Photoshop skills

Photoshop is something I have always wanted to get to grips with. I love the things it can produce but have always found it hard to navigate and so this term I was determined to give it a go! 


Above is my first attempt. I started to understand using layers the more I played around and spent time on photoshop. I enjoyed changing the projection screen to explore different ideas, for example black and white or hue/saturation tools.

I inserted figures after using the quick selection tool to cut out there bodies from the given background. I chose people wearing Georgio Armani suits to go with my developing formal, modern costumes.

Act 1:1

Act 1:3

Act 4:5

Act 5:1
Above are my developed photoshop storyboards to help support my body of sketchbook work. I played around with different sizes of rings and appropriate projections for each scene. For example for act 1:3, I made the projection willow as Ophelia eventually drowns by the willow that ‘grows aslant a brook’ and so it gave the stage a foreboding feel yet the hues are purple and yellow to show the warmth of day at Polonius’ house and the facade of happiness.

Photoshop has been a great way to develop my work, express my modern concept and create a more professional body of work. I hope to push my skills further next time so that my storyboard best shows my style of work.

Projection

We had the opportunity to learn projection with Barret Hodgson, a projection mapper. He talked to is about all the different software used to create his work such as ‘Neverland’ a piece of theatre designed by Helen Davies and out on at Lakeside arts theatre. We then had a day in his studio to try out his equipment and great our own bit of projection mapping based on a moment from Hamlet.

Our group decided to explore the moment when Polonius is killed by Hamlet in Gertrude’s quarter. We started to map on to a church window in the studio. Unfortunately we couldn’t map directly onto the glass but the surrounding area at least.

I was unable to stay for the whole workshop because I was unwell but it inspired me to include a projection screen in my design for Hamlet and so I further explored projection mapping in modern productions.

I saw a production of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime’ at Sheffield Lyceum last autumn and the stage was heavily projected on all walls. The protagonist drew on the wall and the projection mapped out his route across London and constellations of stars. They also used objects that lit up from within and became something new like a microwave or a fish tank as shown below.


Considering projection made me think back to when I saw a physical theatre piece by frantic assembly called ‘Lovesong’. Not only was the physical movement wonderful but the 4 projection screens pieced together at the back fitted beautifully with the style of piece. It was about an old couple looking back on their life as a young couple and so the performance drifted between the two timezones. 


The projection above shows birds flying on a dark screen symbolising the passing of time and death as the older man looks back on his life. I think this style of projection screen that is split up and different heights.

Theatre mentor -Peter Brooks

As I am beginning to create a body of work for my Hamlet project I wanted to research other people’s work and in particular somebody who has created minimalist theatre design before.

Peter Brooks is a film and theatre director who has explored radical theatre through his work and books such as the famous ‘The Empty Space’.

His work interests me because he rejected traditional theatre and came up with radical approaches to theatre design. For example in a 1970’s  production of A Midsummer night’s dream Oberon and pick sat and stood on swings in a very bare space. They used stilts, juggling and swings to convey the narrative rather than conventional props.


What attracts me to this style of theatre design is not only the interesting props but the idea of stripping back the stage to a blank canvas and adding things in, in the rehearsal process for example when it is actually needed. I think theatre design can be very clever when only the bare necessities are there and it becomes more improvision and play rather than putting lots of expensive set on stage for the sake of it.

Exploring Peter Brooks’ work has inspired me to push my minimalist idea further. At first I was skeptical that I could pull off designing Hamlet as a minimal, modern play as it will be hard to show in a model box the action that would happen. Peter Brooks’ work has inspired me however to push my love of this type of theatre and make it work.

Claudius – Character exploration 

We have just begun our speculative design project on Hamlet by William Shakespeare that will take us to the end of this term. In order to develop our understanding of the themes and characters in the play we are going to explore a character through a group task.

Task

  • Create a video
  • 3 minutes long
  • Based on a prose we have written about our character
  • Prose maximum 500 words
  • A story outside of the given text
  • Delve into character’s personality, motives etc.

Our group had to explore the character Claudius, Hamlet’s Uncle and the newly appointed King of Denmark after Hamlet’s father (his brother) died. 

I thought he’d be an interesting character to explore because he killed King Hamlet and took Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother) for his wife. We wanted to explore his jealous, deceptive character and so we decided to write a prose about his childhood and the sibling rivalry between Claudius and Hamlet. We decided to put a spin on our prequel to ‘Hamlet’ and tell the story of how Hamlet was the bad one who stole Claudius’ true love and position as King making Claudius’ angry and in need of revenge.

We used objects to tell the story…

Claudius – a silver chalice

Gertrude – a teacup

Both similar objects that hold water – symbolising their love and fertility, they are meant to be together

Hamlet (senior) – a wooden painted mask

He is false, hiding behind a mask


I really enjoyed making the video because it was a fun, practical way of exploring the characters. We set a lot of the video in the arboretum park (the castle of Elsinore’s grounds) and spoke the prose over the video whilst the objects were in the shot.

I think next time we do this it would be better to use a good quality camera and perhaps use a wider range of filming locations. However it helped us understand the characters better and use our imagination to explore motives and themes.