Saturday, May 15, 2010

Alice Research

Alice Research

Hey everyone! Krista here, Resident Scenic Designer for Endstation Theatre Company. I am sitting at home in New Haven, CT packing my gear to head to Sweet Briar, VA on Monday. So much momentum has been roaring us towards the festival for summer 2010 and I am definitely ready to get production started. I am also eager to team up with my festival mates for a summer that no doubt will be a lot of hard work, many fun memories, and a great experience for us as well as our audiences.

I have the pleasure of working with a new director this summer on Alice In Wonderland. Susan Myburgh, a fellow FSUer, has inspired us to view our "Wonderland" as Alice would and journey with her into a world she understands and interprets through the wide eyes of a child. How does this world change as she begins to understand the language of Wonderland? When do we lose the sensibilities that children embrace and do we lose that wonder with each shadow of another age gone by? This exploration has proved to be intimidating because it has caused me to review the awareness I have of my own curiosities. As we get older, we tend to forget that maybe there is a monster in the closet or maybe a wiry tree grows just beyond the next grassy hill in the distance. Why don't we care what "might be just around the corner" anymore after we have experienced "real life"? In some ways it isn't fair that the world we experience as adults is duller. This is in no way a blanket statement on adulthood but I think we can all relate to the fact that there are moments in our lives when the blinding sun isn't a beautiful golden shade of yellow, blue skies turn to grey and there are no silver linings... moments we rarely experience as a child.

Susan's thoughts of carnivals, how they smell, what we see, are at the focal point of imagery in my research for Alice, however, my goal is not to recreate a carnival on stage but the feeling of one as Alice moves through the Wonderland. What are the shapes that repeat, the colors that amplify and visually stimulate us; what beautiful disasters come from a whirling, light filled extravaganza?

Color and shape grammar research for Alice In Wonderland

One of the more interesting dynamics we are trying to convey is how Alice's Wonderland and her reality coexist in one picture plane. The challenge would be how we relay this idea to our audiences. One of our ideas involves perching the Prologue within the audience so to make Alice's picnic under an old live oak seem commonplace and "everyday". Isolated by light and position, Alice can safely begin her story in a place relative to her peers. This also heightens her discovery of Wonderland when her curiosity gets the best of her! Down the rabbit hole we go!

Rough Groundplan & Section

Below is a study I did with colored pencil, crayon and a little bit of 4 year old influences. I really wanted to capture the scenic elements in a style that a child would create. I don't want to give too much away so soon. Final color renderings, sketches and plans will be revealed to the cast at the Design Presentations when the festival kicks off.

Childlike representation of scenic elements

Conceptualizing this show is a true escapade for me. On the cusp of my 30th birthday, I'd like to think that my fascination of life hasn't diminished too much. I love living in my imagination, as Alice does... I hope that is enough for me to understand her. I think it might serve us well, this summer, and always to take a lesson from Alice, follow the White Rabbit and look at things from a different perspective. Everything might seem a little brighter, intense and wonderful.

More on the way from Production BRSTF 2010!!!

Krista Franco
Resident Scenic Designer

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