Monday, May 5, 2008

Met. Greeted. Pericles!

Last Wednesday we had our first Meet & Greet of the 2008 season. The Meet & Greet is wherebefore the actors can get down to the business of their first script read-throughtwo things happen: Everyonefrom the stage crew to the actors to the publicists and development department—introduces themselves (which caused much hilarity when the actors attempted to pronounce their unfamiliar, Grecian character names); and then the director, costume designer, and any other members of the creative team who happen to be present let a large group of staff, board members, and other special guests in on their vision for the production. In other words, last Tuesday we got to:

hear about Joel Sass' plans for creating
Pericles' story-upon-story structure, beginning with a group of nomadic types unloading their cart onto a beach in Morocco (or some place like it), laying out a rug, and beginning to spin a yarn that eventually includes the whole epic tale. He spoke a bit about casting, how eight actors and four ensemble members are not just a matter of economy: "it makes sense to have a recognizable mother figure playing different variations on that," to have one actor who keeps playing the baddies (mostly), one who is the revered advisor is then the brothel costumer," "who has fallen completely off his moral axis." He also told us a bit about the otherwise-engaged Greg Brosofske's original scorehow a musical premonition becomes Marina's theme, and how the music helps provide continuity and consistency in this often wild and chaotic storyline.

see Melpomene Katakalos' set, inspired by ancient Middle Eastern cityscapes and archeological relics; and including one magical tree and a set of onstage "offstage" areas constructed from weathered wood and more rugs. There will also be a large water urn in which to float a boat, drown an assassin, and any other watery business necessary!

learn about lighting designer Russell H. Champa's plans to imbue the production with a handful of truly magical moments; to illuminate instruments stashed in the sand; and to trick out clumps of stage grass with hidden light bulbs so that those points can sparkle at will.

look over Raquel M. Barreto's costume sketches, which borrow from different styles and cultures (from ancient Persia to the Caribbean to the world of Japanese fishermen and beyond) while still allowing actors to transform from one character to another with a minimumor maximum, as the theatrical case may beamount of fanfare. Raquel talked a bit about how each stop on the hero's journey is its own world: the dark creepy world of Antioch with its bones and leather, the bright, colorful kingdom of Simonides and Thaisa, et cetera.

Images of the set and costumes to follow tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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