however she has no means to escape. She therefore pleads Eldon to let her help him in exchange for a way out of the city when he leaves.
They fight in various King's Cross and London-inspired environments.
The game ends with them managing to get a place on the first steam engine out of London and into Scotland.
After having designed a costume idea for my character I decided to make more detailed version of this costume in order to more accurately portray the idea that I had in mind. I felt the need to do this because I feel as though the drawing cannot go into enough detail/complexity for my idea. Additionally I could not actually make the costume myself because it was far too detailed and I didn’t have enough time or materials considering the project lasts one week. I hence tried to find some images I could use online and alter them in such a way to construct the image I had in my mind - I began with the second main character as practice in order to not spend too much time on the main character if the idea were to not work out well.
It took a long time but actually helped me hone my Photoshop skills that I have been working on for a few ears already now; however this was probably the hardest piece I have created yet. This is because I typically use the medium purely for photography editing as opposed to construction. This character caused me some difficulties, including the cape as I had to cut out only a minor part of the existing image and add to the hood as well as create the back from scratch. This took quite a bit of playing with brushes of different textures and colours to achieve the velour effect and shadows. It was also difficult to adapt the corset to the woman's body as the original image was fairly flat and straight on whereas her body was slightly twisted. I hence adjusted the corset for a while until I achieved something that looked fairly realistic to me. I altered certain elements and added shadows to it in order to alter it to my wanted image (e.g. removing the zipper and adding a cog brooch).
After having finally completed the image I sought feedback from a tutor who indicated to me that it wouldn't work in the real industry as a project proposal because the image firstly did not convey enough of the character's personality and background (the pose was too static) and the images were not original enough - it did not seem like truly my idea. I therefore needed to come up with another idea to better portray my characters.
Having spent time over the weekend thinking of a new solution for my project, I spent time today developing my characters further through drawing and writing out their characteristics. I tried to make drawings that were more original than the photoshopped image and more of what I had imagined than could be achieved through photography due to not having the correct materials and costume pieces to work from in photography.
Today I spent time finishing off my own original drawings and trying to put them together on the portfolio pages. I discussed with Gary how a proper portfolio should be made and was quite confused as to how I could show the situation in which my characters lived without using images that weren't my own as I was only able to focus on character and costume as opposed to also drawing out setting and story of a quality high enough to depict these situations.
In the end I created one page with my character drawings throughout the process and a final one with the images seen above. I received quite positive feedback, although next time I would try to better portray the situation of the game through drawing as well in order for it to be understandable whilst seeing the characters.
- Lovely use of watercolour
- Your sketches are fab. Love the watercolour
- You can draw amazingly well!
- Great character sketches! The design looks really believable! (Like actually from the era)
- Would love to know the situation these characters exist in!!
- Does this have a particular time period - a little confused about the mix of futuristic and Edwardian styles
- Well done girl, nice drawing and setting up
- Love the sections of colour that have been used! The colours represent the mood and year of the genre so well
- Love the watercolours. Maybe explain more about the characters' challenges. Love the colours!
- Master at watercolours
20 x 20 Transcript
In today's class we were introduced to the project '1616' and shown a presentation on sustainability within the performance (design) context (see notes to the right). This reminded me a lot of when I studied Green design and elements that can be incorporated into the design cycle in order to reduce waste and pollution. I thought of the Life Cycle analysis in particular as it allows designers to identify areas of their design process in which they can have a sustainable approach.
We then watched some Pecha Kucha presentations which I found very interesting as I believe that due to everyone's different educational background and interests, the people in this class can be very helpful to one another and teach each other things that we would not have otherwise learned or heard of. We then also watched videos on 'The Fun Theory' which I found quite interesting and wondered what we could achieve simply by making things fun to do. Perhaps I could use this idea and apply it to future projects.
In the afternoon we received a Shakespeare text extract and were to analyse the stage directions and interpret them in order to create a space that would represent the setting and actions indicated within the piece's stage directions. My group and I received King Lear, Act III Scenes 1 and 2, in a heath setting. We therefore took many green and dark fabrics to create this outdoor environment and tried to emphasise the storm by dressing our two characters in 'ponchos' to protect from the rain and trying to replicate wind using fabric. Everyone then guessed which Shakespeare play the scene was from and ours was guessed fairly quickly.
