Wednesday, September 28, 2005



I thought these looked, quite old and Venice like.
I could see florindo and the male lovers possibly wearing something similer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Set design



Some more ideas from Mark Stiven. Comments welcome

Costume design


This idea from Olivia Cheung

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The play as a whole

I hope these notes will be particularly helpful to those of you working on a set design

A Servant to Two Masters - Set Design Notes

The opening scene strikes quite a formal tone – everything is mannered and done by the book.
However, it is middle-class. We are not really dealing with the aristocracy and the mega-rich. Rather, Goldoni is poking fun at the middle-classes with their small-minded attitudes and desire to be socially accepted. Pantaloon, with his financial caution, is probably the butt of much of the satire. He is quite well-off but not at the top of the social pile. His house is probably quite expensively decorated but he is not rich enough to be casual with the objects – he is probably terrified that something expensive will be broken. While the decor may be quite expensive, it may not be in the best taste.

Similarly, the scenes involving Beatrice, Truffaldino, Florindo etc. should not be made too grand. After all, they are ‘escaping’, ‘on the run’ and are really living from day to day. They can’t afford to stay at the grandest places and Brighella’s inn must reflect that. It should be a respectable eaterie, not a fine restaurant.

As I’ve said before, food is crucial to this play – it is Truffaldino’s single motivating force – and I’d really like to explore ways of involving the audience in that theme – probably by seating them as if at a restaurant and serving them food. They could, of course, be seated in Brighella’s.

I am suggesting that we need to create two environments here – Pantaloon’s house and Brighella’s inn (with some ‘outside’ spaces as well). They don’t need to be fully realised, naturalistic sets – but there does need to be a distinction between them. The plot is confusing and the audience needs to know very clearly where each scene is taking place if they are to have any hope of following it.

At the same time, it is vital that the play moves along at a rapid pace. We cannot spare any time for lengthy scene changes. Really, we need to be able to change from location to location almost instantly.

Of course, the two locations must be linked by the fact that they are both in Venice and I think Venice should be thought of as an important ‘character’ in the play. I don’t want to recreate Venice in 1750 but I do want to suggest it. It is the time and place I want to set the play. Of course, water might be important in that respect and I think it is worth considering how water might be used in the setting.
Another vital element to capture is the relish with which Goldoni treats his ridiculous and improbable plot. He seems to enjoy the fact that we couldn’t really believe any of it – except that we do believe it because it is happening in the theatre. I’d like the set to capture somehow that quality of make-believe, that theatricality. We all know it’s not true but we all believe it anyway.

Truffaldino

Truffaldino

Based on the Harlequin character, who traditionally wore a costume of irregular patches of diverse colour.
Truffaldino means ‘little truffer’ or ‘trougher’ – the idea being that he was always ‘at the trough’, always eating.
Capable of being both clumsy and graceful.
Complications in the plot are often the result of his mistakes or shortcomings – or of his tendency to be distracted.
Should probably be described as the central character. He is not educated but is quite quick-witted (though he tends to respond to situations rather than plan them) but we shouldn’t forget that he is a servant – he mustn’t be too grand or well-dressed – he always needs money and probably spends any that does come his way on food.
Hunger and food are his key motivating forces – but this doesn’t necessarily mean he is fat – in fact, probably the opposite – there is a frenetic energy about him that means he burns up any calories he does manage to take on board.

Beatrice

Beatrice

Like the other lovers, she is young and attractive with more than a hint of vanity. Conscious of her appearance and of the way she is viewed by others.
Rather like Imogen Stubbs as Viola in Twelfth Night she probably quite enjoys playing a man – but there is always a vulnerability about her, as if she constantly expects to be caught out. Nevertheless, she makes a very good job of appearing confident and full of bravado. A bit of ‘swagger’ about her.

Florindo

Florindo

Another of the ‘lovers’. Tends to be young and attractive and fashionable. Is a ‘blade’, a ‘dandy’, an attractive young man about town. Engaging.
Needs to be less ‘showy’ than Silvio and Clarice. He is aware of his attractiveness but achieves it with much less time in front of the mirror than Silvio – more casually attractive. More macho than Silvio.

Smeraldina

Smeraldina

Related to the Columbine character. Dress was often related to the Harlequin, with patches of diverse colour.
Tends to be quite a sparky servant, quite able and clever and capable – a bit like Maria in Twelfth Night.
Often loves the Harlequin character (Truffaldino) but is clever enough to see through him. Has a tendency to scold the Harlequin.
Her comments about Silvio right at the beginning suggest the overtly lustful quality of someone who suspects they are getting a bit past it. We quite like it as an audience, though. We also like her ‘bolshie’ quality.

