A diary of Tempest work for the week:
Finished headdresses and painting of Ariel as Harpy and as Nymph. A note to the cast on the Friday rehearsal. Reviewed the operation of our lighting control program—Glenn had sent a new upgrade. Bought a chess set for Ferdinand & Miranda, repainted it, glued the pieces in place. Mail-ordered an ooga horn for Trinculo, a ship model as a shadow in the storm scene. Posted the week’s blog. Lotsa errands buying more stuff.
Out to get video samples: to ocean for surf, back around house for tree branches moving against the sky, built fire in fireplace for close-ups of flames & coals, then played with shadows on projection screen (these all to be radically filtered. Completed headdresses on the three identical Ariels, but still baffled on color. Watched rehearsal video to rewrite blocking in promptbook for Acts 4-5. Call from actor asking to have lesser Ariel role because of other heavy production pressures; will check thru script to modify. Email from Dave on costumes. Petty cash receipts to Rep for reimbursements. EF completed a long revision of the audio cue list and its timetable. Managed late-night to write a new scene on screenplay we’re doing with Arturo.
Walked downtown for coffee, studied Prospero’s Act 5. Need very strong physical response on “And mine shall,” almost as if a demon is leaving his body. Folio punctuation useful: addressing the King, there’s always a comma or a line break when Prospero adds “and thy Company” or “and your train.” Suggests a hyperconsciousness of his brother as part of that entourage, a tension in extending hospitality to the sinners. Almost word-perfect now, but need a lot of work on the line breaks and how they affect meaning.
Rest of the day spent on building a Sycorax mask that briefly appears and two shadow masks for Ceres and Juno. Late evening at last attacked painting of the three identical Ariel heads, yellow & gold with a blue/green glaze. I think I like it.
Walked downtown for coffee, studied Prospero/Miranda (Iii). Struck especially by how the verse structure moves this long story forward with an obsessive force—will write more about that next week. Into work on the stands that are to hold puppet heads by the end of the play: hands rising from each vertical. These are vinyl surgical gloves stuffed with batting, taped to PVC that sets into wider PVC. I had made all 12 of these last week, then neglected to test the spray paint on them before spraying all 12 and discovering that the enamel wouldn’t dry. So today I did it all over again.
Most of the day working on the stands for heads, hemming the cloth, then painting them with dye and adding a twisted rope. They look interesting, though it’s utterly unclear what they represent. Reblocked the opening of Act 5 so that we see them all bare on stage at the outset. All of Act 5 is blocked now, with only a few points where the multiple casting runs into problems. Started work on the Spirits, improvising a series of stage crosses; they need to go from total neutrality as puppeteers to distinctly characterized Spirit movement, sometimes rapidly back and forth. Finished rehearsal by recording the Mariners’ cries during the storm—decision to use only Shakespeare’s lines, no improvisation, recording each actor multiple times, with in intention of overlaying them in the editing, as well as doing several forms of unison.
Worked all day on rehanging and focusing lights, and on Prospero’s hair. Finished the hair except for some trimming & spraying when the glue is completely dry, and started putting some rough light cues into the computer. As with staging, I try to do light cues far in advance and very fast, so that I have plenty of time to get dissatisfied with them and revise. Meantime, sounds of the storm are emerging from Elizabeth’s studio. It’s been a very fruitful week in terms of tech work, but I’ve barely been able to think about the play itself.
Sabbath. To our funky outdoor espresso stand, then to Market, then to the ocean. Deep breath. Rest of afternoon and evening building the stand for Prospero’s magic book, then building the book itself. Pretty crude binding, about on a par with my one foray into bookbinding in Boy Scouts, but hey, it’s a stage prop, it’s a stage prop. Late evening, made the worklist for next week.