Thursday, May 14, 2009

3 Penny: Preliminary media research

After reading 3 Penny Opera, I wasn't quite sure what direction to take things in. I generally enjoyed reading the play, but it didn't leave a particularly strong impression in one way or another- in the sense that I couldn't point at any one theme that I knew I could use to start designing the set.

Brecth is apparently really good at portraying his own ideas about the process of theater, even when the issue isn't directly addressed in the script. As I was reading the play, I knew nothing about Bretch's ideology, but I couldn't picture the play taking place anywhere but on a stage. When I read Waiting for Godot, I imagined the country road. When I read Big Love, I imagined the big Italian terrace. When reading 3 Penny Opera, I imagined a middle school drama club set.

To that end, I started searching for images- but instead of looking for any sort of image, I limited myself to paintings and drawings. I felt that the set should be very "flat," so that, for example, if there were an awning on the outside of a storefront, it would probably just be a backdrop painted to look like there was an awning right there. At the very most it might be a few sheets of plywood painted to look as if they were made out of fabric.

I focused on images of streets, since that seemed like an important element of the play.

I also looked for some images that reminded me of the actual setting of the play- London about a hundred years ago or earlier. I found some great images that really captured the two sides of the city: the glamour and the squalor.

Finally, I found a few images of workshops. I pictured Peachum's Beggar's Emporium to be just like an old fashioned cobbler's- an old man working with his hands out front, right where his customers will see him when they come in.

While I wasn't sure that these images would translate very closely into the actual set, I liked the very 2D nature of them and knew that I could at least use them for inspiration.

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