July 11, 2010 at 10:11 am | Posted in Ensemble, Physical Theatre, Psychophysical Training, scenography, Theatre, theatre design | 1 Comment
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I’ve been working for a few weeks now with Mike Thresher on getting together a scenography for the piece. There’s a always a balance to be found between needing uncluttered space in which dynamic physical work can (safely) take place while still creating a coherent visual environment that is more than simply a semi-neutral backcloth to the action. It is a negotiation made particularly difficult when (as I often do) I am working to an aesthetic that is relatively timeless and often of floating geography! In “The Shattering Man” the action takes place  on the battlefield, in a forest, in the interior of Macbeth’s castle and – most importantly – inside Macbeth’s mind. All that is compounded by the ‘framing’ which sees the story being told by an old man (the porter) who is sitting on the beach waiting for the end of his life – so we need to evoke both a sea-scape and a sense that we are actually in the porter’s head as he imagines what was going on in Macbeth’s head…..

And of course – there’s very little money to spend…

I’m pleased with where we are getting – a simple set of steps that allows us to suggest the threshold between the interior and the exterior, the domestic and the public, the land and the sea. I’d really like masses of old rope and fishing nets but don’t know where to source them.

I’m wondering about lighting the whole show with paraffin lights – health and safety, health and safety… mustn’t do anything risky……

I love the collaboration that takes place with a designer. An intelligent visual imagination alters how I understand the possibilities of the script – especially this script where so much of my attention has been on the quality of the sound world that the piece must inhabit.


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  1. I always find the idea of design, be it scenic or lighting or costume an interesting challenge. Specifically in projects where it is a new group coming together to create something that is slightly unknown. The small pieces like that of a staircase can have such a large amount of play in it. And it is never really known until one starts to play. Small props or a pair of glove that can seem insignificant at the beginning can have such power but the end of the process because of the energy, story and work that is put into them/around them.

    There is also an interesting challenge that you mention that I describe as the creation of space/place. How is this accomplished in a live performance.

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