Go Team Woyzeck!

More than anything I wanted to add a little note of thanks to you all! Its been a challenge to work in a large group, especially a group of 8. The throwing around of ideas and suggestions can something cause abit of a debate or conflict, and i’m sure there were a few moments of this. Generally I feel we all contributed some great ideas and we managed to listen to everyone and develop these into the performance. I have already mentioned how less-stressed I have felt for this module in particular, I think thats because we had an enthusiastic and commited team, even with 3 members of the group who commute everyday, so thank you to you guys who had the extra effort of travelling. I have throughly enjoyed this module and working with you guys =) What a fab performance, if im totally honest, I didn’t expect for our audience, particularly the tutors to be as impressed as they were. Not because I think the performance didnt involve a lot of be impressed with. I guess seeing the performance from an outsiders point of view creates a whole different perspective. Being involved in the process removes the element of mystery and anticpation in comparison to first time spectator. Which is why I think the promenade was so successful. The audience can engage with the action and literallymove with the play. This adds a whole new dimension to the theatrical experience in comparison to what is usually expected when you prepare to watch a play.

Looking foward to working with you again soon. In the mean time, have a relaxing reading week!

Amie =)

Posted in Blog Communication, The Performance | 2 Comments

The sound of Woyzeck and how its score affected the performance

In this Dramaturgical performance and for our final performance we have chosen to make the audience see the world through the eyes of Woyzeck, in order to create this we needed to block accordingly and to have the right “feel” or atmosphere for the piece. In the music we found a means, for instance we had a heavy influence from the playwright Antonin Artaud. The reason for this was that since Woyzeck is going mad internally we wanted to show the audience a slice of his life in a way that makes them empathise with him, the best way to do this would be to show the world as the ever changing chaotic force and not the character himself. Artaud believed that he should bring his audience to a state of shock to his audience to promote catharsis as he believed that his audience needs to be cleansed. How he used to achieve this was through performances and music, the music was used as an extension to the storytelling and that’s what we hoped to achieve.

The music used in this piece was all instrumental and used alternative instruments, for instance in the doctor scene where Woyzeck is being examined we used the song “Radiator” by Aphex twin because it used unfamiliar electronic and metal instruments that would make the audience be put into a state of emotional bombardment. The introductory music was/is an old music box which again wouldn’t be familiar to most especially since there was creepy carnival music emerging from it. This mixed with the lighting setup should have created a sense of unfamiliar and disturbing events that draw the audience to feel not only pity but fear of or for Woyzeck. The unfamiliar tones and strange music made the audience focus more on how the play “feels” as well as tell a narrative.

Due to our production being a promenade performance there were certain obstacles that needed to be dealt with, for starters since the action took place around a building in differing sections we had to use multiple speakers on differing formats just to get sound and music to all scenes. Other problems emerged from this too, for instance we were without a compact disk player. We got around this by using an iPod dock but needed to use the same iPod even during performance. This was tricky since that mean hiding a mp3 player during the performance as well as operating it.

“This type of performance presents special problems for the sound designer, and considerable planning must be undertaken to ensure that the action can be followed by the whole audience. This may involve the use of multiple speaker set-ups, wireless microphones, portable mixing desks and duplicate sets of equipment to allow the operator to move quickly from one location to the next.” (Leonard p14)

 

Leonard,John.A/(2001)/ Theatre of sound/London/ A & C Black

When considering the sound for the final piece I think I will again have to up the feel of the piece and use the soundscape as a way of forcing the audience to almost feel a part of the play, this will hopefully leave a lasting impression and maybe even lead to a few lessons in humanity.

 

Aaron

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The Waltz

Chopin – Waltz in C sharp minor – Op.64 No.2

This song though never being used in the Dramaturgy performance due to technical fault was intended to portray the ease of how the character of Marie could be swayed from her lover. This song was to be added in to also provide the promenade theatre production a little more entertainment whilst the cast prepare the next scene. It would seem though that even without  the music that we managed quite well but this will be perfected for the completed piece.

Aaron

Posted in Sound, The Performance | 1 Comment

Review of the performance

Well, that’s it, Dramaturgy is now over apart from this blog. The performance has been done, and now all that’s left is to reflect upon it and progress into Theatre Company. So here it is, the review of our performance; outlining the parts that were good, bad, and all the other stuff that goes with a review.

