Friday, June 29, 2012

Hercules Masks {Day 6}

Yesterday I shared this image of my inspiration for Charon. Alas Poor Yorick is not an easy model, however, for someone building large features on a mask for the first time. Actually, last year was my first experience building a mask from start to finish with my Mustard-seed mask for A Midsummer Night's Dream. I really love that mask -- but what I did was mostly just paint and add really cool feathers to it, no building up up features with other items.

What I love about the Charon base mask in this photo is actually how smooth it is. There's not much feature on it, so I think it looks a little creepy. I definitely wanted to keep the creep factor as I built, but I wanted him to end up looking more skull-like.

Using cotton balls pulled out into thinner strands, I built out larger eye sockets, working them into large circles. I don't think he looks terribly skull-like yet, but he does have this really bizarre and cool alien helm look to him. You can also see where I built out some cheekbones for him. I also added quite a bit of mass to his browline, which is harder to see in this image.

Hera is also coming along. The next step for her was adding a crown. I was a little nervous about this step as I wasn't certain the plaster strips would be sturdy enough to hold up the mosaic tiles standing on end. Worked on the first try, though - yea! I'll be painting over the plaster strips and finishing the mask with more of the red mosaic tiles and beading. Then all she'll need is some drilled holes in the temples and elastic to be fully completed. Can't wait!
A close-up of the crown

Oh, speaking of Mustard-seed ... here's a photo from last year's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, featuring the finished product!
Ross Hamman as Cobweb and me as Mustard-seed
Claim token: HJUY3E3DQ9KT

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hercules Masks {Day 5}

Well, technically today is Day 5 and I haven't done anything on masks yet today. These pictures are from work over the last several days. You got a nice look at the base masks for Charon and Hera, and I've been working mostly on Hera since then. She got a nice base coat of red mixed in with silver, which turned out a really nice mauve shade. I used dark brown to emphasize her very crooked, fierce brows. To the brows I've also added a line of dark red glass beads, which are highlighted by clear glass beads. She is also getting an "eyeliner" of clear and gold glass beads.

Here you can see the "eyeliner" as well as the lining around the edge of orderly red glass beads. 
Here's a nice close up of the broken mosaic tiles on the left side of the mask. I've decided that Hera's left (sinister!) side will be made up of the smashed tiles and the beads filling in. On the right side will be the unbroken tiles arranged in a much more orderly fashion.
Here's a close-up of the mosaic tiles laid in straight and unbroken. I need to drill holes in the temples for the elastic to go through before laying the rest of the tiles. I'm also hoping if I score some of the tiles I might be able to break them straight across and have some smaller rectangular pieces to lay alongside the eye.
This is a view of the mask so far. I'll be adding more tiles to the forehead, as well as laying in a golden crown with some other mosaic tiles. I love seeing this mask come together, and I can't wait to see the finished product!

Stay tuned for more updates and photos of the Zeus mask, and the progress on Hades and Charon. Here is my inspiration for the Charon mask. Let's see if I'm up to the job!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hercules Masks {Day 1}

Here is Day One of making base masks for Zeus, Hades, Hera, and Charon! We set up outside so we could make a mess with our plaster strips. First we coated our faces with the Vaseline so we wouldn't be pulling up eyebrows. Then we got to work laying wet strips of plaster on each other's faces. I think the neighbors must have thought we were pretty strange.

No pictures of the actual process, since it was too messy and no plaster-fingers are coming near my camera. But you can see the finished base maks of Hera:

And Charon, the ferry-man who sails dead souls over the Lethe River and into the underworld. I like this guy. I think he's going to be a little creepy and unsettling when finished:

Mask-making for Hercules continues today! Yesterday, we spent time down in Albany shopping for foam for the Nemean Lion puppet as well as buying a ton of mask-making supplies at A.C. Moore. We made off with a good haul -- mosaic tiles, new paints, feathers, and glass beads.

I painted a base of a sort of mauve shade onto Hera last night and began to add glass beads and broken red mosaic tiles. She's this great raised eyebrow to make for a pretty fierce expression. More pictures tomorrow of the continued process. I think I'm going to like this one!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Twelve Labors of Hercules

The time is nigh! We here at the Adirondack Shakespeare Company are gearing up for this summer's original children's show, The Twelve Labors of Hercules, penned by Jessica Hackett.

Jessica is no stranger to ADK Shakes. For the past year, she has worked for us as a social media marketing guru. For the 2012 summer season, she will also be serving as the company's Assistant Stage Manager. Jessica is currently working towards a Master's Degree in English at St. John's University, where she is heavily involved as an actress, playwright and occasional director in the university's official theatre group. When we approached Jessica about writing our children's show script this summer, we encouraged her to take inspiration from one of our heroes of children's work, Jim Henson. At Christmastime, we watched Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas and suggested Henson's The Storyteller series in particular. The script is everything we hoped it would be!

The characters of Octavius and Agrippa are quite compelling, and the journey of their friendship is going to be great fun to watch as it unfolds! This play has it all: friendship, struggle, adventure, and (perhaps best of all) monsters!

