Monday, November 9, 2009

One more weekend...

It's been a blast. Thanks so much to all of you that have come and loved the show. Those who haven't yet but have been meaning to- we have one weekend left; we close Saturday 11/14. And there's a bit of exciting news- it looks like we're having the show professionally archived on 11/14 at both performances- so if you come that day, don't mind the two cameras! The final show schedule for (this incarnation of) The Last Unicorn is:

Thursday 11/12 at 8 pm
Friday 11/13 at 8 pm
Saturday 11/14 at 3 pm & 8 pm

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More good reviews for "Unicorn"

We've also heard back from Centerstage Chicago and ChicagoCritic- both of them also really enjoyed "The Last Unicorn." Here are links! review

Centerstage Chicago review


Monday, October 19, 2009

And here's that RAVE review I hoped we'd get...

And we get a RAVE from Time Out Chicago. Four stars! Here's the link:

Time Out Chicago Review of 'The Last Unicorn.'

Peter S. Beagle also loved it- so much that it's looking like this version might become the official version they license to other companies. Stay tuned for more info on that- nothing's set, but it's pretty exciting!

Thanks so much to everyone that has come to see the show this weekend, and took the time to tell me how much you loved it. I've never had a reaction like this to a show of mine before, and I'm humbled and grateful.

To be fair, the show hasn't been universally adored. One critic in particular has written a really scathing review. What can I say? It's kind of like in the story- not everyone can see a Unicorn. There will always be someone who looks at something unique and magical and just sees a white mare.

But if you're reading this, I think you're one of the people who will really see the Unicorn. Prove me right, and come see the show.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In honor of opening

I've just gotten home from the opening night of "The Last Unicorn," and I'm a little giddy. Possibly in part from lack of sleep- I hope to remedy that soon. In the meantime, here are some awesome production photos from the show. They were taken by friend of the company TC McGrath. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A preview...

After rehearsal last Monday some of the actors and I got together and shot a little preview for The Last Unicorn. The sound is a little spotty, but I wanted to give everyone a taste of what's in store, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. We decided to film the scene where Mommy Fortuna encounters and captures the Unicorn for her Midnight Carnival. Check it out!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Works in progress

Been caught up in rehearsals for a while now, but here's a status update: things are going pretty well. We've finished blocking all of act 1 and are into act 2. Also, things are progressing nicely with the puppets and mask type stuff that I'm working on. Many things are decidedly still works in progress but as we come into the home stretch I'm pretty confident I'll finish on time. Here's a sample of what I've been working on:

First, Kyla who plays the Unicorn and Amalthea, modeling the unicorn head:

It's important to note that she does NOT wear this the whole play see my earlier post on how to represent a unicorn on stage- but we've created an intentionally goofy version of a unicorn head to be the illusory version that Mommy Fortuna enchants the Unicorn with during the Midnight Carnival scene.

Next, I've been making progress on the puppet/icon things for the Robin Hood procession- I'm not finished painting it by a long shot yet, but here's a look at the Maid Marian icon- it's put together enough that you can get the general idea at least:

I'm pretty pleased with how things are progressing, but there's still a lot to be done. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Meet some of our adopted unicorns!

We launched the "Adopt a Unicorn" donor recognition program in mid-July, and already we've gotten several people who've shown their support for Promethean and The Last Unicorn by donating and receiving unique customized artwork by artist Courtney Thomas. We'll be posting them in the lobby during the run of the show, but I love these so much (great work, Courtney!) that I thought I'd also give you a peek at them here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nikos and Mabruk

I managed to figure out what I was doing wrong (or, at least, what I was doing most wrong) with my digital camera, so I have more visual treats for you. This photo series features two more masks for "The Last Unicorn" (and, in a supporting role, the radiator in my kitchen).

