Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stop talking! Start sculpting!

Because we realize that there won't be much time to devote to masks as soon as classes (and the upcoming production of Rhinoceros) begin, Fearless Leader Ellie and your humble author returned to Williamsburg early to do as much work as we can in the week we have before the first day of classes. Dorms aren't even open, but the two of us (and our dear professor, Liz) are huddled up in PBK Hall, freezing and getting covered in clay. Being theatre people, we could talk about Our Plans endlessly, but we soon acknowledged we needed to JUST START. Dig our hands into the bucket of clay and get dirty.

Ellie of the pink hair and I, hard at work.

Aren't the paint jumpsuits super sexy? (And by "sexy" I mean "ridiculous".) It was just so cold in the design lab that we put them on for extra warmth. Protecting our clothes from stray bits of clay was just a bonus. Eventually we admitted that it was just too cold to work in the design lab, so we moved upstairs to Room 222. We laid down a tarp, covered a table in butcher paper, and got messy. The first batch of clay was way too wet -- like trying to build with mud -- but the second batch was much better. We need to figure out how to dry out that first clay a bit; we can't afford not to use it.

So what are we working on? Well, because we're hesitant to work on masks for the principal characters before the show is cast, we're focusing on the ensemble "masquers" for now. I'm working on a mask for the Horny Men (literally, horny -- as in with horns) that appear in Act I scene ii, and Ellie's working on a mask for the nuns of an opening sequence in Hellena's convent. Because most of the horns for the Horny Men will be external pieces attached later -- possibly carved out of furniture foam -- the mask itself will be fairly simple, except for some extravagant eyebrows. Ellie's nun mask is much more fun: pointy nose, bulging cheeks, and almost no chin. Very funny in its caricature of severity. I'll take pieces of the sculptures tomorrow.

Ellie and the beginnings of her nun.

Ellie's so good at leaping right into the sculpting process; I tend to dilly-dally with base layers of clay before getting to the distinctive features (and like to use words like "dilly-dally"), but this is definitely Ellie's strength, the sculpting process. My strength is really just my enthusiasm. I'm not particularly talented when it comes to artistic pursuits, but I love to plan and design and create paperwork. It's the planning and organizing that gets me excited. I may post some of my charts later. (Not as exciting as photos, I know, but I think they're exciting.)

Well, that's all for now. If we're lucky and work particularly hard tomorrow, we might finish our sculptures soon and get to pouring the plaster. Though I'm not sure we even have any leftover plaster. That would be a problem. Money to buy supplies for this project is a general problem all around that we're having to contend with. More on that later.

Time for bed. Ellie and I have a long day of sculpting ahead tomorrow. Good night!

Oh, and P.S. We're currently sharing PBK Hall with Sinfonicron Light Opera Company, which is currently working on an upcoming production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience (probably my favorite G&S operetta, so I'm very excited). Come out and see the show!

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