We had a fairly late start to the day today due to a tutor being ill and having to be replaced, however we did get through quite a lot of work. We read different texts (in groups) in order to analyse them and present their overall meaning to the class. My group received a text about 'Believing the role one plays'; it is from The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, 1959 pages 17-19 by Erving Goffman.
After reading and discussing the text with my group, here is the summary I wrote up and presented to the class:
There are two extremes to an actor believing the role they play; either they are fully immersed into their own act, convinced that the acted reality truly is reality. His audience if therefore also convinced of the show he puts on.
On the other side of the pole, there is the performer who is not at all taken in by his routine. This is possible because the performer is in the best position to see through the real nature of the act. (Like a magician, they would be in the best position to be cynical about their own act whereas the audience might believe it)
When the performer doesn't believe their act they may be called cynical; the cynic can have fun performing in such a way that he can toy with his audience who are somewhat forced to take the act seriously.
Following the text analysis, in our Shakespeare groups we did a brainstorming exercise.
- Masks for the characters throughout all of the play to portray their character
- Present the weather with sacrifices/rituals
- Role reversal between sexes
- Photography study of character costumes
- Mimed version
- Shitfaced shakespeare
- Modern day setting
- King Lear in emojis
- 5 minute version of King Lear
- Backwards version of the story line
- Comical reinactions of separate character interactions
- Acting what happens offstage
- Monty Python version
- King Lear original characters in modern day
- Replacing classical painting characters with king lear characters
- Changing the status of characters
- King Lear on Mars
- King Lear characters all together at the dinner table
- Fashion showing the play
- King Lear's youtube channel
- King Lear Big Brother
ACT III Scene I & II
- Character masks
King Lear, Kent, Fool, Gentleman
Gentleman: fairly neutral mask however a colour that indicates importance; that stands out (white)
King Lear: Broken mask with old characteristics, faded gold wood painted gold (to signify the broken old man)
Fool: Dark version of a clown's mask, darkened colours (to signify his cynical)
Kent: Clear mask to represent loyalty, showing blinded by loyalty
- Age reversal
King is young, naïve driven mad by responsibilities and pressures (daughters become mothers, age reversal)
- "Shitfaced Shakespeare"
One character is drunk whilst acting out the play
King lear instead of being mad, is simply a drunk
- 5 minute version
Only important plot points are acting out making a very short simpler version of the play
The plot is shown entirely backwards to make sense but change the story - he is crazy but becomes sane and becomes king
- Comical re-inactions
Like in a short comical skits, characters would have interactions like in a modern day comedy
- Modern day
Confused 17th century characters propelled into the future and the plot being adapted to more modern
- Changing the status
- Youtube Channel
A character from the play's private youtube channel
- Venetian style, set in the 17th century, serious mood
- "Shitfaced Shakespeare"
- Set in a forest - mood depressing suicidal drunk; time period set in today, France
- 5 minutes
- Same time period as original, same mood just shortened version
- Modern day, light-hearted comedic mood, England
- Age reversal
- 17th century, mood: stressful
Today we followed a workshop/talk with the people from 'Shakespeare is Dead, Get Over it'. I found this very interesting to listen to industry professionals particularly regarding sound design as I have previously worked on a sound board for theatre and was thus interested in the same area regarding digitally made sounds.
Neoliberalism - shakespeare is not timeless and universal
Translation from dutch to english difficult due to grammar and vocab
He began to improve the play
Exhibited at Beaux Art in Brussels
Stay part of the creative team
Through Director's eyes
Many different environments
Events of the past, meetings, from where?
Immediate circumstances (24h before something begins)
Events are things that change your path
Time, year (present referring to things in the past)
Who are all of the people he is talking about
Back and forth in time and place
Intention of a character
Thoughts about others that you calibrate and change your behaviours to others
When is this?
William is on a train to Paris
Where did he get the train from? Why is he going?
William is in a relationship with Anne
How long has this lasted? What happened between them?
The Fair Helen by Offenbach
William has Offenbach's The Fair Helen in his head
Why is it in his head? Where did he hear it?
Love story between Anne and WIlliam
Who is Alexis? What is Wil's relationship with him?
His is in the middle of his Eurostar journey (it is at high speed)
Channel tunnel? High speed of Eurostar?
Asylum seekers? Weight of water over tunnel?
Process of design
Not linear - goes back and forth
Research deeper into text:
"General Gap" play on Giap
In 1870 war broke out between France and Germany.
