Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Taking the cast picture for Earnest

In the weeks leading up to the opening of every theatrical production, directors and their casts and crews invest considerable time in preparation, whether it's their lines and positions on stage, the stage and props, or costumes and promotion.

After the last show of a production and any cast party that is thrown, many of those people who had become friends and bonded during preparations go separate ways and, in some cases, never see each other again.

So it it is not surprising that a troupe appreciates a full-cast photo for participants to have a memento of their experience.

I shot these cast photos of the Garfield Shakespeare Company's spring production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest on the evening of the crew's dress rehearsal, Wednesday, March 9, two days before opening night.

Time was limited; I had no opportunity to think about lighting and posing. We threw everybody together, and fired away so we could begin the play. I stand slightly elevated on a step of a step-ladder I brought with me, and I did manage to get the cast to pose for a normal smiling photo, a "serious look" photo, then a fun/goofy photo where any of the performers could show their true colors ... and possibly release some stress and pent up energy.

When I prepared the photos to share on Facebook, I decided to place the "serious look" photo in black and white (the photo leading off the post). I just didn't expect the strong, enthusiastic response to that decision once the photos landed on Facebook. Many people expressed appreciation for the monochrome version. The remainder appear below, along with (at the very end) a candid shot I took following the rehearsal, as director Chris Burton (far left, in the photo) began to review performance notes with the cast.

Some cast members occasionally stiffen for the "fun" photo, then lament weeks later -- when they see the joy and hilarity in the faces and expressions of other cast members -- and wish they had done the same. I think you'll see what I mean when you study the "fun" photo of this cast.

But a photo is a photo, and no matter how one or more people end up posing, it still tells its own story. Random thought to share: Writing about this particular aspect of my March 9 shoot, I was reminded of the album and title song of an early 1970s rock music release by Rod Stewart -- Every Pictures Tells a Story -- and the concluding lyrics of the song: Make the best out of the bad, just laugh it off. You didn't have to come here anyway, just remember ... Every picture tells a story, don't it? 

A reminder: Three performances of Earnest remain -- Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week at 7:30 p.m. at the Garfield Park Arts Center on the Southside of Indianapolis. Admission is free, but it's wise to call the arts center ahead of time to ensure and reserve seats. The center's number is (317) 327-7135.

A full gallery of photos from Earnest can be found at my site at SmugMug.com.

Photo geek stuff: Not much different here than what I had in my "geek stuff" in yesterday's post about the play itself. I used available light with a Canon 6D equipped with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens set at f/3.5, 1/160, ISO 4000 and average white balance. As I did for the play shots (which I failed to mention yesterday), I boosted the in-camera's auto noise-reduction to its highest level because of my need/choice to use such a high ISO. I did not need to use any noise-reduction software in post-processing. I tinkered slightly with color, exposure and shadows in Adobe Camera RAW before creating the JPGs in Photoshop Elements 13. 

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