For ‘The Theory Of Everything’ the first production problem was the staging. As we are performing in thrust and we have a dance and monologue element to our piece we found it difficult to come up with a way that all audience members could see a bit of everything. This problem went right up to the performances and I ended up performing a different way on the second night of the shows. We managed to solve it the second night, by having me walk around the dance. This was much more effective than staying stationary in one corner. It also meant I wasn’t blocking off a corner of the audience.
Another production element that challenged us, was the music. We originally were thinking about using track number 14 from ‘The Theory Of Everything’ soundtrack which is called ‘A Normal Family’. However after writing my monologue we soon realised that it was far too short and also didn’t capture the change of emotion from the beginnings happiness to the sadder struggles later on. This lead to us changing the song to be number 7 on the soundtrack, which is called ‘A Game Of Croquet’. This worked far better for our piece and im glad we changed it so close to the beginning of starting the rehearsal process. The formatting of the music was also something we needed to sort out and I took charge of this by asking technical theatre student James to help me convert the YouTube track to be an MP3 format, which meant we could use it. This worked well and meant that sound wasn’t a huge issue for us. We solved everything sound related quickly and effectively. I also would definitely go to a technical theatre student again because they helped teach new skills that I can now use for later projects.
As for the costumes for ‘The Theory Of Everything’, we had to show the people/characters we would be playing and make it come across that Sophia and I were the same person. To do this we decided that Sophia and I should wear the same costume and the same make up which we also wanted to represent the character well. We chose a long pinkish beige skirt with a white vest top. This took on Jane’s feminine elegance whilst also allowed Sophia to dance in it. We also had character shoes, again for her to be able to dance to her best and so that we matched. For Ryan we wanted it to be clear the he was portraying Stephen Hawking, so we thought it might be nice to re-create one of the costumes that Eddie Redmayne wore in the film. Over all the costumes worked really well and we were all really happy with the results.
Another challenge was lighting. I have absolutely no experience in lighting design but to solve this, I talked to the technical theatre students and we were able to come up with an idea that the lighting would be intimate and would change to become darker when it mentions Stephen’s illness in the monologue for the first time. The lighting change matched the tone change and so worked well. We sorted the lighting effectively and the technical theatre students were really helpful with achieving this.
The final production based challenge we faced was on the final performance night when I was ill and started to lose my voice. We didn’t prepare for this unexpected challenge but we got around it by having a mic so that my voice was amplified. Seeing as it was such a sudden thing, I think we handled the change well and that it was the best solution available on such short notice.
For the silent movie piece, Liam and I were in charge of the technical elements. We were first challenged by the style, as they have to look like props that would be in an old-fashioned black and white silent movie. To over come this, we spent a lot of time researching silent short films. As it was my job to create the robot costume for Will, my research was made up primarily of robots in film through out time. I then tried to draw a first draft for the robot to see if I could copy the style.
We then had the challenge that we needed to physically create this robot costume and these two giant spider legs. We needed them to be low budget and so we decided to take the skills in prop making we had got from our last commission and applied them to this. We had spent time working with cardboard, paper mache and paint so we were familiar with how it would work. I’m glad we did this and think it was an effective solution to the problem as they turned out well. We also knew from the last commission how time-consuming it was to make these types of props, so we solved yet another issue by starting on the prop making as early as possible. We knew then that they would be ready in time, and that Will would be able to rehearse with his robot costume on.
The other issue with the props was the two spider legs. Luckily this was relatively easy to get around as Liam had experience working with wire mesh, he managed to create the base of the legs and then I came up with the suggestion to put tights on them in order to look more like a spider. I think this worked well and it meant we could opperate them easily by inserting our arms. We then had to think of where we would be positioned for the spider legs. We ended up deciding that we should be behind the curtain and creep the legs out in a spider mannor. This meant that me and liam would’nt be seen. Overall it again worked well and was simple to do each night.
For ‘Rainbow Connection’ there was the issue of working out what we were all going to wear. We origionally had the idea to all wear black on the bottom and a colourful t-shit on top. However this wasn’t going to work as I was the piece before and that didn’t give Ryan, Sophia and I enough time to get changed. Therefore it made sense that we all wore a costume from one of the pieces we were in, so that all the pieces were represented on stage. This also gave more meaning to the ‘Connection’ we sang about in the song. It made it simple and easy for us to do and meant that Ryan, Sophia and I were not struggling to get changed and then go back on.
Overall we sorted a lot of the technical issues that we faced and came up with some really good ideas and solutions which all helped in adding to our pieces.