- December 1870 : following the military defeat of France by Prussia, beginning of the project to build a church in Paris dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as a sign of penitence, trust, hope and faith (Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rohault de Fleury).
Many Asylum seekers in Channel Tunnel to reach Britain
Loudspeakers as instruments
The text > sound?
Task : A piece of chocolate
Steps Heavy steps - echo, wooden floor (large space)
Crescendo, door opening and closing
Switch in spaces (entering a train)
Fire crackling? Pan frying
Computer beeping sounds
Biting into chocolate, chewing
Low bass sound, amplifier
Space: - large, public --> small, intimate
Connotation/sensation: - noisy, agitated --> calm, warm
- Footsetps reverberant
- Metallic thin paper
Sonic images: references: recognisable sound sources
- Spaces + places (+ time)
- Room acoustics
- Iconic sounds
- Agency, human activity
Physicality (how do you feel listening to it)
Determined by culture?
Listen: movement of loudspeaker in space
- Effect of distance and proximity to sound
- Degree of clarity
- Beam width
Loudspeakers in theatre
Train - inside, outside, stops, leaves
Runs at high speed, announcement
Police sounds (yelling), walkie talkies, whistles, crowd
People's thoughts on the police
Emotions: anxious, worry, 'comic moment'
Music lute to reference change in time period
Lute - emotional connotation, light, positive, romance
Orchestra, dancing, ball (Fair Helen) theme, triumph, military character, pompous
Train arriving at a station, slowing down, breaks, frightening
Rumbling, storm far away? Ominous, bass, uncertain
Waves at the beginning, train breaking, rumbling, engine sounds
Machinery, rumbling, engine turning, trumpets, orchestra, airplane taking off, propeller, people going off to war
Mapping emotions to sounds - can be very subjective and ambiguous due to people's individual experiences, cultures, context (intuitive, subjective)
Sound events (when do sounds start and stop)
Sounds when somebody talks
Special sounds? SSFX?
Deena Kaye et al. Sounds and Music for Theatre
Shame (film), 2011
The Director's Craft by Katie Mitchel
Hihglight plot points, events, help understand
Above: testing the effects of different coloured gels on different lights (shadows, shape and effects on subject)
King Lear Performance Idea presentation
I did quite a lot of research in preparation for this project. I took the time as suggested during the first two weeks to simply conduct helpful research on Shakespeare, the play in question along with characters and the time period in which Shakespeare live (particularly regarding elements such as fashion for costume). I, in particular, began by looking into the play King Lear itself and studying the characters to further understand their personalities and situations. I continued with research into their potential costumes and branched out on this in regards to the ideas my group and I came up with. I in particular focused on my own ideas including using masks, being at a dining table and dissolvable materials (for Lear’s costume). The research helped us in particular when creating the costumes for the characters both technically and conceptually to accurately portray the characters.
After conducting such research, my group and I knew that we wanted to combine styles from 17th and 18th century clothing for our characters to explore Shakespeare’s original time and also the claim of his timelessness (as well as these stock figures (king, fool) through different eras). It also helped inform the choice of materials for Lear’s costume (although this was more-so helped through practical experimentation). We researched dissolvable fabric however this looked too much like plastic for the effect we wanted to create.
We therefore experimented with newspaper and tissue paper which worked really well, most particularly the tissue paper. Lear’s costume was originally a fairly difficult part of our performance to get around. We wanted to create an effective costume that would visually emphasise his dementia and decrepitude, however we were also restrained by the sustainable aspect largely involved in this project. Experimenting on a small scale hence helped discover this fairly simple outcome which was overall very effective in the final performance, where we dressed King Lear in a tissue paper vest.
My input and interpretation of the text: When thinking about my group and our final performance in hindsight, I realised that I actually had quite a lot to do with the ideas, arrangement and everything linked to choreography of the performance. The rest of my group were hence involved in more precise elements helping contribute to its overall success: Holly focused on costumes and sourcing props/set pieces, Vincent helped visualise the choreography with storyboards, character drawings and also made the King’s crown, and José helped a lot with acting and characterisation when practicing.
