Thursday, June 12, 2014

A peek at what you don't see
when attending a theatrical production

My shoot for First Folio Productions' presentation of Romeo and Juliet late last month was a two-day affair. As indicated and illustrated in the previous post here, the first day was devoted to scenes from the dress rehearsal.

The second day was used to grab "behind the scenes" images, a group shot of the cast and crew, and some photos reflecting a refinement of the visual "show" the crew devised as part of the opening musical sequence. You saw a couple shots of the latter in the previous post.

This post is about the behind-the-scenes images, and it leads off with a shot of Susan Yeaw getting guitarist/vocalist Al Hoffman wired up for amplification. Susan worked the show in the control booth of the Ben Davis High School theater, but she is an accomplished actress who I met through her various roles with the Garfield Shakespeare Company.

I've come to learn that an angular perspective, or tilt, seems appropriate when composing a shot, and this scene in the control booth in the back of the theater seemed to be that time.

Above and next three below: Crew in the control booth work with the stage lighting and visual portion of the show. On stage are Glenn Dobbs, the play's director (first below) and cast member Jurrell Spencer (in costume), who played Count Paris. Shortly thereafter, Spencer would join fellow cast members Mark Varick and Anderson Parker in the first row of seats to watch further fine-tuning of the visual presentation. Varick played Benvolio, friend of Romeo, which was Parker's role.

Above and below: This silhouette of stage manager Melody Burnett, who also was in charge of set decoration, adjusting the curtain to the balcony is one of my favorite from the night's shoot. Earlier in the evening, Burnett and cast member John Mortell, who played Romeo's rival Tybalt, were nearby as the fog machine was tested.

Above: In the men's dressing room, Stephen Scull (Prince Escalus) makes his way toward a locker to put on his outfit.

Above and below: Outside the dressing rooms, cast member Brian Kennedy, who played Lord Montegue, finds his costume from the rack. A while later, he was in the dressing room beginning the makeup process. 

Above and next three below: Elsewhere in the men's dressing room, Daniel Clymer (above) finessed the look around his eyes, his costume (first below) hanging several yards away at his locker. Clymer played Friar Laurence. Also working on the eyes was fellow cast member Tristan Ross (second below), who played Juliet's father, Lord Capulet. Sitting on a chair against one of the walls were neatly arranged belongings and a dance scene mask.  

Above: In the women's dressing room, cast members Debbie Coon (left) and Michelle Wafford Mannweiler enjoy a laugh while tidying up. Coon played Balthasar, Wafford Mannweiler was Juliet.

Above: Carrie Reiberg's work with the aerosol can is captured in three mirrors. She played Juliet's mother, Lady Capulet.

Above: Kat Paton, who played Lady Montegue, concentrates on the eyes.

Above and below: Makeup artist Delores Dugger adjusts cast member Joyce Feichtner's bonnet (above) and sprays Paton's hair (below). Observing Dugger above is Jessica Thompson.

Above and below: Pre-rehearsal confabs can occur just about anywhere. The one above featuring (from left) Mortell, Dobbs, Varick, Parker (mostly obscured by Varick) and Spencer, ocurred outside the dressing rooms. The one below, featuring (from left) Dobbs, Andy Burnett (who played Abraham), Yeaw, Paton and Mortell, occurred behind the stage curtain, near the stairs to where performers reached the area for the balcony scene.

Above: After the behind-the-stage conference, Mortell has a playful exchange with another cast/crew member.

Above and next two below: The rehearsal's pre-show routine includes various stretching regimens. Above, Scull walks past Varick, who is using the stage as his mat for hamstring work. Both men will need to be limber for combat scenes. Scull (first below), supervised by Dobbs, does a hop routine. And the full cast (second below), in circle form, runs through a drill of tongue-twisters to hone the skill of recall ... and enunciation.

Above: The stage as seen from the theater's control booth, and the crew's table of stage props.

Above and next two below: A couple of performers have come up to me after seeing my pictures from shows, whether theater or music, and have told me how much they appreciated shots I've gotten from the perspective the performer has during a show. It serves as a fond, vivid reminder of their experience. Of course, these shots are missing a key component that they also see -- the audience. But from a perspective standpoint, the above shot is roughly what the actors see when they are on stage (even though lights there are mostly dimmed), and in the case of the second shot below, what a soloist has to deal with by way of a spotlight when they are front and center. The first show below reflects what Juliet looked out on when she did the balcony scene.

Above and below: These two shots represent a novelty of sorts. The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 ultra-wide-angle lens I used for these was designed for a small-sensor camera, like my Canon 7D. But I used it on my full-frame sensor Canon 6D. I simply had to zoom down to a point where vignetting disappeared. But the wide angle the lens provides give you a feel for what the First Folio visual presentation during the musical interludes looked like from difference perspectives. 

Above: Behind stage, a table holding the sundry props that would be used during the course of the performance. 

Above: The cast and crew of Romeo and Juliet.

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