I didn't really feel like part of a group until the weekend of the show because i did a fairly solitary project for the show. in the beginning of the process we decided to take one rehearsal each to go to, at the time i thought that this was a good idea, however when it got to the first show, i hadn't seen it the whole way through so it was difficult to know what i was doing. We also arranged to meet weekly and say what had been going on during rehearsals, but that never really happened. Also some messages got waylaid or lost in translation so i think our communication in the group could have been better. for example i got the message that because i was doing Friday morning, i wouldn't need to be there on Thursday night. However, when i arrived on Friday morning, i found out that in fact everyone was supposed to be there on Thursday night because it was a technical rehearsal. next time when I'm working in a group i think that communication will be key, it's very important to know what's going on, and more importantly where you need to be and at what time!
I feel that there was also a sort of hostility in the group as two of us weren't available to make puppets and because of that i felt the group thought we weren't pulling our weight. i can't speak for the other person, but i know that after making the costume for Trinculo and adjusting Miranda's corset i definitely put the same amount of time in as everyone else, if not more. I think we could have felt like a group a bit more, and maybe some group bonding would have been a good idea.
All in all i feel that we really could have worked harder to be more of a group and feel like a group, but we did pull the show off in the end, and Stef and I definitely worked well together on the show, where it is very important to work as a team. I feel my experience of working in devising groups and on devised work has taught me how important it is to feel like a team. If there is one thing we could have improved upon during this process it would be our teamwork.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
All in all i thoroughly enjoyed the experience of making the costume. i didn't feel under any particular pressure because i started the costume quite early. i felt very positive about putting in a lot of time and effort into it because i could see the result of my hard work as i went along which kept me going. there was only one point when making the costume when i felt like giving up and this is when i was sewing the stripes onto the trousers. This was a very tricky job and i was doing it towards the end of a long day, luckily, just as i was about to give up i realised i was on the last stripe which kept me going. I think i made the costume well, and i think part of the reason i was good at this is because i enjoyed it so much, and therefore i put in a lot of effort. With a little help from Tina i feel i produced a fun and exciting costume which suited the character and acted as an asset to the actor and i was very proud of myself!
Sunday, 7 December 2008
Today was the first day that the actors and the tech crew got to go into the house to practice. i joined the group at the second half of their technical rehearsal. It was my job to operate the spotlight during the show that was needed to light Ariel. This was the first time i had seen the actors in all their costumes acting out their parts. this was a very exciting moment for me, and a very proud moment as it was more importantly, the first time i had seen Trinculo in the finished costume. I never thought that i could achieve something as big as this and was thrilled to see the actor enjoying the costume, and playing up her character in it. Unfortunately, on the day there were some organisational problems with our group and as it had been arranged that i was to leave at 1 o'clock, i organised a theatre visit for later that afternoon. Unfortunately on the morning one person from the group had a family emergency, so i agreed to stay on for an hour and a half in the hope the the person dong the afternoon shift would be able to come in early. Unfortunately that person didn't turn up at all, this was a running theme throughout the process of the shows rehearsal, and costume meetings. For the next time i work in a group i think the organisation will be high on my agenda. It's important for everyone in the group to pull their weight r the group becomes unsettled, and less like a group, more like individuals.
The next task was to make an exact replica of the costume, but in miniture for the puppet of Trinculo. Tina cut out the pattern for the puppets trousers and top and i used bondaweb to attach the patterns onto them, i then handstiched the clothes onto the puppet using gathering to bring in the trousers at the bottom and top, and to pull in the neck at the top to make the puppet look neat and believable. The next task was to make the hat for both the man, and the puppet. I cut a strip off the bottom of the hat and glued it to the puppet, i then used a gathering stitch to pull in the hat at the top. With the hat for the actor, i stiched up the hem at the bottom of the hat, then used another gathering stitch to bring in the top of the hat. I enjoyed making the costume for the puppet because it was the first time i had seen the outfit on a person, or puppet as it were, and was impressed and proud of my work.