First, I've finished the mask for Mabruk (at least, before he turns into a monster):

I decided to go with really bold color schemes for each of the masks- Mabruk's obviously, is green. I tried to infuse it (especially the brow and the shape of the eyes) with some of the cruelty of the character, to contrast with the other older wizard we see in the story, Nikos:

Nikos is Schmendrick's mentor, and is seen primarily in flashbacks. In my interpretation, he's supposed to be kinder and more melancholy than Mabruk, though the fact that they both will be masked helps heighten their similarities as entities of mystery and power- they have what Schmendrick wants.

Last but not least, I have much better photos of the Mommy Fortuna mask- I decided to give you all another look at the old girl, though it's becoming increasingly likely she won't be used. But the variations in the purple show a lot better under this new camera setting. Enjoy! More info soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blogging here there and everywhere

One reason I've been blogging here less lately is that I'm actually also working on a blog elsewhere- at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs website. Promethean Theatre Ensemble was chosen to participate in the DCA's Incubator program in August- basically, we have the use of the DCA's Studio Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center downtown to workshop new material. I'm splitting the time with some of my other Promethean compatriots, but I'm workshopping two new-ish scripts of mine. One, "The Peculiar Case of Dorothy Gale" is a sort of creepy-campy take on the Wizard of Oz that reimagines it as an HP Lovecraft story. For more info, check out my blog post about it at the DCA website, here. The other piece is a stage adaptation of several different stories by the author John Collier. For more info on that, please check out my blog post on THAT one at the DCA website here. Most importantly, if you want to see a presentation of what we're working one, we're doing a performance absolutely FREE at the Chicago Cultural Center on Monday 8/31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theater. Please come check it out! Like I said it's free, but space is a bit limited so I encourage you to make a reservation by clicking here. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What this story means to me.

Why am I adapting and directing this new stage version of "The Last Unicorn?"

Time to get a little personal, and consequently maybe slightly weird.

Like so many of you, the first time I encountered the story of "The Last Unicorn" was via the animated version as a kid. I grew up in Raleigh, NC, and we'd often visit my grandparents in nearby Pinehurst. A frequent activity while visiting was heading down the street to the mom-n-pop video rental place and picking up a movie or two to watch. For a while, I would always insist on the animated version of "The Last Unicorn" being one of them- I'd watch it over and over again. When I was in my early teens, I had a life-changing moment when I found out that there was a NOVEL on which the movie was based (I was a voracious reader of fantasy novels back then; I was kind of stupefied that I had never found the novel before). So I devoured that, and it's been one of my favorite books ever since; I've owned several copies of it (including one that I loaned to a famous director...who never gave it back. She knows who she is. It's ok, I bought another copy. Eventually.) I remember being tremendously excited when, as a freshman in high school, I found a VHS copy of the movie version for sale while I was in Toronto. So the story and its characters have been with me most of my life- certainly as far back as I can remember. I really connected with a lot of the themes even as a kid- I knew a lot about what it was like to want to be spectacular but to sometimes fall short (like Schmendrick, and even poor Mommy Fortuna). I understood what it was like to feel uncomfortable in my own skin, like Amalthea. That theme of transformation has always been an important part of stories that compel me- whether The Last Unicorn, the ORIGINAL version of The Little Mermaid, Swan Lake, or even werewolf movies (which I also find awesome.) I later went on to appreciate many other works by Peter S. Beagle- but "The Last Unicorn" is special to me. It's a story that won't leave me alone- as a director I feel like it's something I almost have to get out of my system before I move on to other projects. Not that this won't be a pleasure to direct- I am obsessed with this story and can't wait to share it with everyone on stage, (i.e., on my turf as a theatre artist). Also, it's a great chance to connect with other people who love this story as much as I do- I will probably be at most of the performances, and I would love to speak with any and all of you to whom this great story means as much as it does to me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's a fella's prerogative to change his mind...

....ah, rewrites. As we've been working to make this new adaptation of "The Last Unicorn" as strong as possible in the past few months, we've found that many of the choices I made in previous drafts have had to fall by the wayside. I thought I'd mention one of the biggies here so you aren't too shocked when you see it:

We've decided we want the same actress to play both Amalthea and the Unicorn.

