Last week our production coordinator, Kevin Harvell, did a master class with our set and props crew, where they came up with some potential design ideas. The Winter’s Tale is a designer’s dream – it spans sixteen years, two different countries, and contains Shakespeare’s most infamous stage direction, “exit, pursued by a bear.” Our crack crew had a blast coming up with creative solutions to these design challenges! The current plan is to paint four brown marble columns on muslin to represent Sicilian court, which will then get tied together and transform into a tree to create the forests of Bohemia. The bear (I’m so excited about this!) is modeled after a Chinese dragon puppet – one person will manipulate the top of the bear’s head, another the jaw, one person each on the two front paws, and two people in the body/tunnel of fabric in which the actor playing Antigonus will get swallowed.
Left: A Student Sketch of the
Below: Da Bear.
Mount Greylock’s set construction takes place next week, so this weekend I stopped by Lee Middle and High School to help with their set for Richard III. As with all things Fall Festival related, the majority of my job involved sitting back and watching our brilliant students take over. My favorite things about directing are that I get to create learning opportunities for people (ideally both artists and audiences), encourage community building, and set folks up for success. My time at Lee allowed me to do all of those things! I mostly hung out with the talented team of ladies painting a banner for Richard III (top right photo). They’d originally created the boar head design for their poster, but it was so successful that they decided to incorporate it into the set as well.
Other members of the company had designed banners for their characters (bottom right photo), which will be pulled down over the course of the play as those characters are murdered. (… spoiler?) The Fall Festival experience is driven by student input, and it was incredibly heartening to see the actors-turned-technicians take ownership over the construction of their set pieces. “Hey Rachel, what color do you think your chair should be?” one student called to another across the theater. It was a simple gesture that captured the core of the festival’s teaching aesthetic: we ask questions, create experiences, and make our partners look good.