Saturday, December 22, 2012

THE CHILDREN'S HOUR at Lakewood Playhouse

The finished product at Final Dress.  A great team to work with all around.  Thank you Larry, Kim, Hally, Alex, Heather, et al.  Thank you, John, for the opportunity.  

A very simple set of elevations for a very tight show.  The effect should be very dramatic for this classic by Lillian Hellman, Directed by John Munn, and blessedly painted by Kim Izenman!

Visit Lakewood Playhouse online for more production information.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Dickens Project - Virtual Immerson in Literature

Over the past four years I have had the growing desire to explore how the Virtual World can extend the immersion of a live voice presentation of literature.  The Dickens Project is a beta test of that idea, and so far the test is pretty successful.  The idea being that the environment supports and promotes the literature, much as a stage set does, but it is a set that the audience walks through and interacts with in a way that a seated audience does not.  Theme Park?  Perhaps.  But ultimately the environment is a frame for the words spoken in voice.  Without the live activity, its just more pretty data.

The "Big Dream" is to do a much broader build that would allow the performer/presenter to guide the audience through a tour of "Christmas Past", "Christmas Present" and "Christmas Yet to Come" with Dickens' own words as the core - walking in the steps of Ebenezer Scrooge, as it were.

I have been listening to storytellers all week read Dickens words.  I have to agree with my friend Klannex Northmead - a Londoner with a lovely growly voice - who hit it on the nose when he said that most stage adaptations simply lift the dialogue from the book. So much about what makes Dickens a memorable author are the descriptions and side bars he makes along the way.  Some that hit you like a ton of bricks with their wisdom.  Some that are so vivid that you know it could never be fully realized in a live production.  The description of the shops from Stave Three always make me a little light headed, and I suspect has sent more than one Prop Master into seizures over the years.

Here are shots of the beta test environment, and its various interactive elements ...

The Dickens Project in Second Life (c) - Street View
Top View - second level interconnected by walkways
Entryway - Exterior View
Entryway - Interior View with Scrooge & Marley's (sittable Cratchit & Scrooge Desks)
The Grocer's Shop - Exterior View

The Poulterer's Shop - Exterior view

The Grocer's Shop - Interior View (lot's of items to click on an get things)

The Poulterer's Shop - Interior View (likewise, very "clickable")
The Bookseller's Shop - Exterior View

Bookseller's Shop - Interior (copies of selected Dickens' texts available)
Three "Illustration Gardens" running slide shows of images from "Christmas Past"

..."Christmas Present" ...
... and "Christmas Yet to Come" with words inspiring different artists over centuries.

Three Galleries (second level) with panels linked to online resources: Dickens' London

... Notable Scrooges ...
... The Works of Charles Dickens (I love this room!)

Residents of Second Life (c) gathered at The Dickens Project to listen to a live voice presentation of  Stave Three of "A Christmas Carol" read by Kayden Oconnell

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Virtual Settings Continued ...

Virtual setting for presentation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw
This environment includes a "skeletal" raftered roof above and a looming moon overhead. It is very minimal and stark, and what few props are present are very specific to the tale. I cannot take credit for ther "lighting" as it were in the lower picture.  But the photographer immeditately seized on the feel I was going for and chose these settings, much as a good lighting designer would have.  I couldn't have been more thrilled!

Interactive environment from "Anything That Is Wild!" - selections from "The Yosemite" by John Muir
These shots were from a recent presentation of Naturalist John Muir's writings on the Yosemite Valley from 1912.  The pictures in the setting have links to related websites: about John Muir, The Sierra Club, the paintings of Albert Bierstadt.

One of my favorite quips from my technical production days involved the only person I ever worked with who could build a decent looking theatrical tree: "Props are made by fools like me, but only Tim can build a tree."
It occurred to me that THAT is not one of the challenges I face when building virtual sets. The Muir set was built in 2 hours with stuff all "out of stock" in my inventory. It would have taken nothing less than eight weeks in the "Real World", with a full crew, and a whole HECK of a lot of hullabaloo and discussion surrounding the working waterfall and its attendant issues. Someone along the way would have kept hammering home how we needed to keep it under budget. Oh the meetings! Just the thought of it makes my brain hurt.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Virtual Settings...

Have to keep those skills honed!  Even in a sloth-like economy.

For a book series "The Corpse Wore Tartan" by Kaitlyn Dunnet - set in a hotel in Maine

"C.S. Lewis' Attic" fron a short series read from the author's early writings, sitting on a huge 1906 street map of Belfast.

More from the Attic, which includes little details like photos of Lewis as a child and, of course, a wardrobe.

Setting for the Science Fiction Fantasy "All The Traps of Earth" by author Clifford D. Simak

Interactive Presentation Setting for a Dicken's Centennary Celebration

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TALES OF MERLIN THE ENCHANTER for a Derry McMahon ~ Seanchai Library

A Storytelling colleague found herself in a pinch for a setting for a series of Merlin stories from The Hollow Hills and The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart.  I whipped this up for her in a couple of hours. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

THE TURK IN ITALY for Tacoma Opera

Photos Courtesy of Tacoma Opera (c)

Beach Setting - Virtual Model

The Inn - Virtual Model

Geronio's House - Virtual Model