I know, I know- I had planned on them being played by different actresses. In fact, you may recall I did an entire post explaining in detail why that was a good idea. Well, several rewrites and table reads later I've come to a different point of view. I think that it helps the audience (especially audience members who aren't as familiar with the story) to be following one actress as the protagonist across the entire performance. It gives the Unicorn a stronger emotional arc and makes the audience more invested in their journey if they don't have to overcome that mental hurdle of having a completely different body playing the role for most of Act 2. Having one actress play both has its own challenges -we now have a pretty fast quick change to pull off near the end of the show, for one- but one of the benefits is we get to further utilize the talents of ensemble member Kyla Embrey- who I already knew was going to be a fabulous Amalthea, but am now pleased to announce will be playing both roles. Yay Kyla!

Another change- we have completed casting for "Unicorn," and I'm very pleased with the team we've assembled. One post on this blog discussed mask design for Mommy Fortuna. Originally I had thought that we weren't going to find an age-appropriate actress for the role- in fact, we may have wound up with one of the talented but decidedly twentysomething ladies of our ensemble in the role- thus the mask. I was delighted to have some fantastic age-appropriate ladies audition, and now that one of them has joined the cast as Mommy Fortuna, I'm thinking the mask is less necessary. Haven't made the decision for sure, yet, but I think we'll figure it out pretty quickly in rehearsals.

What can I say? It's a fella's prerogative to change his mind. : - )

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Inspirational Music, part 5: The Hazards of Love

I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate some music that I've been listening a lot to lately, especially as I head into final rewrites for the show and seek inspiration for stage pictures, etc: the new album by The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love.

What can I say? I'd never really listened to the band at all, but I heard this album reviewed on NPR, and it sounded kind of neat, so I went on youtube and listened to some of the full tracks that people had posted. Finally, I bought the album* at Border's** and have been listening to it pretty obsessively over the last month or so.

It's a concept album- probably one of the reasons I'm so into it is that it tells a cool fantasy story that involves shapeshifting (like The Last Unicorn!). In this case, the heroine of the story, Margaret, is riding in the forest when she encounters a snow white faun, wounded and trapped in the underbrush. She tries to free it, but the faun transforms into a handsome young man, and they, um...(blushes). So it turns out she gets pregnant, and she wanders into the forest to find the young man again. They meet and set up house together in a one of the forest bowers- but complications ensue. The reason the man is a shapeshifter is that he's the adopted 'son' of the Forest Queen- a Titiania-like force of nature that has absolute dominion over the forest. She's also fiercely jealous and overprotective of him and sees Margaret as a threat. In order to get her out of the way, she enlists the help of the Rake- a wandering womanizer, rapist and child murderer (he killed his three kids after his wife died because they were making it too difficult for him to put the moves on the ladies. He's not very nice in other words) who is only too glad to despoil and destroy our heroine. So the shapeshifter guy has to cross a terribly dangerous river to rescue his true love. Here are some tracks for you to listen to, with a bit of explanation about each. If you like what you hear, I strongly encourage you to download the album- we should use our cash to encourage this band to make more art like this!

First, the song The Wanting Comes in Waves- it's a conversation song between William, the shapeshifter, and his 'mother' the Forest Queen. The refrain of it actually gets me a little weepy, and it's a pretty cool tune that forwards the plot- he basically tries to bargain with his mother to be allowed at least one night of happiness with his love.

Second, the Rake's Song- this is the song the villain sings that introduces us to him. It's a lot of fun and also horrifying at the same time.

Third, the Queen's Rebuke. This is the first song I ever heard from this album, and it's AWESOME. The group got a guest artist (Shara Worden, of My Brightest Diamond) to sing the character, and she really gets to kick some ass during this song. It also fooled me- it made me think this band was really metal sounding, but apparently this is an unusual sound for them. In this song, the Queen appears to talk with the Rake once he's kidnapped Margaret.

