12 April 2013

The Stagecraft of Feed - Natimuk Development Part 2

Violet's father (Craig) delivers his speech
One of the things we have been experimenting with was how we could assemble these few elements and combine them with projections to build a range. The idea was to work with a set of basic but versatile elements and reconfigure them to construct all the elements we need for the show. As well as the semi transparent white sharkstooth scrim across the front (for the feed and text messaging), we had three other elements, a table and two screens (roughly 3x4meters), all on wheels.  The two moveable screens actually had projectors mounted behind them so that they could be continuously projected upon even as they are being moved around the stage regardless of what angle they were facing (originally the plan had been to track and project onto these surfaces but it just made so much more sense to just mount the projectors on them and be done with it). 

For simplicity I kept the controls for the two mobile screens on a separate controller so that someone else could operate it if the backgrounds needed to change whilst I was needing to concentrate on the foreground animation.
At various points the two screens form the internal corner of a seedy motel, the external street corner corner of a building a flat wall with an open doorway and a range of other combinations besides. To compliment this the mobile bench served variously as bed, UpCar, kitchen table etc (and will likely also be used as an additional projection surface in the final production).

Titus and Violet (James and Libby) at the hotel.

One of the goals of this development phase was to experiment with the way the transition from one scene to the next could work as a theatrical moment in its own right, taking the audience on a mental journey as the elements of one scene transform into the next. There's a moment of confusion as peoples brains struggle to comprehend what they're actually seeing, still trying and hold onto pieces of the old scene as it falls apart and then the payoff and a wave of comprehension as the new scene drops into place. When its well done, its something I've always enjoyed in animation (both watching and striving to create). Its even more exciting trying to make it happen live on the stage.

The scene below is a good example, the kitchen walls drop away into darkness and the table  transforms into an UpCar™ and suddenly we are on a joy flight through the city.

Domestic Bliss™ with James Craig and Naja

Titus and Violet (James and Libby) in the UpCar
The UpCarscene was pretty much my favourite thing we attempted this time round so Im going to save it for a whole post of its own...

coming soonish...

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