I interpreted the text fairly traditionally, and suggested the ideas of acting the scene between Lear, his fool (and later Kent) (out of the two scenes we were given) because this is a pivotal moment of the play. I suggested the ideas of having the characters masked, the setting of a dining room, using a voiceover and having Lear’s costume disintegrate. In such regards, I in essence planned the basis of the performance and wrote up the choreography. My group largely helped in the development and realisation of these raw ideas through discussions and research we all conducted separately and then discussed. While we all had different initial ideas, we worked together well enough to overcome our different point of views and combine them instead to create an even better piece.
This relatively traditional interpretation of the text which I took on actually proved to allow me to work on a level that is very much similar to what I would like to pursue in the future: I would love to write and/or direct feature films as I’ve had a passion for narration from a very early age, and as a very visual person I think that transforming stories visually is amazing. I applied to fairly broad film and theatre courses that will hopefully allow me to script, direct and plan pieces. In this project I really got to put forth a representation of a classic (narrative) piece and somewhat direct it and choreograph it which helps prepare me for the future. I also created the audio and familiarised myself with a software I had never used before to do so (Adobe Audition) which I greatly enjoyed.
I feel that this project actually helped me greatly in communicating my ideas to a group and developing/strengthening them to desirable and well formulated plans. While reflecting on this project I realised that my group’s performance included many of my original ideas and therefore think that it is interesting because we did discuss a variety throughout our development process. In the end I think we all worked fairly well together, able to combine our thoughts to create a final performance.
In these regards I am truly glad that I got to work with a group, because I think that one can accomplish much greater work with various people working together. While we only had a fairly small group in comparison to some others, we were all from very different cultures and backgrounds, making our thought process each very unique and thus multiplied when all combined.
If I could do this project again, I think that I would make changes. While I am happy that I was able to work on a fairly classic interpretation of Shakespeare’s piece, given the opportunity to work on another, I think that the second time around I would stray much more from the classic performance to create something much bolder and extravagant. My classmates were very inspiring in this sense, and when I saw the plethora of things that they had all created I was very encouraged to try producing similarly intriguing and colourful work.
Final performance - King Lear
I am really looking forwards to this project as I am very interested in live and recorded performance as a whole, aiming to go into film and theatre next year. The idea of performing in windows is very intriguing and I think it will make for very successful outcomes. However due to the fairly linear setup of this stage, it will be difficult to choreograph performances and I am looking forwards to learning about movement and how we will go about this brief.
After the presentations we got into our 'tribes' and discussed the importance of whatever our object was. My group is the 'Odd Box' tribe and so we discussed the importance of boxes to us.
- It helps organize and preserve our treasures/whatever we want
- Aids in transportation of goods (items or food)
- The boxes themselves as opposed to their contents could be of significance; i.e. a music box
- jewelry box, treasure chest, moving boxes, tupperware, etc.
Then, in groups of 2 at a time (within our original tribes) we went and created a display using the items we had brought in representing the importance we saw in, for us, boxes. My partner and I created a tall castle-like structure out of our boxes as showing their protective nature (protecting what is inside) as well as the height of the importance they can have in protecting an object or content or simply the box itself.
The next pair organized the boxes according to size, type and material, showing how they can be used to organize various contents as well as their various uses. As a whole group we then created a culmination of all of our ideas and ended up creating an organized looking structure which both represented protection from the outside, organization and importance/height.
I really enjoyed this activity because it somehow involved everyone and was just very simple to put in place and somehow very much interesting to observe. It was like a live television that we can pause, play, rewind and fast-forward as we please.
Following this exercise we worked in a large group of half the class using the windows (as a stage). This was an extremely interesting exercise: there were two directors; one directing from the outside and the other receiving the instructions over the phone from the inside. I was the first, ordering from the outside on the phone. This was actually extremely difficult mostly due to the terrible connection between both phones causing a terrible lag which made it very difficult to relay instructions and be clear.
The instructions consisted of movements to be done by the whole group either in unison or in cannon so that viewers from the outside would not know what was happening or how it was happening. This created very impressive effects with the large group lined up doing the same movements in mass. It was almost robotic and mechanized but in a flowing, 'human' manner.
I believe that it also took a lot of collaboration and discipline to not lose concentration and awareness of those around to stay in unison with them. I was also trying to be nonchalant so that potential viewers around me would not realise that I was instructing the people in the frame on what to do, keeping the effect that was so successful about the piece.
