I’ve filmed some blues sparks and and sequins and layered them on top of the harpy dance, to give drama and an element of the on-stage illusion. It looks like I’d hoped it would, but I’m still uncertain whether it actually improves the animation, or detracts from the character movement.
I went to the ballet yesterday. The costumes were by Jean-Paul Gaultier, so there was a definite bondage twist on the wicked queen’s costume. They updated the story but kept the grace and beauty of the ballet. I really enjoyed it, a ballet dancer’s strength is fascinating, how the make each other look weightless. There were some high wire dances and a good costume change where the queen puts on a robe and pulls of her crown to reveal wild hair as she goes to tempt Snow White with the apple. The two cats were also really well performed.
I made the armatures out of aluminium wire and milliput. Thicker wire for the spine and two strands of thinner wire twisted for the arms. Then I bound the parts together. This was the best method, both Darryl and Steve both suggested to go about things in this way rather than going for a very expensive and heavy armature kit (or the flimsy thing i made first!) The college shop is marvellously well stocked and really cheap for these things. I also went to Tiranti on warren Street (a sculpture supplies store) and the London Graphic Centre.
After some trouble with fimo I opted for plasticine heads and hands that I re-sculpted and updated the design from the first versions. Prosperos eyes are now beads and Ariel just has heavy eyelids instead of eyes. Anyway, I’ve learnt so much about puppet making that I had no idea about before, I’m sure if I did another stop-motion project I’d know how to go about it, having made mistakes. One thing with stop-motion is you just have to spend some money on the necessary bits and bobs, I tried to avoid doing that at first, bad idea! if you want them to move. What about the actual stop-motion animation? That’s the next adventure…
Ariel’s head is more feminine than the previous one and not as grotesque as before. In this photo it looks rather like a Peruvian mummy… especially when I add the proper hair!
Prospero’s head. So he’s a pale grey, I added in some elements of the Tanuki, a raccoon-dog native to japan. He’s now a horse-goat-dog-raccoon with the body of a man.
On Tuesday Amber took me to see Madame Butterfly at the ENO. It was the Anthony Minghella adaptation. The sets were really brilliant they used bunraku puppets. There were plenty of references to Kabuki; the Kurogo stage-assistants operating lanterns birds and puppets. One of the stage sets included the hanging blossoms borrowed from Fuji Musume. It was visually really engaging and definitely helped my project. The opera was imbued with the cinematic, as you would expect form a film director’s vision.
Although some of the costumes didn’t appeal to my eye it was a very imaginative and visually enthralling experience. It is such a moving story, it made me look again at Pjotr Sapegin’s Aria that Shelley showed us when she set the brief. I really love his interpretation of the story. It’s so painful at the end when Pinkerton goes of with Barbie in the Jeep and leaves Cio-Cio to her tragic fate…
One other indispensable discovery was in the Madame Butterfly program. I saw a picture of Sadayakko, and so I’ll tell you all about her in the next blog post….
I have this poster on my wall. I was looking at it this morning and realised how useful the design could be for Backdrop 1 of my set. Just goes to show how good it is to have images around you.
I’ve done the animatic, it came to exactly 1 minute, but there are some bits that are unclear. Especially the transformation and the moving parts of the set. I’m really looking forward to some feedback on Monday. I have developed the character design of Ariel quite a bit since doing the drawings for the storyboard. I feel that now I’ve done this, if I began the storyboard all over again it would be much better! I tried to show the costume change in a different way, but actually I think my original idea will work much better. I intended to have the costume “miraculously” transform on the stage, showing Ariel crouching down and then the outer costume pulls off in a flash of lightning! much more like the costume change in Sagi Musume.
I’m reworking some parts in the middle before I begin the animatic later today. I’m really looking forward to getting some feedback on Monday, I think it will be really helpful at this point. I’ve chosen a three pieces of music I’d like to try on the animatic, to see which works best.
Shelley Page approved my proposed idea for the Transformation of Ariel into a Harpy a couple of weeks ago. She suggested I did a rapid thumbnail storyboard as soon as possible to work out where I needed to spend most time and effort. I’m going to begin a tighter and more explicit storyboard this weekend, but I just wanted to get the ideas down first… before I forget them.
I’ve been busy researching and writing my essay on Kabuki theatre in relation to Shakespeare. I’ve also done a lot of drawings and designs that I want to share. The drawings in this post are from the Frederic Aranda photography exhibition in March that inspired me to look at Kabuki for this brief.
Kabuki actors apply their own make-up, the drawing above is of Ichikawa Kamejiro, a famous onnagata (female role specialist) as he paints a red wax on his eyebrows, to smooth the hair, before painting them black.