Monday, January 31, 2011

So, ever since I heard that the Palace was doing "A Midsummer Night's Dream" months ago, a set idea had been bouncing around in my head. I was talking with Geoff, the director, the other day and it got to the point where the idea was actually crashing around my brain and I had to draw it and get it out...

I drew so fast that it was almost illegible, so I fixed up some of the images on photoshop and I will chronicle my ideas here, since they will never be built. Maybe I'll stick them in 3d CAD someday, but until then...

(click for larger image)

Here's a plan of the set, the picture box is about the size of the stage to give you some sort of scale. The set is stationary and adaptable.
-Any blue line is a stationary wall or door.
-The top two red lines are moveable piece of set. The arrows tell you which way they move.
-The bottom two red lines are pieces of scrim/elastic fabric attached at the top and bottom of frames. When light shines from the front, they look like paintings... from the back, they are see through...
-The green lines are 5'-0" pivoting panels with antiqued mirror on the front, leafy junk on the back, and the sides of them look like white birch tree trunks.
-The green circles would be actual tree white birch tree trunks.
-The purple circles are stationary columns.

- Because the set is stationary, I would want any furniture used to be flown onstage from above, like a dining table & benches for the royals during the play within the play. Also, there's a possibility that because everything happens in an interior setting, even in the woods, I'd want some kind of wrought iron beds to be flown in every once in a while when certain characters fall asleep.

- Areas like the downstage area in front of walls A & C could be used as "offstage" entrances for the rude mechanical characters performing the play, allowing the actors to have more stage time, and the audience to see what this acting troupe is like "offstage" when the lovers and royals "can't see them"

(click for larger image)

In the plan, the walls are labeled A, B, C, D, E... these are elevations of how the set would look in the "palace scenes" for each wall. A is farthest to the left... E is farthest to the right... There are the scrim paintings on wall A & E, and the pivoting mirrors on wall C. All the mirrors are facing front and closed to create the illusion of a full wall.

(click for larger image)

These are the same walls as they could be used in various extremes for the forest scenes.

-The paintings on walls A & E are lit from behind, so you can see the birch trees behind them. Because the elastic/scrim is only attached to the frames at the top and bottom, the fairies can pull aside the fabric and walk through the paintings as entrances and exits. One side of the "woods" behind the palace wall could also be lit while the other is dark creating the illusion of appearing and disappearing paintings depending on the lights.

-The moveable section on wall B is pushed all the way back to create a large view into the back forest area when sub-action (fairies, crosses etc.) can happen while the main plot happens within the walls of the set center stage.

-Wall C shows the 3 ways that the doors can be turned and what they would look like. The first panel is perpendicular to how it was in the palace scene, allowing the center orchestra audience to only see a tree. The second pivot is turned partially backwards exposing some of the greenery on the back of the pivot. The third pivot is turned partially forwards, showing some of the mirror from the palace scene. There are many variations you can make with the mirrors, greenery, and "tree-sides" in different scenes including a wall entirely made from greenery, or various confusing mirrors for the mortals to "run into" as the fairies put spells on them. Opening or turning pivots also provides many opportunities for entrances and exits for many of the characters in the woods, especially the fairies.

- Wall D shows another view into the "woods" behind the palace walls when the moveable section of the wall is pushed out of the way. The door next to the big hole in the wall could provide some humor if used by the mortal characters when they enter. (Why open and shut a door when there's a huge hole next to it? Helena could slam the door on Lysander like it should stop him and he could step through the hole... etc.)

Obviously this would be expensive and a nightmare to light with the low levels in the back and higher levels in the front, and the mirrors and such, but it's nice to dream. And its even nicer that I can stop thinking about it now, since I drew it out.


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