Today we began by doing workshops in our groups. We began with a movement workshop with Jenni exploring a space with various characters and movements. This was actually a very interesting exercise and while confusing at first it was very helpful in the end. It allowed us to reflect on how to engage an audience visually through movement and how to enter a space. For example, if people enter all at once, buzzing in the middle and suddenly move out to the sides all at once, it creates a sort of explosion effect which creates a much stronger atmosphere to the space than entering in a different way. In addition we explored character a bit and how various characters would truly interact with each other throughout a space, not forgetting about eye contact and subtle movements which reflect the nature of various relationships.
25th Nov Practice
Overall I think that this project, being the longest group project so far was quite difficult for some and I heard a few classmates having difficulties with their groups in understanding and communicating with each other. This is something I'm quite used to, having done a lot of group-work before because everybody has completely different views and perceptions of the project and brief and takes something different away from each exercise or workshop we do. I therefore paid a lot of attention in assuring that everybody's opinions were heard and the piece ended up as a complete collaboration between all parties. I feel that our group was fairly good at this and we did not actually have any misunderstandings - while there was one disagreement or ambiguity as to whether or not we should have face paint or not, we firstly tried voting (which came to an even 2-for, 2-against, and 2-unsure) and then simply discussed it, finally opting for. As I was taking on the role of director for my group I also felt a responsibility in being honest with them about the performance and ways to improve it however without taking it over as my own and making sure that everyone was comfortable with the feedback or further suggestions. If we could do the project again I think it would have remained quite similar as everybody was involved and had great input, we came up with a variety of ideas, tested out different things, recorded many performances to evaluate what could be improved and all were proud of our final outcome.
After looking at the brief and presentation we got into groups of 5 to go around kings cross and find an interesting street (name) with the task of communicating the street name in a short video, non-verbally. My group and I went to Canal Reach Street and went to Regent's Canal to act out the video of people reaching out to the Canal (see video).
We equally researched the street (see research page) however it was difficult to find any first hand information because the street was under construction works.
We then watched everyone's videos and tried to guess the street names which was quite fun as some of them were particularly easy whereas others were more ambiguous yet became immediately understandable with either a few hints or simply the delivery of the street name. This emphasizes the role of language in our lives and how verbal communication plays a large part into our understanding of the world around us.
Later into the day we went out again to find an interesting space (individually or in pairs/groups), measured it out, drew it, watched the space and observed people within it whilst doing some observational drawings etc.
I first went into St. Pancras and took many photos of the trains and space around observing how people moved within the station. I then went out to the birdcage-like swing in the open space in front of the King's Cross station and found that it was mostly a very happy environment because everybody (teenagers, adults and little children) completely lose themselves to play when on the swing or around it. I found this quite interesting and juxtaposing the fact that they were in an area which looks like a cage, emphasizing imprisonment yet were lost into the fun that was found between the bars.
When applying this thought to a game scenario, I was very inspired to thing about characters and a space revolving around the notion of birds and a birdcage, as well as this juxtaposition that the inside is quite heavenly whereas this does not change the true reality of the environment.
The next workshop we did was a model making workshop where we learned to scale down a brick to create a 1:10 brick wall. This was helpful as I have always been slightly confused about ratios and scaling objects down however now that I have done it with help I can definitely say that I understand it much better than before and would feel comfortable doing this again by myself.
Below: visual exploration of character style
Bird Cage (IFO) from below
To the left:
Sketch of potential first setting of video game inspired by IFO in King's Cross, London (image above).
- Steampunk style
- 1850's London inspired
- Fantasy/historical fiction game
Once having written my game synopsis I decided to begin drawing out a costume idea for my female character, to be followed by ideas for my male character.I thus spent the day developing this character's costume, beginning with a sketch and finishing it off with watercolour to portray the colours that would be used.
During the day we also had an Adobe Premier Pro workshop which I really enjoyed because I really love video editing but have never been exposed to professional video editing software before nor taught how to use it. I thus found this workshop very useful and enjoyable and think that it will be very helpful to me for future video projects.
Character 1, description:
Alcester Ptarmigan, Male Aged 25
- Profession: Inventor. Is quite well known for his forward inventions mainly in weaponry or seemingly 'magical' things.