To start with, we’ll look at the technical side. To be completely honest, that could have gone a lot better. The lighting in the studio was on cue and very effective, highlighting the right parts of the performance at the right time and also creating the right atmosphere, as one lecturer described afterwards when giving feedback; he stated that when he came in it seemed like he was entering “an asylum”. This creepiness and sense of unease was sustained throughout the performance in accordance with how we wanted the audience to feel. However, as much as the clinical lighting in the studio worked well, other lighting effects didn’t. To be fair on us though, that was completely out of our control. To put everything straight, we had planned for the lighting outside the auditorium to go out (apart from two standing lamps) just before the performance, followed by a continuation of the blue and green colour scheme with green and blue floor lighting on the stairs leading up to the upstairs corridor. These planned lighting effects didn’t happen due to the fact that security switched the lights off. Unfortunately, because the lights went out, the two performers waiting for that very thing to happen assumed that that was the cue to start, and that meant that the rest of the group was still preparing props upstairs, and that noise carried down to the lower floor while the performance was going on. Thankfully, this did not affect the performance that Braden and Martyn gave, and by the time they were half way through the scene, everyone upstairs had finished their preparations and were ready to carry on. While the problems with the lighting were completely out of our control, the sounds weren’t, and the faults with that were entirely of our own making, as we hadn’t practiced enough with the equipment, and so had no idea of the effect produced by a ukulele and an iPod playing music at the same time. The second mistake with the sound was purely technical in that, for some unknown reason, after pressing ‘play’ on the iPod, there was a gap of a few seconds before the music began to play. The third music cue in the studio went well, and contributed effectively to the scene. To solve the technical problems, we just have to practice with the equipment, and make sure that all the security staff are completely cognisant of our plans.

Another aspect of our performance that could have been improved was the scene on the stairs; as it was, we had no idea of the sheer number of people that were going to turn up to watch our performance. Regrettably, because we hadn’t planned for that amount of audience, some of the audience who were situated at the back of the crowd couldn’t see what was happening on the stairs. Although in that way we could have improved the scene by planning better, those that did see the scene said that the way we had staged it was very effective.

Overall, the promenade style of performance was well received, and was seen to suit the piece well. Our style of acting was; “spot on”, we didn’t “overact or underact” but performed the roles well. The choice for splitting the Doctors’ role into two parts was enjoyed, as the text lent itself to be split in such a way.

In terms of expanding it, we’ve had several ideas, and not just for expanding it, but for improving it as well. One of which was the furthering of the fairground theme, with more, as I’ve called them, ‘grotesques’. This would not only create more roles for the women in our piece (one of the contributing reasons that we chose the scenes we did for this performance) but would also give more chance for experimentation within the piece itself.

We might even decide to create our own ending…

All in all, our version of Woyzeck was enjoyed by everyone that watched it, with great anticipation for what we’re going to produce for our performance at the end of the Theatre Company module which leaves me with just one last comment to make.

Well done everyone, and I can’t wait to get started on the expanded version!

Signing off for now,

Sally.

Posted in Content, Form, Home, Lighting, Sound, The Performance, Woyzeck Reviews | 9 Comments

Tech Rehearsal.

Wednesday 2nd March we had our Tech Rehearsal ready for the Dramaturgy performance on Thursday evening.  Due to the nature of our performance our tech requirements are not anything spectacular or complicated.  For the shaving scene we turn out the main lights in the LPAC and just use the small lamp lights that are on either side of the auditorium, these give us enough light for the audience to see the actors but not too much that it kills any atmosphere created by Braden and Martyn.  The shaving scene has come a long way during the course of rehearsals and now looks really good and the little touch where Woyzeck keeps the shaving blade hovering dangerously close to the Captains throat gives a good indication of Woyzeck’s possible state of mind.

The next scene in the sequence is the Showman who invites the audience up the stairs.  Again for this scene all the main lights are off and the only lighting is the small lights on the stairs themselves.  In order to create a creepy atmosphere for the circus freaks to do their thing in we plan on putting blue and green gels over these lights.  This will not only give us some interesting coloured lighting but will also hopefully make the lights not quite so bright as they are because it really doesn’t fit with the dark and creepy theme we have for the performance as a whole.  The masks we have for the circus freaks look fantastic and with the coloured lights they should look even better.

The Drum Major scene is pretty straight forward all we need for this scene is all the main lights in the corridor turned out but we leave the lights on in the corridor where the loos are, to give enough light to be able to see the characters when they get down towards the lift. 

For the final two scenes the performance moves into Studio 2.  With this being inside the studio itself we can really go to town with light effects if we want to.  We are having some muslin curtains to mask out most of the studio to create a confined and clinical space.  We are using bright lights to create a clinical feel within the scene; we are also using spot lights on Woyzeck in order to isolate him from the rest of the world.  The two spots on Woyzeck are coloured blue and green; we are using these colours to help create a surreal and distorted world for Woyzeck himself to exist in.

I think on Thursday we need to have at least one run through before the performance.  As far as costume is concerned there is few things that I need to sort out in terms of fixing small pieces of costume, but everything else seems to be in order in that department.  I’m really looking forward to our performance so all that’s left for me to say is – BRING IT ON!!!!

Rachel :-)

Posted in Rehearsals | 2 Comments