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Progress work on ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’

So far in our work on ‘A Midsummers Nights Dream… Or Raving Madness’ we have started the opening scene which will be to “Step on” by ‘Happy Mondays’. This scene is a fight scene between the two gangs of Oberon and Titania. In this we begin with a freeze frame of people in various fighting positions in which we move out of using slow motion. We have done this because the music starts in a slow beat, although this introduces the theme of the eighties with how we are under the influence of drug abuse as we are setting our performance in the rave era of the eighties.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/937140906364327/?fref=ts This is the link to a video of the first stages of the development of ‘Step on’. We are still filming the version of the new opening with the freeze frame.

With in the opening scene we’re also planning to lift ‘Titania’ played by Rachel, At the moment we are doing a lift where we lift her into a standing crucifix so she can pry a box off ‘Puck’ and ‘Robin’ played by Sian and Jamie.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/937140906364327/?fref=ts This video shows us attempting the lift. This is a good idea however it has its faults because a few of us are not strong enough to lift her for a long amount of time, we have had other ideas the include using Titania’s gang members as a stair case so she can then walk up at snatch the box leaving Titania and her following victorious.

I feel like this is a strong opening because it very clearly distinguishes the characters of Titania and Oberon, as well as showing who following the other characters are on with in the play. We have also learnt the lyrics of step on because in an ideal world we will be singing and moving so it is a musical and not a play with an eighties soundtrack. At the end of stand off of the gangs we will be going into individual fight scenes which shall also be slow motion to reinforce the influence of the rave era. I shall be in a routine with Harry and Scott as they are both in Oberon’s gang, this is a new development as it was myself, Sophia and Scott. However we realised that then there would be two people short of a pairing in Oberon’s gang, therefore Sophia is now paired with Vicky and Harry has replaced Sophia. Scott and Harry are both form Oberon’s posse and I am form Titania’s. This gives us room however to hopefully place in a few simple lifts which will give the performance some more levels, this maybe difficult though as it is in slow motion and the difficulty level rises when lifting anything once it is in slow motion as because you have to make it realistic and it may not have enough energy to lift with the same effect being applied.

Sian in the performance is playing the character of Puck and Jamie is playing the character of ‘Robin’. In the scene with the three fairies and puck and robin, Puck and Robin have a song called ‘Free’ and in this they are showing off to the fairies and we have created a small piece of choreography.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/937140906364327/?fref=ts In this video it shows the characters of Puck and Robin and the three fairies. Fairy 1 and 2 are the more mature and have a stronger attitude in the show where as fairy 3 is less intelligent and starts to join in with Puck and Robin before fairy 1 and 2 pull her away. I feel like this scene needs more work and needs to be finished and polished but it gives a good feel for the characters personalities and introduces them in the show very strongly. I fell like the movement however needs some more work because even though the freedom of movement is good for Puck and Robin and is quite simplistic we need to keep in mind that they will be singing the song and not the people up in the radio studio therefore we need to make sure that the movement represents their characters while still creating a clear sound for the audience to hear.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNWf2wPygA8&index=4&list=PLE73Z0S7Hm2lyLaqBxnVLZL-5RRllhMWz The youtube video is the chours of ‘No More Lonely Nights’ which features once of the opening scenes with Theseus and Hippolyta. This song is relevant here because the opening dialogue with Theseus and Hippolyta is about their wedding day which is to commence in four days but Theseus feels as though the days are approaching too slow and the old moon is taking far too long to fade away. Hippolyta is consoling him and telling him that, four days will quickly turn into four nights. And since they dream at night the time shall pass fast enough. Hense the song ‘no more lonely nights’, this in our rendition if ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ is about how they will be together soon enough and how these lonely nights will shortly pass before they are married and will spend the rest of their life’s together. The harmonies in the songs are not cleaned properly but I think that for the first few rehearsals they are sounds rather good. I believe what we need to do is to stop singing just as our four section and star to sing as a group because I think that we haven’t found the correct amount of blend for it have a sound of meaning as at the moment it just sounds like we are singing what we have been told to sing.

This is a link to the first movement of Oberon’s gang to the song ‘Moments in love’. I am not in Oberon’s gang but i feel this is a mystical piece of dance and represents Oberon and is difference to Titana as they are like dawn and dusk. Oberon represents the dusk he is colder and lacks compassion but has alot of mystery. This is the reason I feel like this movement has a lot of his character in it because it reminds me of the nocturnal animals coming out and causing mischief. I really like the disjointed timing and the cannon that is used but at the same time it has a fluidity to it that almost entrances you, Harry Ladell in this piece really stands out because I feel at the moment he is the only one who is in his character the whole time and is really performing it my eyes are locked on him because of his facial expressions and his energy. I feel like he is doing what everyone should be doing, when I watch this piece I see a lot of people lacking in emotion or showing the wrong emotion for the piece, there also seems to a lack of execution to the dance at this moment in time as there is a high lack of energy that needs to be brought to a piece like this one. For this to be achieved when it has been finished it then will have to be cleaned but i would strongly suggest that everyone needs to starts putting character into this even when its just a rehearsal so then it can be re-produced time and time again like a second nature.