- Strong, trained in combat
- Good with machinery, worker
- Trying to avoid evils stealing his inventions and government who want it for military purposes
The research should be in depth and from a range of resources, ongoing
Sustainability in Design
Developing your own sustainable practice
Reduce - reuse - recyle
Reduce waste (creating a cut list and planning how to use your sheet material is essential to reducing waste): measure twice cut once, reducing time (work effectively), reduce cost
- Look after your tools to save time and money
- Using offcuts and storing them nicely, organised
Recycle - source second hand materials, props, furniture and costume
Use construction methods that allow the set to be dismantled and sorted for recycling easily
Plan the Get out well ahead of time to insure sets will be disposed of resposibly
- Claim the best bits for yourself
- Offer other props and costume to the crew
- Check out recycling capacity at the local council recycling site - most charge for industry disposal so will need to prove it is domestic
- Research reclaimed wood charities or services like scenery salvage
- Offer materials to other theatre companies or students via @Reseaerchbooty
- Don’t forget to return hired props and costumes
- Resell what you've sourced (for a profit)
- Punchdrunk - the drowned man get out 2014 (as well as sorting out what they were going to reuse and recycle they organised a massive yard sale at the end of the show to clear their venue of as much of the set and materials as possible
- Design and construct your set so it can be used again and again
- Choose a durable adaptable materials and construction methods
- Protect in transport and storage
- Offer it to other companies in exchange for the use of their stock
- Check internal dimensions
- Use LPG, Bio Fuels, electric gas
- Lift share
- Plan route carefully
- Match with storage available
- Package appropriately
Using reclaimed timber can save money, but generally it doesn't save time. It has to be de-nailed, sanded and prepared. It's not always straight either. If the project doesn’t benefit from an aged distressed look using new timber can actually be more sustainable, provided you use an ethical supplier.
Wood is good
Metal isnt great - excessive energy is used in mining, processing, manufacturing and even recycling it. However sometimes it's necessary because of structural or durability limitations of wood
Plastics, oil based, solvent based products are to be avoided and alternatives should be sought.
Growing materials from agricultural waste
Pinatex - made from pineapple leaf fibres (like leather)
LCF Centre for sustainable fashion/NIKE (app called Making)
Life cycle of products - obsolescence
1 rechargeable battery is worth 93 regular batteries
The Great Recovery
Tipping point - unplugged
Légumes Moches - Intermarché
Take the Buffalo - native Americans using everything
Throughout the weekend I researched King Lear to better understand the play and characters and our performance possibilities. My group and I decided to work together to put on a live performance and spent a while discussing our options and possibilities, combining various ideas from the 7th together.
We discussed these ideas with Kate in order to receive feedback, here were the notes I took as a result:
- Try out different make up possibilities
- Facial expressions into classic paintings
- Costume and set that deplete along the performance
Experiment and then the final performance can be a culmination of all that has been successful
Try: different makeups
- Dissolvable costume
- Try both under 'rain'
- Making a film
How to present the film? Try it out
Dissolvable fabric (avalum)
Better to use things sticthed together loosely
Perforations in the costume to make it tear in a particular way
Make a certain shape to tear off a certain piece
Different types of costumes made of newspaper to address the different characters
Element of live performance needed when showing a film
Presentation of monitor
Painting morphs into the scene - where king Lear is in darkness and his costume is depleting
Then present the part after it in live performance
Filmed - end in darkness
Specific ending point - maybe comes back full circle
- Practicalities (paper, what is falling apart?)
- Try dissolvable fabric, newspaper, toilet paper, document it all
- What if we made a costume with coffee and with water it would get stained ?
- Shift in colour from Caravaggio
- Sections joined with dissolvable fabric
- Have the King Lear depletion in the water on a film behind the live performance at the dinner table
Overall the discussion was quite helpful as it allowed us to develop our ideas further and know what to do next and what experimentation we could do to help towards a final outcome.
