Saturday, January 31, 2009

Butterfly in the sky...

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 I felt like giving you all another peek at a puppet I'm hoping to create for the show...the Butterfly. As those of you who read the book (or saw the movie version) know, the Butterfly is insane, parroting whatever songs, dialogue and scraps of poetry it's heard as it flutters out its short lifespan. In the story of "The Last Unicorn" it's similar in many ways to the Cheshire Cat- willfully and cheerfully nonsensical, but offering occasional scraps of wisdom to its Alice (in this case, the Unicorn). So how best to represent that on stage? Here's what I'm thinking right now:

I look at the Butterfly as a sort of riddling, jester character, and as such I want the puppet to be similar in size to a jester's baton. That will also make it easier to pass it from hand to hand, which is important because I want the Butterfly to be played simultaneously by three actors- that's right, three. That helps reflect the diverse and scattered nature of the butterfly's mental state. It also gives three actors a great chance to play off each other and horse around. (or should that be 'horsefly around?' pardon the pun...)

Also, since the butterfly is made up of the scraps of other stories he's heard, I want the pattern on the wings to be text. Right now I'm just filling it in with that old reliable 'Lorem ipsum...' I'm still undecided what text I want to use- right now I'm contemplating maybe using an excerpt from the scene between the Caterpillar and Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Any other suggestions?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Making the sea (alternate title: feeble excuse to post a song I like)

I'm back! Recently when talking about the show with someone who's familiar with the story, I was asked how I'm planning to stage the scenes involving the ocean, and the unicorns being driven into/ released from it. I'm a big believer that the simplest, oldest tricks work best. And I like to think that this piece is going to help people reconnect with a story they were fans of in their childhood (and/or hopefully are still fans of now, like me!). As a kid, did you ever use a bolt of fabric when playing a game, or pretend, or doing a school play, to represent the sea? I'm thinking that something similar could work for the stage production of "Unicorn," if done tastefully. The music video I'm posting below ("Elephant Gun", by Beirut) has a great example of what I'm thinking- I love the whole video and think you should watch the whole thing, but the bit I'm talking about starts at about 2:00. Credit goes to the folks at Strange Tree Group (they used this song as part of their music lineup for their production of "The Mysterious Elephant") for first introducing me to this song- their aesthetic is pretty neat, and if you're looking for a cool show to tide yourself over while you wait for "Unicorn" to open, I'd recommend seeing their upcoming production of "The Dastardly Ficus."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On brief hiatus

Hey gang,
The Last Uniblog is on very brief hiatus- we had an awesome closing for 'The Illusion,' but now I'm on vacation with my family in NC. Look out for new uniblogging next week!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why I'm also not a film editor...

Hi all,
I was tinkering around on my computer and decided to put together a (kind of) fake trailer for the Promethean production of "The Last Unicorn." Would love to know what people think in the comments. Not fantastic quality, but it gets the idea across, I hope. Credit where credit's due- the (absolutely gorgeous) music is the overture to the musical "The Light in the Piazza," by Adam Guettel.

UPDATE: When I posted this on Facebook, someone apparently took exception to the music I chose and had it taken down for copyright violation. Rather than get into a "this constitutes fair use" argument, I'm swapping out the music and replacing it with something I like almost as much that is pre-negotiated by YouTube as fair use. (Thanks, YouTube!) Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Something fishy....

Those of you who also were wee ones in the 1980s may remember a little cartoon series called "Thundercats-" that's right, animated by Rankin Bass, who also animated the cartoon version of "The Last Unicorn." Take a look at this episode of Thundercats (titled "The Terror of Hammerhand") and let me know if anything strikes you as a little bit..."familiar."

Part 1:

Okay, okay, so the unicorns are drawn very similarly, right? But what about....(listen at about 10 seconds in to this second clip)

Part 2:

"Uuuunicorrrn! Uuuunicorrrn!" Sound familiar? I thought so. :-)

Part 3 for kicks:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Two more weekends!

The run of The Illusion is going really well- better, in fact, than we at Promethean had any reason to hope (despite our awesomeness) because of the busy nature of the holiday season. We run for two more weekends, and I highly encourage y'all to check it out. I'm playing the magician's creepy servant. Here's a whole bunch of reviews- curse my craving for fairness, I'm linking to all of them, even though some of them aren't entirely kind (they do all have at least some good things to say, though):

The Chicago Reader

The Windy City Times (we're on page twelve of the .pdf in the link)

The Urban Coaster

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another Youtube series about Unicorns that cracks me up

This series, which may be familiar to many of you, is even more amusing to me than Planet Unicorn. I think it's because it's a lot more of a direct subversion of unicorn myths and quest stories. Instead of being pure graceful creatures, two of the unicorns are evil and annoyingly inane, while the third (the protagonist) is a bitter cynic that horrible things happen to. Without further ado, let me introduce you to Charlie the Unicorn:

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

An ad the creators made for Youtube Live (I love the Rick Astley=Cthulhu idea; I think anyone who's ever been Rick Rolled would agree with the sentiment):

My sister and I will sometimes call each other, say simply "Charlieeeeee" in an inane high pitched voice, and then hang up. What has the internet wrought?!