OK, last one I promise- Annan Water. Remember that dangerous river I told you about- in the Queen's Rebuke the Queen works magic to get the Rake and Margaret across, but William is still stuck without a way to cross- and apparently this river is SUPER dangerous- like so full of rapids and whirlpools that there's no way to safely cross through conventional methods. So William sings this song in which he bargains with the river- telling the river that if it will calm and allow him to pass, he'll allow the river to claim him after he saves his true love. And the river hears him and agrees. This song gets me choked up a bit too- the part where he actually prays ("And if you calm...and let me pass...") is really pretty.

So that's all I'll post here, but I really encourage you to check it out- there's more awesomeness on this album than can be contained in a single blog post.

P.S.- tickets to "The Last Unicorn" went on sale July 15th. To reserve tickets either buy online at or call (773) 305-2897!

*Music executives: my story is why you are idiots for being overly restrictive and litigious about posting of songs this case my ability to listen online led to me paying you money!
**who are discontinuing CD sales! Stupid move, Border's, no more of my money will you get!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I'm not a photographer, the sequel.

Would you like to see the mask I made for Mommy Fortuna? Of course you would. Sorry the photos came out so blurry! The mask is actually a lot more purple than in these pictures. The idea I'm playing with currently is that each of the three older magic users in the play will go masked- Mommy Fortuna's dominant mask color would be a deep purple, Mabruk's mask would be a deep green, and Nikos's mask (due to connection with Schmendrick) would be some kind of blue. We'll see how that develops. We had auditions this past weekend, and the downside of building a mask before you cast a show is that the actress you find might not necessarily be able to wear it. Well, if that's the case, I'll just make a new one- and I'll have a pretty cool extra witch mask. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!

 go on sale for "The Last Unicorn" tomorrow! I know the show's not till October, but I wanted people who might want to plan to travel to see the show- especially when Peter S. Beagle's there opening weekend on 10/17 and 10/18- to be able to plan way in advance. Speaking of which- those two performances are likely to fill up pretty fast. If you're planning on seeing Peter at the show you ought to get tickets to those performances soon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Hi everyone. Sorry I'm so sluggish about posting- things have started to get really busy on my end. We had another reading of the script last night, and I got some good feedback as I head into what will probably be my last rewrite of the script. We're also having auditions this weekend (interested Chicago actors, check the Promethean website for details!). I'm hoping to step up my posting frequency soon, but in the mean time, here's a little video courtesy of Adult Swim that almost made me spray my computer screen. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Building an FAQ

One thing I've been thinking about as we get ready for "The Last Unicorn" is what information people who might be interested in seeing the show would need to know if they visited our website. With that in mind I've been working on an FAQ to add to the site. Take a look- do any of you have questions about the show that aren't being answered here?

FAQ for The Last Unicorn

“The Last Unicorn?” What the heck is this?

This is a staged adaptation of “The Last Unicorn,” the beloved fantasy novel by Peter S. Beagle, adapted to the stage by Ed Rutherford and presented by Promethean Theatre Ensemble.

“The Last Unicorn.” You mean the animated movie?

Nope. The animated version was an adaptation of the novel as well. Peter S. Beagle wrote the screenplay for that, so it is a well done and fairly faithful screen adaptation, but it is distinct from the novel. This is a stage adaptation of the novel and doesn’t draw on the movie version at all.

Why are you doing this adaptation?

Our adapter and director, Ed Rutherford, is a fanatic for this story. He loves it, thinks you would love it, and wants anyone and everyone to experience it. Since he’s a theatre artist, his preferred way to share this story with everyone is through live performance. The script he has developed is also an excellent fit with our company’s mission.

Is it true that Peter S. Beagle is coming to see the show?

Yes! We’ve already made arrangements for him to attend opening weekend. He will be at the opening night performance, Saturday 10/17 at 8 p.m., and at the Sunday 3 p.m. matinee the next day (10/18). He’ll also participate in a post show discussion

I want to find out more about the original story. How do I buy the book (or the movie)?

