Everything you see on stage during a performance needs to be planned and well thought out. It definitely goes for the performances from the actors, but it also goes towards the other, less obviously elements of a show. It's the Production Manager's and Stage Manage's job to make sure that everything is created to the director's vision.
As part of creating the world of the Librarians, we've had to build a small section of the Lional Tindergast Community Library where the action takes place. Even with only such a small space, we've painted around 350 books that stack on shelves and that live in piles around the space. It's been a huge effort on the part of the cast to paint every single one of the books. Below are a couple of pictures of the set at different stages into the final product. They look amazing on stage, and even though they were a nightmare to make, they were worth all the hard work.
After painting the vacuum formed bookcase black, we started adding the first details of the pages on the to of the books.
After the tops had been painted, we mixed a variety of dark greens/reds/browns that would make up the suitably dingy look that the Library required.
One at a Time
We ran into a serious problem: how to mix dingy colours without them always turning out brown.
The Colours of Mould
After we painted them, we started adding a layer of watered-down black. We needed the books to look suitably old and worn without having to wait hundreds of years.
Nearing the End
If a picture paints 1000 words then we must have painted more than 10,000 books. That makes sense if you think about it.
Books on a Bookcase
With all 350 books painted, aged and detailed, The Librarians Flats are complete!
The Librarians showcases many of the talents that we're developing in the Minotaur Theatre Company. Not only will be performance include music, singing and a bookload of dark comedy, puppets make an appearence to provide an inhuman presence on stage. For this production, we created two puppets: The Grim Reader and the Book Monster. See Director, Lewis Garvey's, artwork below.
THE GRIM READER
Newspapers: All Doom and Gloom
The starting point of the Grim Reader was to make the shape of the face. Boo.
To make the puppet more durable, we added a layer of mod-rock over the paper. It looks spooky already.
Look into my Eyes
The first layer of paint goes on. Check out the hands taking shape in the background, too.
The Living Dead
Now that the Grim Reader's body parts have been made, we need to fix them together. Stage Manager, Ed, works on making the mechanism for the mouth.
The various pieces of the Grim Librarian are stuck together for the first time. Just a few tweaks to go here and there...
Click below to watch a quick snapshot of who is making the Grim Reaper and how it was going half way through the rehearsal process.
The head is made to look like a giant book with teeth. I think that's quite self explanatory.
Tall and Deadly
The wooden pole is used to simulate a spine. Not only does it mean we have a way of holding the puppet up, it means we can build the body around it.
Here's Looking at You
The mouth is given a first layer of paint as well as some bloodshot eyes. You wouldn't want to meet this monster lurking between the shelves.
We start to assemble the different parts of the puppet. Giant hands, huge teeth: how will it ever be stopped?..
Cicely Long, follow Minotaur member, came in to help us master the movements and spirits of the different puppets. Thanks!
Together with the set, lights and a very scared Hardbach - the monster finally comes to life!
Ed Jones and Harry Denniston discuss how they've been creating the music for Minotaur's production of The Librarians.
© 2014 UEA Drama and Minotaur Theatre Company