Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A little holiday present to myself (and to you!)

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This post contains specifics about the show itself, and how we're achieving certain elements or designing certain aspects. If you want this kind of thing to be a surprise to you when you see it, skip this post!

So last weekend I drove out to Downers Grove, IL to buy myself a little item I found for sale on Craigslist. I'd been keeping an eye out for one of these for a while because it could potentially be part of "The Last Unicorn," but I needed to get my hands on one to know for sure.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am now the proud owner of a cow skull. If I owned a digital camera I'd post a pic of that here, but it'll have to wait for now.

Give you three guesses what it's for in "The Last Unicorn." Okay, I'll just tell you.

Here's the idea: Schmendrick, the Unicorn and Molly Grue get to Haggard's kingdom, which is supposed to be this barren wasteland, right? So since this is a piece of story theater (read: NOT scenery intensive) we're going to represent that by having a cow skull on the ground off to one side. Then, when the Red Bull appears, the cow skull is picked up and becomes the head! Here's a design sketch I did that'll give you the general idea:

I've been going back and forth in my head for a while- would it be better to use an actual cow skull, or to build a puppet one? What if a real skull is too heavy or too fragile? Or what if I get my hands on one and try it out in front of a mirror, and it looks incredibly lame instead of awesome? Because awesomeness is the goal here. But I'm happy to say that 1) the skull is actually extremely light and 2) it looked pretty cool when I was trying it out. I'm still a little worried about how durable it is- it has some cracks, etc., that I'm worried might have happened when I was working with it, and you can tell by holding it that if you ran into something with it or dropped it, pretty much game over. Still, progress! Even if we wind up having to build a puppet head instead of using the real deal, we'll be able to use the real deal as a model or to build a cast.

Pretty cool, huh?


Ian said...

If you're looking for something like this I can get you in touch with the puppet maker who put that one together.

The picture doesn't really do it justice, the bull was basically the skull held in front and a large back-carried framework made up the body.

It was a good effect, not quite as good as the 11 foot giant skeleton, but good.

Oh and Hi Ed.


Ed R said...

Thanks Ian- I love the construction of that one, and had looked into it a earlier this year. I'm starting to be more confident that we want to go with the genuine article if we can, though that may change if the skull I bought breaks after a week of rehearsal. Thanks!

My first thought when I saw your comment was "Holy cow! Someone besides my sister is reading this?" Gratifying. Clearly I have a long way to go before I'm the confident blogger I know I can be.