 

This is the link to the final song, ‘Back to Life’ this is the most developed piece so far but we still have a long way to go as we do with all the piece’s however fir this we do know all the movement. This puts us in a much better position to clean the movement and perfect it quickly. However my point about the non expressive facial features and little effort is once again relevant in this piece, from a personal point of view i could have out a lot more effort into this i could have used my face in the performance but as I didn’t in this video I look lifeless and rather bored which is totally wrong for the performance. I am confidant in saying that I am not alone in this, the marjority of us were doing exactly what i was doing, what we had learnt but not putting much performance into the video above.

 

 

 

 

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Musical theatre research: Once

Plot:

“ONCE tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights… but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance.”

http://oncemusical.com/about/

First performance: December 6, 2011
Adapted from: Once
Playwright: Enda Walsh
Lyricists: Markéta Irglová, Glen Hansard
Composers: Markéta Irglová, Glen Hansard
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Musical research: Sunset Boulevard (1991)

In this piece of research I plan to research the musical, ‘Sunset Boulevard’ to stretch my musical theatre knowledge.

The show revolves around a beautiful but now declined star of the silent screen, Norma Desmond. She is trapped in the past as well as being set in her ways much like her decaying mansion. Once she has accidentally met a handsome yet struggling young screenwriter named Joe Gillis, Norma wants to attempt to accomplish a comeback to the big screen. She spoils  Joe with gifts and soon falls in love with him. However, she is devastated when Joe leaves her for young Betty Schaefer. In a fit of shock and rage, Norma shoots Joe as he attempts to leave her home on Sunset Boulevard.

The music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber,
The book and the lyrics were written by Don Black.
It was first produced in 1991 and it is set in 1940’s America more specifically, Hollywood.

Characters:

Norma Desmond: A faded, eccentric, former silent screen star.
Joe Gillis: a struggling young screenwriter.
Max von Mayerling: Norma’s first husband and butler.
Betty Schaefer: A budding writer and Joe’s love interest.
Cecil B. DeMille – the famous director.
Artie Green – Betty’s fiancé .
Sheldrake – a movie producer on the lot.
Manfred – an expensive tailor.
Productions:
1991, 1992 Sydmonton Festival
1993 West End
1993 Los Angeles
1994 Broadway
1996, 1998 US tour
2001 UK tour
2008 West End revival
2015 Czech Republic – Ostrava
2016 Denver
(not completed)

 

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Jem and The Holograms Task 4

When I was little I watched repeat episodes of ‘Jem and the Holograms’ but I have recently re-discovered it. ‘Jem and The Holograms’ was aired in 1985 and finished in 1988, and is now a feature film that came out in October 2015. Personally I think that ‘Jem and the Holograms’ embodied a lot of what the 1980’s were all about, in every episode there were outrageous outfits and by outrageous I of course mean amazing! Every lavish aspect of the 1980’s fashion were displayed on the popular T.V show and were just as psychedelic as they were in reality, I mean they were ‘truly truly truly outragous’. For example in the song ‘Like a dream’ we can see the style of the 1980’s, the music video for it is mysterious with ‘moody’ montages , this song even includes Jem standing on a waterfall with her band mates along with a magic carpet ride and even unicorns that gallop down a rainbow bridge.

 

“Jerrica Benton is the owner of Starlight Music and the Starlight Foundation, which is a foster home for young girls. But by using her earrings to project a holographic image over herself, she is transformed into her alter ego Jem, the lead singer for the successful music group, Jem and the Holograms. Other members of the group are Jerrica’s sensitive little sister Kimber, the strong-willed Aja, and the creative Shana. The group’s rivals are The Misfits, made up of the cold-hearted Pizzazz, the tough-acting Roxy, and the humble Stormer. Jem and her friends are always involved in glamorous and exciting adventures around the world, while touching people’s hearts with their hit songs.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090461/

Dolls:

On the 8th of September 2011 Hasbro issued a press release that had announced that they will be showing their now products at the New York Comic con that included their new ‘Jem and Holograms’. On the 27th of June 2012, Integrity Toys, Inc had aired their plans to release a brand-new series of collectible fashion dolls that had been based on the admired TV series. The special edition Hollywood Jem doll was made available at the Hasbro Toy Shop booth during Comic-Con International in San Diego at an estimated retail price of $135. It only took a few days for the doll to sell out! On October 5, 2012, the four future dolls to be in the new Integrity Toys limited edition collectible line were presented with pictures: Classic Jem, Jerrica Benton, Synergy and Rio Pacheco. 

