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Dean Asker: A key to the ghost room
In the old RST there was a small room on the first floor from which actors would do interviews with radio stations, organised by the RSC's Press Office. We called it doing interviews 'down the line' using ISDN technology. The room was dark and very unglamorous. This interview request was one I made to Adam Faith (my mother's heart-throb!) who was appearing in a touring show shortly before his death in 2003. The key to the room can also be seen - quite where the dinosaur came from remains a mystery!
Christine Entwisle: Our Sleep
These are feathers from the pillows of the 2009-2011 acting ensemble. In the last few months, sleep has become our most precious commodity. We long for our own beds, for unconsciousness and solitude; the very opposite of the world we inhabit. Deeper than this is the desire for peacefulness and love, to be within something soft and benign, to fall backwards onto something that isn't a fiction.
Helen Hughes: Secret Art
This hand-bound book contains costume painting samples created during my ten years in the RSC's Dye department. Like Prospero's books in The Tempest, this book contains the recipes for illusions; mud, blood, sweat, grime, rain, ash and even snow have been reproduced using all manner of materials. Many of these techniques have been handed down from one Dyer to another. Like Prospero's spells, some are closely guarded secrets, and being displayed in a sealed box allows a glimpse of this 'artifice' without divulging their secrets.
Ralph Koltai, CBE: All the World's a Stage
Jaques: All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances…
Forbes Masson: Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney sweepers come to dust
In 2005, during a production of Twelfth Night directed by Michael Boyd, I stood alone on the old RST stage, singing Feste's final song. As I gazed into the spotlight I saw dust dancing in the air. I imagined the dramatic DNA held within that dust from countless performances on that old stage. So I took some of that air and bottled it. If you look closely you will see the dust still dances.
Men's Costume Department: All Our Best Work
Nine creative minds from the RSC Men's Costume department collaborated to show examples of the skills needed to make costumes of all periods up to the present day. The details shown here might be missed by the audience's eyes but they help to give life to the characters and narratives of the plays. Materials used: leather, linen, wool, metal, silk, cotton, organza, cotton and metallic thread.
Elaine Moore and Charlotte Hobbs: Ophelia's Flowers
We are from different teams in the Costume department but we often work together to enhance the items we create for the stage. From decoration to distressing we give costumes for Shakespeare's characters a recognisable life story. The same effort goes into making crown jewels for the king through to sack (wine) stains on Falstaff's doublet. The smallest detail has to be correct to make the illusion on stage complete.
During the Complete Works, I was inspired take photographs during dress rehearsals when I was permitted. Looking back through the photos, I found this picture from Rupert Goold's Arctic vision of The Tempest. I could vividly recall this moment as Ariel, played by Julian Bleach, emerged from the carcass of a seal, horrifying the other characters. It was a highly disturbing piece of imagery. I liked the concept of opening a box to reveal this rather sinister image just as Ariel emerged to shock audiences each night.
Veronika Weidenhiller: The Many Faces of Shakespeare
This piece is made from fabric scraps from many different costumes I made for the RSC. There is fabric from various shows, including Twelfth Night (2005), The Comedy of Errors (2005), Speaking Like Magpies (2005), The Canterbury Tales (2005), Great Expectations (2005), Women Beware Women (2006), The Tempest (2006), Henry IV (2007), King Lear (2007), The Seagull (2007), Richard II (2007), Coriolanus (2007), Hamlet (2008), The Taming of the Shrew (2008), The Winter's Tale (2009), Othello (2009) and As You Like It (2009). Can you tell which is which?
Martyn Wood: Exit, pursued by a bear
In The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare moves between the dark mood of the opening three acts and the pastoral comedy of the final two with a strange transition that could be seen as black comedy or high tragedy. Antigonus abandons the baby Perdita and interrupts his final, regretful speech with the cry "This is the chase: I am gone forever." The stage direction then reads "Exit, pursued by a bear." With this famous phrase, Shakespeare presents modern directors, designers and technicians with one of the most interesting and difficult challenges they are ever likely to encounter
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