Designer's Dreams and Doodles

We have now opened...

August 16, 2012

Meera and Paul as Beatrice and Benedick in Much AdoThe tech and preview period has been so hectic that there hasn't been time to draw breath, let alone type!

We have now opened (press night tomorrow!) but it was quite a journey. It would have helped if I hadn't decided to redecorate the foyer of The Courtyard Theatre as well as dress the entire auditorium in cables, but I think it has worked.

At one point Kim (Assistant Director), Nina and Holly (the two RSC Assistant Designers) and I were all slapping on the burnt orange, purples and reds that now make up my abstract vision of Delhi, before the RSC painters had time to finish the job.

Nina did a great job adding in sacks, crates and awnings, and a hanging bicycle sculpture. It now has the feel of a pop-up café with a soundscape of Delhi car horns and café music.

The theatre space itself seems to be serving the play as I had hoped; there is a strong sense of the household and everyday activities going on. The actors really feel like they are wearing clothes not costumes, thanks to Himani's strong eye and detail of characterisation.

There was much drama getting the authentic Indian camouflage uniforms made and sent over from India in time, with the plane grounded in a monsoon, but the soldiers do look great and it is quite a shock when they march into the more domestic atmosphere of the Haveli in the Courtyard.

Everybody has loved the tree whose canopy hangs over the whole auditorium, and several actors encouraged me to add details like a tangled kite to the web of cables and string that link it to the theatre's technical levels.

Next we have to work out how to move it into London and make the transition from a thrust to proscenium stage, without losing the intimacy of the current staging.

by Tom Piper  |  1 comment

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Sep 15, 10:46pm

I don't normall post on websites however after bringing 53 students to see a matinee of your production recently I wanted to congratulate you all.
Both myself and the students thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Much Ado in such a wonderfully vibrant production.

They are currently studying the play for their GCSE and since seeing this performance they picked up on so many of the deeper meanings within the play which they can discuss in their coursework.

I personally found your production visually stunning and certainly had a few 'wow' moments. (the memorial when the backdrop revealed the trees and it rained took my breath away, and let's not mention the shadows that the magnificent tree made onto the stage when the lighting from above hit the branches.)

So thank you for making my job easier! Seeing Much Ado like this has created an enthusiasm in my class for Shakespeare!

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Teaching Shakespeare