Comic book:

The Jem comic book was released by IDW in March 2015: written by Kelly Thompson, art by Sophie Campbell and colors by M. Victoria Robado. The comic book offers a much more re-imagining of the series with new character designs. As lovely the re-imaging art work it I still find it hard to stomach as it looks much more futuristic where as Jem and the Holograms were 80’s based trough and through and the comic also has the characters caught up in different situations. For example as the Holograms and the Misfits being unsigned bands at the start with Eric Raymond being hired as the Misfits’ manager during the second story arc. They still have the Misfits causing all kinds of trouble for the Holograms and Jem and as they are arch enemies you have the basic structure of good and evil with Jem and the Holograms as the clear winner no matter the situation no matter how dire the predicament thy are in.

Sophie Claire, Bethany Kirkwood and myself are playing three fairies and I have taken inspiration form the style of Jem and the Holograms and their personalities for the fairy characters we will be playing in our rendition of ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’. I love the camaraderie of the band and how close-nit the girls are and I would quite like to see that from the three fairies if the script allows it. As we are also apart of Titania’s group of fairies I think that this style is very girlie and more party/rave then rock with the bright colours and eye catching costumes. This would be a strong contrast to Oberon and his gang of followers. I think that our characters will be trying to help out a lot with the confusing mess that occurs within the play which reminded me a lot of ‘Synergy’ helping out Jem much like her own version of a fairy godmother.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream audition evaluation 

I feel like my audition for hermia went well, I was pleased with my performance and I felt confident most of the way through. There was a point at the line “painted maypole” when I had a short blank but I think I covered it up will, I also think it was a little rushed but I think it went well over all. When I watched Harry’s performance I saw how much confidence he had and he wasn’t afraid at all and I really took that on board and just went for it. I really liked Rachel’s accent that she did, I think next time I will try to do an accent to give the monologue something completely different. 
Helena felt that most people had the concept of what was being said in the speech and as it can be hard to view Shakespeare it’s important that we know the meaning of what we are saying. 

Lynn agreed but she was very disappointed that not everyone had learnt their lines. However I feel confident in saying that dispite my slight pause I knew the monologue  well and was please with the delivery. 

If I was casting this I would be looking for confidence, character, someone who knew their lines and of asked could do it another way. 

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Juke Box Musicals.

In this research I plan to find out what a Jukebox musical is and examples of some of the shows that are in the style of a jukebox musical.

By definition a Jukebox musical is “is a stage or film musical that uses previously released popular songs as its musical score. Usually the songs have in common a connection with a particular popular musician or group — because they were either written by, or for, the artists in question, or at least covered by them.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jukebox_musical

Our performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is in this style of a musical as it is not originally a musical it is infact a stright play written by William Shakespeare in  1595 or 1596 when Shakespeare was 31-32 years of age.

Examples of Jukebox musicals are, Mamma Mia, Let it be, Rock of Ages, Viva Forever, Green Days American Idiot and the boy form Oz. These are just a few out of many.

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William Shakespeare

In this research piece of research I plan to delve into the life of Shakespeare and the play we are performing, a midsummers night dream.

William Shakespeare was born in Warwickshire, Stratford -upon-Avon on the 26th of April 1564. He was John and Mary Shakespeare’s oldest Child. Their first two children, both girls, did not live beyond infancy, however John and Mary did have three other children all whom were boys. Gilbert, Richard and Edmund, and two younger younger sisters; Anne and Joan. Anne sadly died when she reached the age of seven. Their father John was a thriving business man in the line of soft white leather that was used for gloves and other items of similar making. He then married Mary, after which he began to rise in the local offices and became an alderman ( A co-opted member of an English county or borough council, next in status to the Mayor.) then an bailiff. Although when William was five years old he made the choice to step away form this position. As William was apart of a leading Stratford family he attended Stratford’s Grammar School. In 1582 William married a woman called Anne Hathaway, William was 18 at this point and Anne was 26, they were wedded on November the 28th and had a child called Susanna six months after the ceremony. Two years later the couple also had twins called Judith and Hamnet, unfortunately Hamnet died when he was eleven during one of the frequent outbreaks of the bubonic plague.

