Thursday, 13 November 2014

Inside My Sketchbook- "The Tempest"

So I thought I'd give you all a little peak at my sketchbook and my design process. I just finished a design for Shakespeare's "The Tempest" for my portfolio, and since the design will not make it to the stage I thought I'd share it here. My brief was to design the show to be touring, so the set had to be flexible enough to fit into many different spaces. And was able to fit into a truck for travel. The Tempest's setting is non-descript, Shakespeare merely says ' the scene, an un-inhabited island'. 
Prospero has claimed the land and he had added his own changes to the island, in the process he has gained two servants, Ariel the sprite, and Caliban the savage. Along with his daughter, Miranda, Prospero gets his change at revenge for his undeserved banishment when the King of Naples and Prospero's brother come near the island on a boat. A magical storm ensues at Prospero's command. To learn more about the play go to wikipedia.

I once saw a play back in 2006 in high school. It was Sartre's "No Exit" and one of the first plays I saw that really interested me in terms of set design. So much so that it inspired me to create a similar see-saw effect for the beginning of the Tempest, the shipwreck scene. An excerpt on the play "No Exit" from the Hartford Current with the director of "No Exit", Jerry Mouawad,

"Mouawad sets the one-act play on a 17-square-foot platform that is on a fulcrum, buttressed by bungee chords and car shock absorbers. The angle of the stage changes as the actors move around the platform, sometimes resulting in the stage's being tilted as high as 8 feet. The angle of the non-mechanized steel platform, which can move 360 degrees, is controlled by the position of the actors.
Mouawad was inspired to set the work on such a kinetic and tippy setting after working as a young man with famed French movement master Jacques Lecoq. Mouawad says Lecoq ``opened my eyes to the physical plane of the theater: architecturally, dramaturgically, emotionally.''
Mouawad remembers a Lecoq acting exercise in which a group of performers would imagine they were on a floating plane and, as they moved around, the others would react in order to keep the plane in balance."

I wanted to create a similar effect using a balance board, with a ball below the ship to create the tipping effect.

The sides of the boat were made of muslin stretched over frames, much like a canvas to allow light through. They were also slotted into the base of the boat to allow them to be removed so the actors could get on and off. The whole thing was on lockable trucks to allow for the set to be wheeled off and on. Below is my technical drawing and model. 

the initial sketches

       Technical Drawing done by Chloe Cornell 2014 #lfs

Wobble Boat model 1:25 Chloe Cornell 2014

Wobble Boat in motion CMC14

A rather intricate design for a very short scene. But worth it to have a problematic design idea to chew on for a while. A lot of fun to design and it would be great to see it realised. Never knew that a high school field trip would come in handy! 

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