Today I had coffee with my friend Clare. After coffee this morning we walked over to the theatre where her current show is about to open. On the walk back we past a very old cemetery with rustic iron twisted gates, the kind you would see on Hocus Pocus. On one side of the cemetery wall is a big modern take on a Victorian mansion.....very cool especially on Halloween day.
It also reminded me of Arsenic and Old Lace where the Brewster sisters lived in an old home in a graveyard in Brooklyn.
Here is a sneak peek at The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Click here for show times and tickets.
Here is a better film trailer for Metropolis. I just love this movie!
Getting ready for a video shoot this morning and this time I will be in it! The last time I was on film it was for a reality show, I was on it for a whole 10 seconds. The funny part was I received one persons fan mail.
And now Mr. DeMille....I am ready for my closeup.
Never, never, never use tool to decorate a window with at a wedding, even if a professional talks you into it. Pictured below is ok to do, just not windows....please do not make drapes out of tool for a wedding, nooooo, saw this the other day and I died, just died.
Tonight I watched the 1927 silent film Metropolis. This little film is a masterpiece and is now one of my favorite movies. The art direction will inspire me from years to come, very cutting edge and still holds up. This version that I rented has a 1984 score and works wonderfully to update the film. 80's rock is always fun!
This movie does not have that much subtitle at all and works like more a ballet. The viewer knows exactly whats going on but does not need the subtitle really at all. Visit the official movie website here.
Another great German expressionistic film is The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. You must rent or buy this if you like older movies. I think it might be fun to tackle a set design in the 1920's German expressionistic style.
Today I am watching The Invisible Man, Dracula, Sunset Boulevard and Metropolis. So for I have watched the Invisible Man and I am surprised with the amount of humor this movie has. The design element I loved was was the huge open pain windows without drapes and the bare trees in the background. Very striking. While I type this I am watching Dracula. Love the crypt with all the arches and coffins.
The reason I picked these movies is they all have imposing sets and are very theatrical in presentation.
So a little while ago I designed the set for Man of La Mancha with Fun House Theatre & Film. The company liked the set so much that the director wrote Dracula A Haunted Tale of Dating so we could recycle the set without having to spend a fortune on the next show.
The Man of La Mancha set had warm earth tone colors with amber gels. The Dracula set had to look very much different even though we were using the same bones. We removed the chains, prison bars, and false arch. Next, I painted and washed the set in a light grey water-paint mixture so it didn't looked like a new set piece. We used all the furniture on the set from the theatre stock. This set had light, medium and dark grey gels to give a new life to the set. The satin purple drapes matched the satan cape that Dracula wore and it also looked like his coffin lining. This set reminded me of room in The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland as you might have read in earlier posts.
I own a kooky selection of busts that worked out perfect for this show. They could have been his relatives from the past. The gold picture below had Dracula with his pal Renfield on the piano. I had a fun time changing this set over to a spooky children's show, as Halloween is my all time favorite.
Dracula received a great review from Dallas theatre critic, Alexandra Bonifield! Read below for the entire review!
Every so often they let him out of his dank, dark dungeon. The primordial skeleton key releases the rusty lock, and the immense door creaks open wide its gaping maw. That Duke of Demented Depravity, Dean of Dastardly Jokes and Spinner of Ripping Yarns emerges to unleash another fractured, harrowing hash-up of classic literature upon the stage, assisted by a gimlet-eyed band of pre-teen and teen thespians. It’s Jeff Swearingen and Fun House Theatre and Film’s crew of fearless hench-lads and lasses. Get ready to howl with the agony of hilarity.
This time Swearingen assaults the Transylvanian Tyrant of Terror, Count Dracula. It’s a view of the Count you’ve never seen before. “Dracula –A Haunted Tale of Dating” recounts a sad, Gothic tale of the lonely, lovelorn vampire on a quest for a girlfriend. Since he hasn’t dated in 400 years, he’s lost the “knack”, so to speak. Who guides him along the thorny path to romance?
Marisa Mendoza (Lucy) & Riley Flores (Mina)
Charles Dickens’ Miss Havisham, Ozzy Osbourne, a leering, lisping Van Helsing in Viking helmet and Lederhosen, the world’s cutest, blood-thirsty “Hound from Help”, a Vampire Valley Girl Lucy with three smarmy suitor stooges in hapless pursuit, that “disgusting” ruffian Renfield, a Fairy Godmother attired in baby blue gauze, Mina the opportunistic, heartsick ingénue, and the most unlucky man in the world — feckless, sad-sack, Jonathan Harker. And several other demonic denizens of Swearingen’s twisted imagination that add lashings of levity to the screwball scenario. Children audience members giggle with spontaneous glee at perfectly timed and executed pratfalls; grown-ups roll their eyes and groan with painful delight at the “adult” behavior parodies and droll cultural references that fly past their kids’ heads. A good time to be had by all, indubitably, Mr. Watson….
Leads exude well-rehearsed ease and confidence in on stage delivery and characterization not always evident in adult “professional” performances: Jasper Murphy (Jonathan), Riley Flores (Mina), David Allen Norton (Dracula), Marisa Mendoza (Lucy), Alex Duva (Renfield), Doak Rapp (Van Helsing). The supporting ensemble works smoothly together, with each member shining brightly in his or her special stage moment. This cast fully supports each other, comprehends the script and trusts playwright/ director Jeff Swearingen implicitly. Nobody else achieves this superior a level of theatrical veracity in children’s theatre in the metroplex. Joseph Cummings’ romantic, period-hinting set reflects an earthy, storybook-like charm and provides imaginative backdrop for the simple proscenium space. Costumes reinforce characters’ actions and moods or enhance the parody motif in keeping with the script’s intentionally florid style (costume mistress – Bren Rapp). It’s a short run. Fire up your broomstick or hitch that pumpkin coach and four and get there before its goose is long past cooked. Irreverent, but family friendly. Will sell out.
See scary good Halloween, non-Halloween activities for your D-FW youngster. Click here for more information.
Finished dressing the Dracula set today! This set reminds of Disney's Haunted Mansion, it's like the room you never saw on the ride. Fun set pieces I have are a couch and end chair circa 1880 with original green fabric, a haunted piano, a collection of kooky busts of Dracula and Medusa, a crystal ball, a grandfather clock, bunches of old books, a flying bat, a hissing fog machine, purple drapes and a small Cracker Barrel set, sounds crazy!
This show opens Thursday and closes on Sunday check out times here.
Enjoy reading my encounters in and around theatre set design.
"The object of art is to give life a shape" -Shakespeare-