3 lights: Backlight, Key light (45°) and the Fill (50°/75°)
Spots is to identify characters, objects or particular areas
Fresnel light used for washes; Set up various fresnels to create washes on the floor
When using a theatre light, use gloves
Knobs on the side to change size and focus
Shutters on each side to adjust view and crop the light (for example lighting the character without a spot on the back)
The more intense the light is the wider it becomes
Using different gels can have many different effects
With the normal light, colours can be easily recognised, however when a coloured gel is used, colours are altered. Therefore you must match the colour gel to the fabric that is being worn/seen on stage (can manipulate colour with light)
Grey takes red light very well (white also takes colour very well)
Playing with colour combinations
Creating a shadow of one colour with the light on the person of another colour
Using two different colours creates a more natural look, sculpts the body much better (if using two similar colours the bodies become flatter)
Altering colours, shades creates different environments (night time, weather)Light can completely transform a performance in regards to setting and atmosphere
Playing with makeup colours and light to alter appearance
Example of lighting: dance lighting, on the floor to cast long shadows
Above: Effect of red gel on face/eye colour and clothing colours
To the left: Colder blue/purple lighting
Above: original King Lear Mask ideas (sketched)
King Lear Process
Throughout the rest of the project, my group and I focused on developing our performance and ideas. We decided to act out the second scene we were given (Act III Scene II) of King Lear and use our mask idea from the brainstorming exercise.
We discussed a multitude of ideas and performance possibilities, knowing that we wanted to have each character in a mask for the scene. While discussing ideas we also decided that we quite liked the dinner scene idea, as opposed to the original setting of a heath. This was because it would allow us to explore Lear's decent into madness in a much more visual and expressive way, because while one can act while and crazy in a heath environment, it is a large and free space. At a dinner table however, one expects to see a certain type of civilised behaviour and show of manners which when broken could thus be much more effective on the audience.
When thinking of King Lear's character I was really inspired by Chalayan's dissolvable fashion as when I had first seen a video of his SS16 collection's culmination (the performance) of clothing pieces dissolving under water, I was very impressed. I suggested applying this notion to King Lear's disintegrating character and visually representing his mental decrepitation through a dissolvable costume. We hence practised with newspaper and tissue paper and thought it would be best to use tissue paper as it fell apart quite well with water whereas one needed to move more in order to rip the newspaper - and it has many patterns on it. Seeing as we had access to second-hand bits of both of these materials, either option was sustainable.
The next decision was about how to get water onto the character, as in the typical scene it is raining and stormy. We therefore thought of various options such as filming it in a dark shower with a spotlight on the King, or holding up a hose into the air to create rain and film this. However we couldn't think of how to create a live performative element if we created a film. We hence brainstormed various ways in which we could have a disintegrating costume, such as creating a costume from material scraps in such a way that could be easily ripped apart by the character himself.
Finally we decided that tissue paper would really have a better effect than the latter idea, as it would look white and frail as is the King himself, white hair due to old age. Including the idea of the dinner table that I suggested during our brainstorming activity, I then thought that the King could submerge himself in water with a water pitcher that would be present on the table.
During development of the project and the creation process, we decided to rent costumes for Kent and the Fool in the costume store in order to avoid making new clothing pieces where we could reuse existing pieces, and simply create two vests for the King (out of old tissue paper). Because I was due to play the part of the fool, we thought that (as was one of our original ideas) we may as well have this all-male scene played by an all female cast. We liked this idea because in Shakespeare's day the females would be played by males, and hence thought we would twist it to the opposite.
When developing the setting, I thought of a long dinner table as would be typical of a King's table, however it seemed unrealistic to have a full-blown feast set up when first of all this would require buying a lot of cutlery and food (which would cost too much and lack sustainability) but also seem out of place because King Lear at this point in the play is no longer truly king, and is losing his wits. I therefore thought that (going along with the theme of visualising his deterioration) the table should equally represent a lack of frivolity, and be relatively empty for what should be a King's table. Therefore, I thought that the table should be his table when it is not yet set for dinner. There would thus be the table cloth, some candles and flowers but nothing more. We therefore sourced these materials (all second-hand apart from the flowers) and set them up in order to see if this would work with the scene. Holly happened to have an old cow-skin rug which was quite out of shape, greatly adding to the theme of a decrepit royal. The table therefore looked very regal yet almost abandoned. Because it was no longer set up with food I suggested that King Lear use the water from the flowers to pour over him(her)self which worked very well as in the original version, when King Lear is going mad in a heath he becomes crass and covered with weeds and greenery.
We planned to use simple pattern-making methods to create Lear’s vest, however instead of sewing it together as one would with normal fabric this was not possible as the tissue paper would rip. Holly made both of the vests she was to wear and glued the pieces together carefully with pritstick so that they would only rip apart under water. When making the masks we did not have many options, and paper maché sprung to me as the most straightforward and sustainable method. It deemed appropriate in the end because I feel that while the masks were simple, they were effective.
Above: Vincent's storyboard