As this is our last week before the half term we are off timetable and have dedicated our whole time to rehearsing and preparing for our TIE shows. Although as a group we have always felt quite far ahead of the other groups up until this point, I have started to get a little worried about our progress and how it will all come together in time for our first show. I am sure this is just preshow panic, however it has made us all realise how hard we have to work over the next week and how much we have still to do before the half term break; for example, we still need to prepare our set, props, and learn our lines fully.
We had planned to bring in our costumes in today with the thought to taking photos for the programme (as we decided it would be better to have pictures of us in character rather than just our black and white rehearsal pictures as it would be more appealing and make more sense for the children who have only ever seen us as our characters). We also needed a photo of the Evil Shape Collector and Morgan for the ‘Wanted’ posters – which are a vital part of our set and are referenced various times throughout the play. We had ideas of what kind of shots we wanted to create and so the whole process was fairly straight forward and productive. The shots we had planned were: A group photo, action shots of each of the characters in selected scenes, a photo of ESC and Morgan for the wanted posters. We had the idea of the wanted poster to be a shot of ESC and Morgan caught in the act, almost blinded by the light of the camera, however we also took various other shots of the characters that could also work just as well.
Here are a selection of the photos we may use for the Wanted poster:
We wanted the photos we used to be close ups so they would be visible to the audience members and look bold and professional on the posters. I also thought it would be good to have Daytona (who plays Morgan) positioned behind Josh (ESC) as it shows how he is always there in the background and how the ESC is the one who is always centre of attention. I think the colour contrast between the bright bold colours and patterns on the ESC’s costume against the bland and more dull colours of Morgan’s costume makes a really good statement about their characters and works really well on stage and in the photos.
As part of the programme (which we started making on Friday) we wanted to have a photo of the whole cast together in costume as a company with a caption underneath saying ‘we hope you enjoyed the show’ or something similar. These are examples of some of the company photos that we may use for the programme:
I think it is important to show us as a company and not single any of us out as it emphasises team work and friendship. We figured this would also be more appropriate than individual photos, like one might see in a traditional theatre programme, as the children of that age will not comprehend the difference between the ‘actors’ and ‘characters’, or read about who we are, as they are too young. Therefore the most beneficial and sensible thing to do was to fill the programme with visuals and photos of us rehearsing the show in costume and other interesting things.
Although the draft programme we worked on the week before had many positives, I felt it wasn’t quite right and we hadn’t really worked out who we were catering for, whether it was solely aimed at the children or the teachers and whether the choices we made regarding design and content was appropriate for our audience. One thing that worried me was that when we looked at the programme once it was printed out, the first page (which has the synopsis on) looked quite overwhelming as there was so much text, which would most likely scare the children and lose their interest. However, I felt that if we split the text up into separate paragraphs and spread it over the page it would appear like there was less and not look so daunting. Obviously we don’t expect the children to be able to read it, however we hope they will show their parents when they get home, who will read it to them. There was another area of the design that I didn’t think looked professional and weakened the overall appearance; on one of the pages lots of the content was at the top of the page which left a massive gap at the bottom and so looked unfinished and distracting. After talking to Lynn, we realised that the children might not understand the concept of us ‘rehearsing’ as it might seem quite real to them, as well as the fact they also wouldn’t know the word and so we need to rethink how we phrase this, perhaps by choosing the word ‘practicing’ instead. I also personally think our decision to use different photos which are colourful and of us in character and costume will suit our audience much better and make far more sense to them.
I think that doing this Photoshoot also helped us all get into character far more and bring our characters to life out of context rather than just relying on what the script provides us. It is amazing how much being in costume can help you become the character and find mannerisms and ways of behaving and moving that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought to do before. I was really impressed with how Daytona came alive as Morgan as she looked so much more relaxed and in character when wearing her baggy short, and t-shirt with the funny hat and coat. I think the weight and bagginess of the oversized clothes helped her feel less feminine and less like herself and more like a stupid sidekick, as she started moving differently with more weight and broadness, as well as her ‘morgana voice’ being more consistent. Similarly, Harry seemed like he stayed in character far more solidly whilst in costume, and started taking more risks with dog like behaviours like panting and moving his head in the way a puppy might – which was really exciting to see! I personally felt that being in my dungaree shorts helped me capture the childishness of Isabella even more and I felt that during the photos and the short scenes we ran while in costume to get the action shots, the relationship between Isabella and Sherlock felt much stronger and far more real. I think both of us felt much more in character and were open to taking new risks and taking the action further to make a more genuine and believable bond between them. When playing around with ideas for photographs Harry and I actually came up with some new ideas that we wanted to add to the actual show; one of which was the idea of them high fiving after each scene they have to emphasis their friendship bond, and also almost give them an equivalent to a catchphrase. We felt this captured the characters playful side as well as their perseverance and enthusiasm to get the job done!
Here is a slideshow featuring the rest of the photos we took and may be using for our programme, portfolio and posters: