Costumes: Hippolyta / Titania


Hippolyta & Titania

The main arc of the Hippolyta character is from captive warrior Queen to dutiful wife. The obvious choice for her costuming while she’s Theseus’s captive is nudity. But maybe there’s something even more humiliating. I have images from Abu Ghraib creeping into my thoughts (see below). In fact, I can’t keep them out right now.

There will be a projected “Press Conference” where she stands behind Theseus looking like Hillary Clinton or Jackie O. Jackie O’s pink suit may be perfect. Or a version of it. There has to be something in stock.

Theseus says: Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword and won thy love doing thee injuries, but I will wed thee in another key. With Pomp, with triumph and with reveling.

In the end, however, what’s different? What does she wear for her wedding dress? Could it be a version of Titania’s robe?


JKO 603Pjackie_o_weddingjackie_o_pink_suitjackie_o


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Notes: Design Meeting Thursday, Oct. 21st

The set: A sheet of muslin 12′ x 24′ or even 36′ stretched above the stage as a ceiling onto which we’ll project the opening images. It drops and becomes a kind of scoop that covers some of the floor sloping up to reach up to about 8′ high under the theatre’s inner above. We can front and back project onto this. We talked about using one stand-alone screen somewhere on stage. Maybe it’s moveable.

What if the Mechanicals build the set as the audience is coming in? I love this idea. It gives them something real to do that roots them in the world of manual labor. Provides the immediate contrast between the lower and upper economic classes.

Trunks: Talked about using four trunks – possibly placed over the traps in the floor and pulling piles of costumes out and chairs. Of course, there’s the old vaudeville image of taking a coat rack out of a trunk.

Ropes: John brought up the idea of using hemp ropes to string the muslin scoop. We can teach the mechanicals to tie some really interesting knots. The hemp thing is good because we’ll use it in the costumes of Oberon and Titania (possibly) if we go with the shamanic motif for them.

White floor or black gloss: We love the white because we can project on it! We love the black gloss because it can reflect projected images. Need to make tests of this soon. Is there a way to get white gloss paint to reflect the images?

Children’s Chairs: We discussed using small scale chairs. This can be particularly useful in the final act in the court. If there’s no furniture in the opening and the tiny chairs come out in the forrest scene. There’s some good comic moments to be created. Then in the end, the tiny furniture makes it back to the court and nobody notices this major change.

Splitting the stage down the middle. For the climactic moment in the forest when Puck is leading Lysander and Demetrius around, we may hoist a screen that splits the thrust with half the audience on either side. We can have players on one side of the screen and on the other side the audience sees their shadows, or they can see a live projection of the players on the other side. It’s tough to imagine exactly what we can do but the possibilities are exciting.

Costumes: The period is present day with Hermia moving in the circles of, movie stars, rock musicians and the sons and daughters of senators. Lysander and Demetrius are (both) John Kennedy Jr. I’ve entertained the idea of switching these two players sometime between the forrest and the wedding. Leaning away from this, but who knows. Kara was going to pull some magazine photos before next meeting.

Kabuki: I don’t have a thematic or dramatic justification for using Kabuki in the forrest scenes, but it’s one of those unformed hunches that I can’t shake. I see Titania and Oberon in those broad robes that could be magnificent screens for projecting. And there’s something great about the slow, deliberate movement of Kabuki that can totally change the tone and pace of the play. The chanting and soundscape could also help sell the dream logic.

Puck: Puck is a shape-shifter so all the players (except maybe for Hermia) will play the goblin at various times. We need a costume piece that all the players can trade. John suggested some kind of mask and it can possess the player who puts it on. There has to be a moment when this is made clear to the audience. Probably during the meeting of Puck and the First Fairy. Kara was going to do some research before next week’s meeting.

Oberon: We all continue to like the shamanic motif. White powder and shells, shakers, rain sticks.

Images and Projection: We’ll more than likely use 90 minutes of continuous projection of one kind or another and this week John Iacovelli brought in Gian Scarabino as projection designer. Gian’s researching the technology of projectors this week and doing some tests with different screens. We talked about generating most of the images and video. I like the idea of having projections that look like still images for a long while and then they come alive in one form or another. Still collecting resumes for digital artist collaborators!

