Designer's Dreams and Doodles

Experiments with water

May 24, 2012

hosepipeBeen out at our workshops looking at samples of floors and experimenting with water in a 'Boys Own' kind of way.

I am hoping to create a magical water moment towards the end of the play. We have to get the angle of the floor just right so that nobody notices there is a rake on the stage and the channels in the floor should feel like worn grooves rather than crying out, 'look at me something will happen here!'.

It seemed to work, and apparently the hose-pipe ban has been lifted in Warwickshire so we could experiment legally!

Nina, one of our Design Assistants, has created a mood-board out of all the reference photos from my trip and books I found there, so now we are starting to decide on details; what the windows will be like, how deep the door reveals etc.

All the time I am trying to balance authenticity with the level of decoration that many of the references have, but which could seem a bit overdone if reproduced in the theatre.

The environment has to support the actors and not overwhelm the eye. So although I am hoping the foyer will be a riot of colour, the playing space itself needs to be calmer to allow the colour in the clothes to stand out.

I have just been standing in the Courtyard Theatre for an afternoon, explaining the principles of our plans to hopefully reuse the structure to house not just a studio theatre, but also a costume store and new rehearsal rooms; I was struck by the great affection that many of the RSC audience have for the building both inside and out.

There is much to discuss and many possibilities of how the use will work out, but I hope somehow we manage to capture the atmosphere and retain those ghosts of the theatre, just as we did in the new RST.

Exciting that I will be able to have one last big installation in the space that doesn't have to change around for rep, which as a designer gives a much greater chance of really being able to embed the design in the building and blur the boundaries between audience and stage.

by Tom Piper  |  No comments yet


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Teaching Shakespeare