Today has been a quiet day at home. I did not have any gut pulling directions for my work today, so instead I have chosen a day of rest for my brain. I have done some body work allowing my brain to marinate and ponder the many things I have been reading lately, suggestions people have given me etc. allowing myself to think unconsciously while I did things like sew doll clothes and the dishes. I will share the things swimming in my brain:
Once upon a time I was introduced to Viewpoints by director Lane Savadove. Lane is an interesting and challenging director who has always pushed me to do work I might not otherwise have done. I sat in a few rehearsals while Lane led the group in Viewpoints exercises. Coming from a fashion background, this theatrical technique was completely foreign to me. It was described to me in fragments and over time I was able to see how it could be used to unify a group, to create unique and dynamic combinations on stage etc. However, I was left feeling that it was purely an actor/director tool.
Fast forward to Graduate School at Temple University, modern theater/design class and yet another influential Director, Jill Harrison. Jill presented Viewpoints to the class, even let us try out a few techniques in the lobby. Jill described the many different tools in the Viewpoints kit: yes tempo and direction, but also Architecture - how might an actor respond different to the different shapes and textures they were surrounded with on stage? Color - how does a person respond to color, to their color, to the colors around them? In five minutes, Jill literally "fixed" Viewpoints for me and opened my eyes to a whole new world of design and design collaboration opportunities.
Lighting design is so much more ethereal that the other parts of design, at least in my estimation. We are talking about light, not exactly something concrete you can pin down. For years I have struggled to "see" lighting design, but I had no vocabulary for it. I want to thank fellow Temple Grad Christopher Hallenbeck for sharing his terminology. Composition, Visibility, Modeling, Information, Mood, Focus and also Intensity, Color, Direction, Distribution, Texture, Movement. Int he words of designer Howard Binkley "Lighting is creating the scenery and the whole foot print for the choreography...give it an environment."
Here is where things start to overlap - composition is also a viewpoints technique, tempo/duration - both in viewpoints and lighting and both affect the overall movement of a theatrical piece. Direction, focus.
Struggling with a way of approaching design outside the context of a specific script, Brian Grace-Duff has suggested I try to use the vocabulary of Lighting Design to create costumes (in the broad sense of that word). I think this is interesting. A costume with direction or focus. Brian also suggested a costume to give a sense of time of day or time of year - and not in the literal sense of a full length dress means evening, a puffy vest means fall, something more. I am also considering the ideas from viewpoints - what do actors do in satin dresses vs velvet dresses or shaggy dresses? How do they interact with one another in a space, how do they interact WITH that space also. Dynamic relationships. Viewpoints states that we always space ourselves about 2-5 feet apart, and changing that spacing creates relationships. Can I do the same with clothing? If I remove the sleeve of a jacket and place it on the other side of the room, does that force my audience to create a story? A suggested Viewpoints exercise is to choose a color and move and respond to it throughout a room. Can I make an audience do the same? Is that interesting? What about scale/duration? How long does a dress go on for as she walks across stage, the dress trailing and trailing and trailing. What if the dress was too big for the room? Can architecture tell me what kinds of clothing to make?
Shape is "quite simply the art of depression and protuberance" - Rodin Tension, expansion and contraction, In and out, open and close. Respond to shape in shape, let the shapes take you on a journey. There is something here. A kernel, a something. I am trying really hard not to grab at it because I fear it will skitter and hide. It will come out when it is ready I hope!