We’re so glad you enjoyed it! Please click here for more information on ordering books or DVDs.

How did you get permission to do this?

This production is being offered as a one-time event by special arrangement with Conlan Press and with Peter S. Beagle’s approval.

Can I license a production?

UPDATED- Yes, this is now possible! If you are interested please email

Let’s talk nuts and bolts. How long is the show?

The show runs about two hours and thirty minutes (subject to change- we haven‘t finished rehearsals yet!), including a fifteen minute intermission about halfway through.

When are performances?

The show runs from October 16-November 14, with performances Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Official opening is on Saturday 10/17 at 8 p.m., so there is no Saturday matinee that day.

How can I get tickets?

Starting July 15, you can go here to buy tickets online. You can also make a reservation by phone by calling (773) 305-2897. Please wait until July 15- we can’t honor phone reservations made prior to that date.

Where is the performance space?

City Lit is located at 1020 W Bryn Mawr Ave in Chicago, on the 2nd floor of Edgewater Presbyterian Church.

How do we get to your performance space?

The venue is very accessible to public transportation; the Bryn Mawr Red Line el stop is only a couple of blocks away, and the Sheridan and Broadway bus lines make stops near the venue as well. The venue is very close to the Bryn Mawr exit on Lake Shore Drive too. Parking in the immediate area of the theatre is metered and can be difficult to find; for those who are driving, we recommend the following options:

-Look for parking in the residential area west of Broadway. Parking there is free and relatively easy to find, and it’s still a pretty short walk east to the theatre.
-For evening performances only, valet parking is available across the street through Francesca’s, the Italian restaurant across the street at 1039 W. Bryn Mawr. Their fee is $8; let them know you’re there to see a show at City Lit Theater. While their food is excellent and we highly recommend them, dining at their restaurant isn’t required. Make sure you pick your car up before 11 p.m.

Unicorns? This is a kid’s show, right?

No! This piece (and its humor) is designed for grownups to enjoy, with grownup themes and ideas. It isn’t children’s theatre.

But is it still appropriate for my kids?

We welcome kids, but they must have their own ticket and be able to behave appropriately during the show. As far as potentially offensive content goes: the d-word and the h-word do get used a few times, and some of the scenes (with the Harpy or the Red Bull, for example) may be a little intense or violent for very young children. Otherwise it’s pretty kid-safe.

This project is beyond awesome. I want to support it. How can I help out?

We hope you’ll consider Adopting a Unicorn. (more on this in a later post!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A leetle announcement....

Hey everyone,
Sorry it's been a while since the last post. I've been helping to get Measure for Measure closed first. Also, this past weekend we had auditions to figure out who in Promethean's ensemble is going to be in The Last Unicorn. And we've decided! Without further ado, let me introduce you to...

Kyla Embrey- she'll be playing Amalthea and others.

Derek Jarvis- he'll be playing Captain Cully and others.

Nick Lake- he'll be playing Schmendrick.

Brian Pastor- he'll be playing Lir and others.

They and approximately ten other awesome actor/storytellers (auditions in July!) will be helping tell this great story. Stay tuned for more info!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What was Mabruk about to do?

I wanted to talk real quick about another moment from "The Last Unicorn" that I've been working on: Mabruk. As a reminder, he's the old evil wizard that Haggard already has in his employ when Schmendrick, the Unicorn and Molly arrive at the castle. When Haggard realizes that despite Mabruk's undeniable power he actually might be made happier by Schmendrick's incompetence, Mabruk is summarily dismissed. Mabruk isn't happy about that- so he starts to work some terrible magic to get revenge. Now, the question (not really answered in the book) is, what exactly was Mabruk going to do? He gets interrupted by Amalthea, so we never find out. This is one of the parts of the play where I think a little mask and puppet design would help:

First you can see the mask- this is an old sketch and though I like the bushy eyebrows I might not include the moustache- I'm thinking I want to use the same mask for both Nikos (yes, Nikos actually appears onstage in this adaptation!) and Mabruk- just use different beards. So I can highlight similarities between the two- both are masters of the trade to which Schmendrick aspires- just one is nice, and one is...not-so-nice.