Today we are starting work on the masks and puppetry for the show -- which will include masks for the Greek deities (Hera, Zeus, Athena, Hades, Persephone -- this play represents!). We are especially excited to get to work on the Hydra and the Nemean Lion puppets. I'll share the process as we go, and I can't wait to see how they turn out.

In the meantime, you can reserve tickets for the performances which begin July 11 and run through August 15. Check out our ticketing website (provided by Ticket Leap): We have full-length performances in Schroon Lake, Indian Lake, North Creek, Lake Placid, and Ticonderoga. And we are also performing scenes from the show throughout the day at public parks in Saratoga Springs, Lake Placid, and Bolton Landing on the beautiful Lake George waterfront. For more details visit our Ticket Leap site or visit our website to view the full schedule here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

There is nothing either good or bad ...

Today was a rough one. No time to post this morning -- if you'd be so kind as to keep us in your thoughts and prayers, we would appreciate it! Thankfully, everyone is well and healthy, but we are dealing with the aftermath of a fire to the building our condo is in and it is pretty awful. It's been hard to focus on things for the season today with that on my mind as well as all the phone calls to insurance companies, property management, etc.

On the positive side, our proofs came through for our season posters, and they look beautiful. Here's a sneak peek of our Hercules poster, which I love:
We also confirmed our performances in Saratoga Springs for Saturday, July 14. We will be performing scenes from Hercules every half hour at the War Memorial in Congress Park starting at 10:00 am and running until 3:00 p.m.

Tomorrow I'll be meeting with Tannery Pond Community Center and hopefully sorting our performance there as well! That leaves only one final date open on our Hercules touring calendar as well as one tour date for Twelfth Night. We're getting there!

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and support.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A happy thing

Why, ’tis a happy thing
To be the father unto many sons.
3 Henry VI

I keep losing track of the days, so it's nice to have Facebook to remind me that today is Father's Day. So I'd better add "Call Dad" to today's to-do list!

One of the major things on my list today is to finish textual notes for 1 & 2 Henry IV for next spring's round of the Kingship Cycle. Between Hal, Falstaff, and King Henry and it being Father's Day, I'm going to have dads on my mind a lot today. And I'm sure we'll be running Hamlet lines today, so there's another one!

Fathers and sons are so prevalent in Shakespeare's plays, and to be frank, not something I've given a great deal of thought to. This is about to change, however! These relationships (especially in the history plays) are profoundly troubled. Hal struggles with living up to his father's expectations, actively spoiling the view his father sees of him. Falstaff stands in as an alternate father figure, but which father's approval does Hal actually seek? Either? Both? At the end of 2 Henry IV (V.ii), Hal speaks about how he hopes he shall behave when he becomes a father and has a son like himself and how grateful he is to have the Lord Chief Justice to aid him when he does.

Prince You are right Justice, and you weigh this well:Therefore still bear the Balance, and the Sword:And I do wish your Honors may increase,Till you do live, to see a Son of mineOffend you, and obey you, as I did.So shall I live, to speak my Father’s words:Happy am I, that have a man so bold,That dares do Justice, on my proper Son;And no less happy, having such a Son,That would deliver up his Greatness so,Into the hands of Justice. You did commit me:For which, I do commit into your hand,Th’ unstainèd Sword that you have us’d to bear:With this Remembrance; That you use the sameWith the like bold, just, and impartial spiritAs you have done ‘gainst me. There is my hand,You shall be as a Father, to my Youth:My voice shall sound, as you do prompt mine ear,And I will stoop, and humble my Intents,To your well-practis’d, wise Directions.
If you are lucky enough to have your father in your life, give him a call or a hug today and let him know you're thinking of him. I'll be doing the same. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Summer!

Well, it is very nearly official. Just a few days away!

Things are gearing up for our festival season, so I can tell summer is just around the corner. Two weeks ago, the cast gathered for their first official meeting and to read through our three mainstage plays: Twelfth Night, Hamlet, and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. And let me tell you, these are going to be some rocking shows this summer. It is privilege to work with actors like these -- and they are going to knock your socks off.

A few days ago, we also sent out our finalized script for The Twelve Labors of Hercules to the children's show company. Our playwright, Jessica Hackett, has done a wonderful job bringing a tone of the truly classic to storytelling for kids. I can't wait to get memorizing on my roles in this show. We continue to fill our calendar with additional tours for Hercules -- see how we're doing so far by checking our summer schedule here.

Casting is also underway for Kingship Cycle Part One, and I have Part Two beginning to roll around in my brain as well. I can't believe just how many wonderful things are on the horizon for Adirondack Shakespeare Company this year. It's kind of incredible!

Thanks for welcoming me back to the world of blogging this summer. It's nice to be back after a hiatus. I'll be keeping you posted on the goings-on at the cabin as we prepare for the season and letting you know just what's coming up next for us. I would be thrilled if you would consider sharing this blog with others -- follow me on Facebook via Networked Blogs, or add me to your Google Reader, or take it a step further and consider making a donation to support Adirondack Shakespeare Company's 2012 Summer Festival Season! We'll be launching our IndieGoGo campaign very very soon!
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