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Film/Video Collaborators Wanted!!

I’m looking for creative, experienced filmmakers, photographers, video artists, and animators to work on this project. It goes up in the Wyatt Pavilion, February 24th-28th, 2010.

If you know someone who is, or are yourself, interested in doing any one of the following cool jobs, please contact me.

Are you an Animator who would like to develop visualizations of Titania’s “fairies” (this won’t require traditional character animation, but rather skill in the representation of moods or emotions – particularly the darker moods and emotions)


are you interested in being part of a Video Crew, for example, if you’re an experienced DP, or sound recordist


if you’re a Video Artist / Filmmaker who can collaborate with a theatre director and design team to create and edit video and find, or shoot still images to be used for projection,

then I’d love to talk to you.

Please shoot me an email right now: or post your info in a comment below. Make sure I have your name, phone number and email.

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Auditions Scheduled!

Auditions for Midsummer will take place in the Wyatt Pavilion on the UC Davis campus on November 6th between 6 and 11 pm. Call-backs are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7th, 1-5pm. Click on “Casting and Rehearsals” category to the left for more information.

If you’re interested in auditioning see Socorro for the sign-up sheet located @:

UC Davis, Art Building, Rm. 101.


Note: The call-back time listed on the above flier (which was also emailed to the listserves) is incorrect. They will be held Nov. 7th from 1pm-5pm in the Wyatt Pavilion.

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The Fairies

My first idea for the representation of the fairies was to project them onto Titania’s costume and let Titania provide the voices. If Titania’s costume was made of something like the material we use for the projection screens, this could work nicely. But John and I also discussed putting Titania and Oberon in unitards and projecting onto them. I’m inclined to use skin as a projection screen as well – in this case. Either way we’re in the realm of “the celebration of the body.” Projections on Titania’s naked back, or belly would require the work of an animator and may be beyond our capabilities at this point. I suppose I can do it myself if I have to.

John brought up the idea of using little bottles full of sea shells and sand and stones as little fetishes to represent the fairies (cobweb, moth, mustard seed, etc.). I love what this says and the visuals could be very nice especially if we go with the shaman motif for Oberon.

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The White Chair

An idea for a piece of staging and design. Against a white projection screen sits a white, hardwood chair. We light the chair to flatten it as much as possible and project the image of the same chair in its non-white, pre-painted, form. The chair gets picked up and used in the scene where the Rude Mechanicals first meet to discuss their play. The projection stays against the wall. Later Bottom will try to sit in the projected chair. Slapstick, I know, but it says something about taking a representation for reality and vice versa. I haven’t thought it out yet, but there’s a way to carry this thread out and get at least another moment out of it.

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Also from my proposal to the UC Davis Dept. of Theatre and Dance.

The production will be modest in scope: Six actors, some chairs and piles of costumes on stage. I plan to develop the piece using extensive movement improvisation and Viola Spolin’s theatre games to approach the text. I have found that I operate best from a “sense” of what the play may be, rather than a “concept” that I can impose. I plan to provoke and stimulate the actors, through focused play and improvisations around themes, to generate a mass of material from which we will build the piece in the final stages of the rehearsal period. I try to think of it as a process of illumination rather than illustration of the events of the play. Any success I’ve ever found in the theatre comes from my watching and guiding actors as we investigate and dig and flop around in the dark – sometimes literally. I plan to work this way on this piece and believe it will be a process by which we may mine the unexpected. The unexpected, incidentally, is the only element I’ve ever found useful in illuminating classical texts like Midsummer which have been encrusted (for hundreds of years) with behavior and technique and “style.” Regarding the video projection for the piece, I plan to shoot it myself during the rehearsal period. The video will force Hermia to confront her own manifold image (ideal ego) as she projects it onto her fantasy space as well as onto her reality.

After only one quick design meeting with scenic designer John Iacovelli, the above ideas have already begun to change. We’re talking about ways in which to put several surfaces on stage that we can project images and video on. One idea is to use a muslin scoop that hangs from the inner above and slopes down to the floor. On this we can project from the front or the rear.

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