As you might be able to tell from the sketch, here's my idea for what Mabruk was about to do- in our adaptation, he turns himself into a huge, horrible monster. He's vindictive enough that he wants to get his revenge on Haggard personally. So we've got these monster arms I've started work on that other actors will manipulate, while we give the actor playing Mabruk a little extra height as well by hoisting him up. The third component of this moment is some sort of monstrous face that Mabruk will put on as well- a second mask on top of the first one. I'm still mulling over what I want it to look like, but I'll post a sketch when I've decided. Cool, huh?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cut Scene Comic 5: A Hero is Born

At long last, here is the (probably final) cut scene comic: A Hero is Born. It's about Hagsgate, and Lir. It made me a bit melancholy to work on this one, because it signifies something some of you may have already been suspecting: we had to cut Hagsgate from the script. I felt bad about it, but there is precedent- Peter also cut that sequence from the animated version too. Anyway, we'll all know what was really going on with Lir's backstory. This comic will be in the lobby of the show too, to give the audience more detail during intermission if they want. Here goes:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Good news! I got my actual grant check from the city of Chicago today. That means I can go out and buy the materials I need to keep working on the puppets and masks for "The Last Unicorn." Preparations continue apace. In the meantime, here's a deeper look at the current project my company's working on- a scene clip (video by Jill Vanc) of Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure."

In this scene, Angelo (Brian Pastor) puts the moves on Isabella (Beth Wolf). Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Measure for Measure"

Last night we just had a lovely opening for Promethean's current show, "Measure for Measure." I'm not in this one, but have been working on it extensively behind the scenes and am really pleased with it. Thought I'd share some additional photos from the show (taken by Radim Rotek) here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A few fun photos

Hey everybody,
So I continue to study mask and puppet making, and I wanted to share with you some of the results my training is yielding- first, the butterfly puppet- the photo quality isn't great, but it should give you an idea of what it looks like. This is probably the actual puppet we'll use in the show:

It's pretty looking and also very sturdy (believe me, I've tried to shake it apart) but it also has a simple enough design that you can figure out its component parts, which is important to me in this case since simplicity of design is part of my theatre company's mission.

Here are two masks- a Butterfly and a Satyr- that I've also been building in mask class.

They probably won't be used in "The Last Unicorn," - or at least, not in this production of it- but I'm really pleased with how they came out. I've started initial clay sculpting to build the shape of the Mommy Fortuna mask next- I look forward to showing you those results as well!

Friday, May 8, 2009

"The Last Unicorn" Salute

As Promethean Theatre Ensemble has continued to prepare for "The Last Unicorn," a certain gesture has begun to be used more and more often. I'll do by best to describe it here. We used it more before we announced the season, especially if we needed to refer to the show among people to whom the show had to remain confidential. Even after we announced the season, this gesture has continued to be in use. Without further ado, the Last Unicorn Salute:

1) Put your fist up to the center of your forehead

2) Keeping your fist there, point your pointer finger out away from your head like a unicorn horn.

3) Gesture with the 'horn' out away from your face, in sort of a "To the moon, Alice!" gesture.

Yeah, I know, it's a little dorky, but it entertains me.

