Week 4 - Making & rehearsing
Monday 25th January
I had a meeting with Manuela in order to update each other about the work we did during the weekend. She finished the ocelot puppet and the movement of the head that she achieved is great! That made me rethink the toucan's head movement and the possibility of improving it for which I planned to get the puppet back and make some changes. However, when I asked Laura about her opinion during a team meeting later in the day, she said she actually liked the movement and that she rather prefer to keep it like that or to change it herself. I agreed because I believe Laura can do it in case we decide we want to make any changes.
During that team meeting, we talked about lighting ideas we want to discuss tomorrow in the session "Lighting from home" with Rory Beaton, such as doing a sunrise, the possibility of using projection and mainly learning how to use what we have at home. Victoria shared more music that she has been working on as well as a storyboard with sound cues for the puppeteers. The music will be finish by Wednesday and possibly some changes will be made during the rehearsal week. The marketing team have been working on a show copy and a poster. In relation to outreach, one of the Mexicans schools has 7 groups of 30 kids each that would like to have our show and they proposed 8:30am Mexico as the time of the performance. It's very exciting, however, we decided to offer three shows maximum to this school. The time and day still need to be arranged.
In the afternoon, I started adding more details to the toucan's set, such as fruit, a branch for the puppet to stand on the tree and lianas. I also decided to build a base where the layers of trees can be easily placed. This structure will allow Laura to know the exact position of each piece of scenery as well as ensuring that they wont fall when pulling the set to create the illusion of the toucan flying.
Tuesday 26th January
We had a session with Rory Beaton where he gave us some very useful tips to light the show from home. Apart from the use of lamps and torches, he mentioned the possibility of creating "haze" with hair spray or deodorant, the idea of using a TV or a computer screen behind a fabric as a projection, or the option of adding layers to the edit version in order to change colour, brightness, among other things. I think the session made us reflect on the various options we have and the fact that it's just about being creative. I'm glad that as a team, we're feeling more motivated and excited about the project.
In the afternoon, Manuela, Victoria and I were on a call while we were working. Apart from adding some details to the toucan's set, I started doing the whale's environment. I didn't really know were to begin so I decided to approach this set by building individual pieces without planning its final configuration. I built many corals, rocks, seaweed and some fish. Manuela showed me how she's using the texture of the materials themselves to build the set, for example, she used the inside of the cardboard as the texture of the tree trunks. This was a reminder of the playfulness character of puppetry as well as the findings and surprises you get when you experiment. Therefore, the pieces of scenery that I built today were based on the quality of the each material, for example, I used the beautiful texture of some paper that Victoria gave me to build the corals and seaweed.
Wednesday 27th January
Today I've been working on both sets. I included in the toucan's the same technique that Manuela used for the trunk of the trees in the rainforest in order to keep a similar aesthetic. We also decided to both outline the contour of some pieces of scenery with a double line: white and black with the same purpose. Additionally, I found an interesting way of doing tridimensional palm trees with the same paper I used for the corals to give the set some volume.
It was a productive day in terms of making, however, not having a proper space to work on is starting to be a problem. After being on the floor of the hallway the last days, all my body hurts and I can't last that long in awkward positions.
In the morning, we had a session with Oliver where we talked about the workshop. We discussed various activities and started a lesson plan with aims as well as objectives. It was really helpful, specially the advice of writing everything down in order to have a script for the workshop session.
During the production meeting in the afternoon, we updated our tutors and LAT about the work we have been doing the past days in terms of set, music, lighting, marketing and outreach. We now have two UK schools confirmed which is very exciting!
Thursday 28th January
Today was a long day making the sets and in order to finish them I also worked during the night because at the beginning of the week we agreed to give the puppeteers their sets by Friday morning so they can start rehearsing.
Just like we have been doing since the start of the project, we had a couple of Design meetings during the day in which Manuela, Victoria and I would be on a call, each one working in their own stuff and at the same time sharing ideas and content. This has been a bit hard for me since I don't have a proper space to work in my flat and I keep moving around, so I'm not on the screen most of the time but I often come back to check the progress of the team. However, Rebecca joined us today as well as Susannah and Rhian for a while.
In order to finish both sets I had a list of things to do, which also helped me prioritize some things before others in the making process. For the toucans environment I planned to add some other puppets such as seeds, clouds and birds, and I also had to prepare the set to be delivered to Laura. I design both sets to be broken into smaller pieces for an easier transportation. In the case of the toucans environment, it works as a puzzle where every piece has a number in the back to indicate the position on the base. The ocean environment on the other hand, is made of many 'coral islands' that don't have a fixed position on the base. I painted a couple of backgrounds for Rebecca to experiment with and I also made other puppets such as clouds ad fish. I finished the glue by sticking oats to the base of the ocean so I met with Manuela to get some more and finish the set.
We started by making one set each and because I was being faster I took the responsibility of doing the other one as well. However not knowing this since the begging, made me spend more time making the toucan's environment than the whale's, instead of building them at the same time.
Friday 29th January
The sets arrived! The three of them are already with their puppeteers. Laura and Paris got it by courier in the morning and in the afternoon I met Victoria and Rebecca to hand-in the ocean set. It was crazy not sleeping at all last night and I was feeling so tired that I forgot to include the birds in Laura's parcel, so I will have to meet her this weekend.
Saturday 30th January
I met Laura today to give her the birds I forgot yesterday so now she has got everything! In the afternoon, I called Paris because she asked for my opinion about the way she is lighting the ocelot's set. I think she is doing a really good job but I felt that the set looked quite dark when it's supposed to represent the rainforest during the day, so I suggested the use of another source of light from one of the sides in order to smooth the shadows of the trees.
Sunday 31st January
Paris, Rebecca and Laura have been sending me videos during the weekend experimenting with light and although I would like to be with them working, I find this really helpful. It keeps me updated with the work they are doing and also gives me the opportunity to have some input lighting this show.