A midsummer night’s dream.

 

PLOT

“Theseus, duke of Athens, is preparing for his marriage to Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, with a four-day festival of pomp and entertainment. He commissions his Master of the Revels, Philostrate, to find suitable amusements for the occasion. Egeus, an Athenian nobleman, marches into Theseus’s court with his daughter, Hermia, and two young men, Demetrius and Lysander. Egeus wishes Hermia to marry Demetrius (who loves Hermia), but Hermia is in love with Lysander and refuses to comply. Egeus asks for the full penalty of law to fall on Hermia’s head if she flouts her father’s will. Theseus gives Hermia until his wedding to consider her options, warning her that disobeying her father’s wishes could result in her being sent to a convent or even executed. Nonetheless, Hermia and Lysander plan to escape Athens the following night and marry in the house of Lysander’s aunt, some seven leagues distant from the city. They make their intentions known to Hermia’s friend Helena, who was once engaged to Demetrius and still loves him even though he jilted her after meeting Hermia. Hoping to regain his love, Helena tells Demetrius of the elopement that Hermia and Lysander have planned. At the appointed time, Demetrius stalks into the woods after his intended bride and her lover; Helena follows behind him.” http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/msnd/summary.html

Characters:

The lovers:

  •  Lysander: Lysander is a young handsome man who falls in love with Hermia but they cannot openly wed as her father Egeus wishes her to wed Demetrious, Lysander and Hermias relationship stimulates the theme of the difficulty of love.
  • Demetrious: Demetrious initially in love with Hermia but ultimately falls in love with Helena. It is his pursuit of Hermia that throws love out of balance within the group.
  • Hermia: Egeus daughter who is in love with Lysader and is childhood friend with Helena but as a result of the fairies’ mischief with Oberon’s love potion, both Lysander and Demetrius suddenly fall in love with Helena.
  • Helena: in love with Demetrius. Demetrius and Helena were once betrothed, but when Demetrius met Helena’s friend Hermia, he fell in love with her and abandoned Helena.

Fairies:

  • Puck: can also known as Robin Goodfellow, ( we are splitting this role in our performance of the show so we will have Robin and Puck). Puck is Oberon’s jester, a mischievous fairy who takes joy in playing marvellous pranks on mortals such as the lovers. His enchanting, mischievous spirit disrupts the atmosphere, and his antics are responsible for many of the complications that launch the other main plot for example he mistakes the young men and instead of applying the love potion to Demetrius he applies it to Lysander. consequently causing chaos within the group of young lovers; he also transforms Bottom’s head into that of an ass.
  • Oberon: The king of the fairies, Oberon is initially his wits end with his wife, Titania. This is because she refuses to abdicate control of the young Indian prince whom he wants for a knight.
  • Titania: She is the beautiful queen of the fairies, Titania combats the constant attempts of her husband, Oberon, to make a knight of the young Indian prince that she has been given. This makes Oberon very angry and tells puck to use the love potion on her. Titania’s brief, potion-induced love for Nick Bottom, whose head Puck has transformed into that of an ass.
  • Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed: The fairies ordered by Titania to attend to Bottom after she falls in love with him.

The Mechanicals:

  • Nick Bottom: The cocky weaver chosen to play Pyramus in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Bottom is full of advice and self-confidence but frequently makes silly mistakes and misuses language. Later on in the play his head gets changed into an ass
  • Peter Quince: A carpenter and the A carpenter and the official leader of the craftsmen’s attempt to put on a play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Although Quince is often shoved aside by the abundantly confident Bottom who enjoys the lime light.
  • Francis Flute: The bellows-mender chosen to play Thisbe in the play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. Forced to play a young girl in love, the bearded craftsman determines to speak his lines in a high, squeaky voice. This role has lots of room for comical value and I think would be a good idea to put him in a bad form of drag when he is playing the woman. Much like in a pantomime but on a very low budget.
  • Robert starveling: The tailor chosen to play Thisbe’s mother in the craftsmen’s play for Theseus’s marriage celebration. He ends up playing the part of Moonshine. Again another panto drag for the mother would be a very funny comedy duet.
  • Tom Snout: The tinker chosen to play Pyramus’s father in the craftsmen’s play for the celebration. He ends up playing the part of Wall, dividing the two lovers.
  • Snug: The joiner chosen to play the lion in the play for the celebration. Snug has a rather large worry that the roar will be too loud and frighten the ladies in the audience so it ends up begin small like a cat sound.
  • Philostrate:  Theseus’s Master of the Revels, responsible for organizing the entertainment for the duke’s marriage celebration.

 

 

 

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