If you really want to crack me up when you see me at the show, do that gesture.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Robin Hood and his Merry Men

Things are proceeding nicely with preparations of the masks and puppets for "The Last Unicorn." The Butterfly is completed- I wound up making some alterations to the design- and now that I have a digital camera at my disposal I'll be posting a photo here shortly (look for it later this week). In the mean time, I want to examine another design that I've been wrestling with for a while now- how best to represent the scene where Schmendrick accidentally conjures up Robin Hood and his Merry Men at Captain Cully's camp. Their procession has to have something special about it- more than just actors in costumes. There has to be an element of arresting spectacle to it. So for each of the Robin Hood characters we need to represent (Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Alan a Dale, Little John, and Will Scarlet are the ones we chose. Sorry Friar Tuck!), I decided to create a sort of puppet that's a lot more like a processional banner that the puppeteer carries than anything else. Here's the initial design (which has since changed):

This was before I knew for sure that we'd be in City Lit- it's a lovely, intimate space, with the downside that the hallways backstage are pretty narrow and the ceiling is pretty low. So instead of these medieval banners, I decided to convert them to icons that are carried/brandished by the actors holding them. The body, instead of free canvas, will be stretched canvas on a wood frame. In the original design, I was going to use styrofoam wig heads painted over for the faces on top, but it was pointed out to me by my mask and puppetry instructor that that's a little bit shoddy, especially since he's just finished teaching me how to build several different kinds of masks. So instead we may go with some sort of simply, unadorned cardboard/papier machet or Venitian style mask above each image. Regardless, the faces should be relatively featureless and blank- the real detail and specificity comes from what's shown on the icon/banner below:

The idea is that each icon should be an illuminated page of text, from a medieval tale of Robin Hood. Each page deals with the character that the puppet/icon represents. What I actually put is going to be dictated by room, but since it's a little hard to read I'll put here what's written in the sketches:

Robin Hood:
"Robin Hood knew then that the Sheriff has penetrated his disguise. Removing his false beard, he once again bravely took aim at the target. Once again, he easily pierced the bullseye, and immediately drew his sword and called for his merry men."

Maid Marian:
"Maid Marian moved silently through the forest towards the glen inhabited by Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Her heart beat fiercely as she stealthily stole through the shadows. Would she reach her love in time to warn him of the Sheriff's plan?"

Little John:
"Little John stood astride the bridge. 'None may pass,' he said. Robin approached and said, 'If I best you in single combat, will you allow us to pass safely?' 'Aye,' the Giant rumbled."

"Alan-a-Dale began to play his lute. At once, the Sheriff and his men dropped their weapons and began to yawn. Soon they were all fast asleep. Being merciful, Robin ordered his Merry Men to leave them unharmed where they lay."

Will Scarlet:
"Will Scarlet merrily juggled his daggers as the Sheriff's men approached. With a flick of his wrist, one of the men fell down with a dagger in his heart. 'Fine sport today, eh Robin,' Will called joyfully.

I bought the stretched canvas yesterday, and I'm excited to see how these work out!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why I'm not a photographer

Sorry posting here has been a bit sluggish of late. I'm very busy helping work on marketing and PR for Promethean's latest show, "Measure for Measure." Actually, we just took some initial publicity photos last night. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm light years away from being anything even remotely resembling a professional photographer, but I'm also pretty pleased with the results. Advice for other theatre companies who need to take press photos but have no idea how to really use a digital camera:

1) The flash is your ENEMY. If you use it your pictures will look especially amateurish. It's impossible to do anything interesting with light when the flash is on.

2) It's worth investing in some way to keep your camera steady so you can do a longer exposure without blurring. Ideally your photographer should have hands still enough that they could do surgery. I lost way too many shots to blurriness because my hands are Shaky McShakington. We didn't have a tripod so finally I had to sort of lean the camera against a table to keep it steady!

3) I'm now officially sold on digital cameras being the wave of the future- see below. If *I* can get results this decent, anyone can with a little patience and care.

Without further ado, here are the three publicity photos we've chosen. I've decided they act out a little story. For your entertainment, I'd added captions. By the way, the two actors are our leads, Beth Wolf as Isabella and Brian Pastor as Angelo. Will they also be in an upcoming play I'm directing involving a mythical animal??? I'm not telling. : - )

Picture One:

Isabella: "Dear Lord, please make Angelo spare my brother."

Picture Two:

Angelo: "Sure I'll spare your brother. As long as you >whisper whisper whisper<...."

Picture Three:

Isabella: "As long as I say WHAT now?!"