In this weeks workshops we focused on lighting and sound, how to add light and sound to our performances in a way which would enhance the intentions behind them.
I found these workshops extremely useful as I have never had to put together my own technical arrangements in the past, I had always done it as part of a group or had it done for me by my director. Learning about different lights, lighting techniques and the semiotics of certain technical arrangements really made me aware of how much freedom I have when devising my final performance. Learning about how to portray memory and imagination was something I found particularly interesting as I am considering using memory in my final piece. I also found learning how to portray the passage of time on stage very useful as I want my performance to be set over the course of a day, so this is something that I will potentially explore further for my performance.
After discussing different lights and the effects that they can create on stage, I began to consider my own piece, starting with my pre-set. As my pre-set will be the first thing the audience see when they enter my performance space, there are lots of things to take in to consideration such as; the atmosphere that is created, the initial information that they receive, what do they see when they enter my performance space and also how do I want them to feel when they enter the space. Taking all of these things in to consideration helped me to view my piece from the perspective of the audience, which I think is extremely important, especially when working on a solo performance, as throughout the development and rehearsal process, there is no one who can view my work from a third party perspective.
After taking note of the importance of an effective pre-set, I began to explore ideas of how I can transition in to my first lighting state. We were shown examples of different lighting and transition techniques and I think that this will be dependant on the mood I want to create from the start of my performance. Throughout developing the tech for my piece, I think it is important to constantly view the piece from a third party perspective and not just my own, this will ensure that my performance is being portrayed in the way that I intend it to.
After discovering what technical options were available to us and learning about the semiotics of different lighting states, we were put in to groups and asked to create an opening section of theatre that sets an atmosphere and eventually builds in to a radical change. We were asked to do this using both lighting and sound, including silences and avoiding a narrative for the piece.
My group had the idea of starting with a primary blue wash on an empty stage, once the audience were seated we wanted the sound of crickets to begin playing very faintly. Our intention was to create the atmosphere of a pleasant summer evening. Over the course of one minute, the cricket sound began to get louder and louder until it was uncomfortable and almost unbearable to listen to. Simultaneously, the blue wash began to transition to a red wash, conveying danger and power which complemented the increasing sound of the crickets. As the soundscape had reached its peak and was about to cut off, we had a member of our group enter the stage, taking slow and steady footsteps from upstage left and in to centre stage. When the actor reached centre stage, we had a spotlight come on to reveal that he was holding a cup upside down. We did this as we wanted to create the illusion that there could possibly be a cricket under the cup. When the actor lifted the cup, it revealed a babybel placed in the palm of his hand. The reaction from our audience prior to this changed to laughter at this point and then we went to a black out.
When hearing feedback from our audience, a comment was made on the effect it had when the washes of colour transitioned at the same time as the volume of the soundscape increased. As blue has connotations of a calm and cool colour while red has connotations of danger, the slow fade from blue to red along with the increasing sound of crickets gave the illusion that something bad was about to happen. Having the actor walk slowly towards the centre of the stage in silence suspended this feeling and created tension. Relating this back to my piece, it made me realise the extent of the way lighting and sound can effect an audiences perception of a performance. Without the tech that we chose, our performance would have simply been an actor walking on stage and presenting a babybel to the audience, however with the light and chosen soundscape, we created a piece of theatre that displayed both tension and humour. This is something that I will definitely keep in mind when devising the technical aspect of my performance.