Brighella

Brighella

In a position where he is more than a servant – he owns his own place and was Pantaloon’s best man but his status is not high enough to give him a major influence on the plot.
There is scope to play him as very camp.

Silvio

Silvio

One of the lovers. Son and pride and joy of one of the main families. Have a tendency to be vain – they are often more in love with themselves and with the idea of being in love than they are with their partner. Extremely aware of being watched. Often self-obsessed and selfish. A bit shallow and vapid, but not unpleasant or disreputable.
The type who likes to strike impressive poses – but there is a sense that there isn’t much substance behind them. Probably spends quite a bit of time in front of the mirror. Well-groomed.

Clarice

Clarice

Based on the Isabella stock character. Daughter of Pantalone.
Like Silvio, she is in love, first, with the idea of being in love and of being seen to be in love. She does love Silvio but that is second to her love for herself.
Can be prone to mood swings. Is often flirtatious and sometimes headstrong.
Highly aware of being watched and, therefore, of her appearance.
Like the idea of Clarice and Silvio being somehow linked by their costumes, almost as a public declaration of their love – a bit like the Beckhams do when they go to a premiere.

Dr Lombardi

Dr Lombardi

Like Pantaloon, he is not keen on pomp and fuss – but perhaps for different reasons – perhaps sees it as rather vulgar (where Pantaloon simply doesn’t want to spend any money).
There is a sense that he is from a more established family (old money as opposed to Pantaloon who has probably made his own). There is something of the Sergeant Wilson about him to Pantaloon’s Captain Mainwaring (Dad’s Army!)
He is refined and probably rather elegant in a restrained and conservative way. ‘Fashion’ is something of a dirty word to him

Pantaloon

Pantaloon

Traditionally, the top of the pecking order. Tends to be the rich one and, therefore, tends to be obeyed.
Often tall and skinny, scrawny in some descriptions.
Traditional costume tended to use red and black and grey – quite sober colours.
There is a quality of self-importance about him. Can often be mean to his servants and narrow-minded to his children.
We see his meanness right at the beginning when he is reluctant to throw a big party.
Think there is more than a bit of Basil Fawlty about him. He is someone who is desperate to move up a class and is desperate to impress whoever seems to be the most powerful or socially important at any time.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Set design




This design is by Thomasin (Sept 05)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Auditions

Auditions will take place in the theatre on Thursday 8th September at 4.15pm

Brief Design Meeting

There will be a brief design meeting in E2 on Thursday 8th September at 11.35am. All welcome

yes

that is kinda what I mean but not so that they are so much in the public eye and more that they take place without realising that they have (like a waiter in a restaurant)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Wow. I love your ideas Mark! You commented on scene changes and this made me think (shock horror!). I really feel actual stop-the-play-scene changes would really ruin the pace (a thought which has probably occured to most people already, but I am slightly slow on the practical side) . I think hiding the changes completely would be almost impossible, especially if we managed to ditch the proscenium arch set up. Instead, would it be possible for the waiters, visibly and in character, to do all the moving of furniture? I don't think we need a lot of furniture, just the minimum, to allow more space for movement. What do you think?

Friday, September 02, 2005

just got back from italy


well just got back and have now compleatly changed my idea
to some thing along the lines of (if we demolish the pros) an unfinished painted wall to look like a chipped plaster wall of venice possibly with etchings mainly in terracotta and medditeranian colours and lots of different Stuck on and not openable (as it is on a wall) windows (various styles and shapes ) possibly have a few hanging loose infront of the wall wich could have lights behind
and then in a simmilar style have the old scaffold tower clad in wood and designed as an abstract yet in a classical style house which can hve steps up the back on the inside and use of the levels in side and as it would only be clad on 3 side you can of course flip it around as it is on wheels. it would also have shutters that would open possibly a mock balcony but certainly one large door and two smaller on either side.
floor would be wooden and furnature fairly elaborate (BUT NO ACTUALLY VALUABLE VASES PLEASE!) and across the roof a tab track wih separatable hesian cloths with a couple swagged this would be able to block of any unwanted stuff and could have elaborate fringes. all big changes (which would only really be movement of furnature ) could be done behind this and all changes or movement of scenry should be done by asms or characters in costume. funature to remain (when not in use at the sides of the stage.
I do know where to get the hesian from with tab fastenings on already.
hope that makes sence will produce some sort of model(by the way when do we needto do that for.)
yours Mark

wall to be in the style of the photo above but a bit more romantic

in terms of water effect you could film the reflction of water and then project that on to the wall and to make scene changes obvious or changes of location you could project the scene number and location on to certainareas of the set.