Before the actor playing Trinculo arrived in Tina's cabin we searched through the clothes and tried to find things that might be good for him to wear. we decided that bright colours would be good as Trinculo is a jester type character so we started "pulling" costumes off the rails, several different britches, shirts and wasitcoats. When the actor arrived and started trying on different costumes we quickly realised that this wasn't the right way to go with the costume, then Tina emerged from the depths of the costume cupboard with an 80's style, brightly coloured velour tracksuit. at first i thought she had gone mad but as she put the actor in it and started to pin out the shape, it suddenly cliked and Trinculo's costume was found! and it was going to look perfect, after a bit of work! it became my project to transform the tracksuit into shakespearean style bloomers and a fitted top. We took her measurements and Tina began cutting out the shape of the material for the top while i started on the trousers . I needed to cut off the shiney silver trimming on the jacket and trousers and cut off all the elastic trimming on the top and trousers. Next I cut another stripe form an identical pair of trousers and pinned it to the front of the trousers. i then trimmed the bottom off the trousers and made a channel in the bottom to run the elastic through. By doing this The actor can pull the elstic up to her upper thigh and let the rest hang down, producing a bloomer style effect. This part of the costume was very easy to make, as i knew about the sewing techniques used and i was able to get on with it without using incredibly precise measurements, as long as the two legs matched each other there wasn't too much of a problem. The only difficult thing about making these trousers was sewing the stripes on the front of the trousers, it was a very awkward job to do and the thread kept snapping in the sewing machine, but with perserverance and taking the task slowly i eventually overcame the difficulties and won out over the machine!! The next part of the task was a little more difficult. I had to start by sewing together the two panels for the top, then i had to cut out the zip and attach a fastening to the front of the bodice. This required a lot of concentration because if the two parts of the fastening didn't match up then the bodice would be wonky! I had to let Tina sew on the first side of the fastening as i found it far too difficult as the poppers pushed the needle on the sewing machine which meant that the fastening wasn't getting stitched onto the jacket. The second fastening i sewed on by hand. The next task was to gather the top of the sleeves to make a pretty effect and to help the sleeves fit into the holes on the jacket. i did this by doing two rows of running stitches then pulling in the stitches to gather the sleeves. this was done on the other sleeve then both were pinned into the bodice starting with the seam to seam edge of the sleeve then working my way round to the top of the jacket. This was then sewed over using the sewing machine to secure the gathering. After this I created an edging to attatch to the jacket out of the same velvet used in the tracksuit. i did this by using bondaweb- a bonding device which is activated by ironing over the paper side, peeling it back then placing the matirel, sticky side down onto the piece you want to bond it too, then ironing over that. I used this technique to attach the velvet to a sturdier material, cut into the right shape then sewed the edging onto the bodice. after all this was done, the actor tried on the costume for the final fitting. The only adjustments that needed to be made were to let the hem donw on the sleeves to give it some extra length and to tighten the elastic in the trousers.
Thursday, 27 November 2008
I went to my first rehearsal last week without really a strong idea of what i was meant to be doing while i was there, but it soon became apparent that i just needed to always be around, getting and finding things the actors needed to perform with, and holding puppets and gels in front of the lights for Mark, Tina and the cast to look at. Often i felt like i wanted to see the effects of the puppets being held up, but i realised that at this particular moment, it's not important, essentially, for me to get what i want. I almost had to be invisible in rehearsals until i was asked for advice or asked to get a prop, costume, etc. I found the rehearsals quite interesting as i hadn't seen how the play was going so far, and having only read the script i hadn't seen who was acting in what part. Having seen who was acting as Trinculo, and how they were playing the part i got a fairly good idea of how to dress him, and on speaking to Tina before we started pulling some costume, we decided we were going to go with britches, a shirt and a waistcoat sort of outfit.
We went as a group to visit Ham House, the location the play will be performed. the first reaction i had was awe in a way at how beautiful the house was, and a keen interest in the history of the house. The next reaction i had was shock at how small the performing space is. I found it incredibly hard in the first half of the visit to envisage the performance in this small space and struggled to see how there would be space for the actors and the puppets. We then went up the stairs to the balcony and started brainstorming ideas of how this could be used in the production. Creativity escaped me at this point, i think because i had had a busy day and tiredness was beginning to creep in, but on my journey home i started to think about how the balcony could be used and came up with a few ideas like for example, material could be stretched over the top of the balcony and projections could be transmitted from below, or maybe material could be draped down to give the children the idea that they are under the sea during the tempest. However i did not get the chance to give my ideas to the group as the time that was arranged for everyone to meet together was during periods that i have to be at work. This was also the time when the puppets were being created for the performance, and positions of responsibility were being decided. As a result of this i was not able to be involved in making the puppets, however, i became responsible for costume, and in particular costuming one character, Trinculo.
I am in a costume group with 5 other people working on a Theatre For Young People production of Shakespeare's The Tempest to be performed at Ham House, a national Heritage site near Richmond. When we first met together to discuss this project and find out what we were doing on the production, i had a fairly closed mind, thinking that i would be costuming the actors in a fairly traditional, Shakespearean style. However, it became apparent in this meeting that we wouldn't just be dong costume as we began by playing with different types of puppets. Before i started this course, i thought that there was really not much difference between different types of puppets and that they all served one purpose. i quickly became aware that this was not the case. we started looking at the more traditional marionette puppets, then moved on to looking at puppets which were more decorative than usable. we played around with all the puppets, but i found myself drawn most the traditional marionette style puppets. i felt more at ease with this style of puppetry and managed to make her come alive, without the use of words, just getting to grips with movements, and gestures. It became very important to look at the way you were moving a puppet in the mirror so that you can see how the audience are viewing it, and also made me aware of how such slight movements could convey a massive emotion. After these puppets we moved on to a less naturalistic looking puppet made out of a large piece of material, using knots for the feet and hands. this style of puppet is called a Bunraku and uses several people to operate it because of it's size. I found this puppet incredibly hard to relate to as it seemed so unrealistic and i really struggled to bring it to life or see it's potential. after all this theory about puppets and how they could be used we were set a small creative project of choosing a character from the Tempest and creating a quick puppet to represent this character. I really enjoyed this project as i felt like i was getting to put my own individual creative stamp on something and would have been excited at the prospect of putting it into a production, but at the same time i found myself becoming quite attached to it, and felt like i was the only person who know how to operate it correctly. i think if i were to make a puppet to be used in the show, i would find it very difficult to let the puppet go to someone else. i also felt slightly less creative than everyone else in the group as i had used a mannequin's head to start off my puppet where as everyone else had thought outside the box and created a puppet out of an everyday object. i think i need to open up my mind in order to let creativity flow into what I'm doing.