It’s been a busy week here at Bright Moon Theatre; finishing my debut brighton fringe show and doing the get out, realising I have so much stuff, props and tools and a very small house! Must put my order in for a garden shed next time we move house!
So the Muse has not let me rest, and I’ve been put to work on two new pieces; firstly, a puppet theatre performance of the epic poem The Lady of Shalott especially for this hallowe’en festival. It’s such a gothic, melancholy and beautiful piece of writing, and indulges my love of the pre-Raphaelite aesthetic.
I’ve used Waterhouse’s famous painting for the costume and set design colours and textures, and I’ve found some beautiful props to work with. Shalott’s face has been inspired by some beautiful paintings of Jane Morris, wife of William Morris and lover-muse of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She just looks so thoughtful and sad, I think she makes a good character for Shalott.
Her dress in the poem is described as being white, so using some artistic license, I’ve gone for an ivory off-white shade and found some vintage silks and a vintage pale floral-block printed Indian scarf which will make her dress sleeves.
Secondly, I’ve dug up an early piece I’d begun a couple of years ago whilst living in Australia; an adaptation of The Secret Garden for puppet theatre. It’s very much a stripped back version and focuses on just two characters, hence the tile, Mary & the Robin.
I found a gorgeous fat little hand-carved wooden robin in a vintage shop, and he’s going to be adapted straight into a rod puppet. He’s just so lovely; the maker has chosen an old bit of wood and has used the rough bark and the grain to echo the feathers and tail of this little fellow. I think it dates for around the 1930’s and was probably a special Christmas decoration.
The key is a very ancient thing, hand forged and hammered from iron, I’d love to know what kind of lock it was made to open…
The character of Mary is also coming to life, and I’ve found her a lovely earth brown and rose printed cotton scarf to make her a dress. I’ve used the painting of Sophy Grey by Millais c.1857 for her character inspiration and have embroidered her in silks today.
Here is a visual diary of the work so far…
The Lady of Shalott;
paintings by Waterhouse, Arthur Hughes & Jane Morris by Rossetti
Mary & The Robin;
Portrait of Sophy Grey by Millais c.1857