This project was to try and culminate all the things we had learned this term. For this term we were asked to consider what the future could be like, and how as illustrators, we can warn people of these possible eventualities, and different ways we can predict the future (i.e. a fable; a story that portrays a lesson.). To begin the brief, we were asked to consider our views on; -How things will be. -How things might be. -How things should be. To get us started, we were given this to get our ideas flowing:
- Morality and story telling: Reflecting at the time of year and to explore the tradition of storytelling in all its many guises, at christmas. This time of year is full of remembrance, of hope, of new life and light, a time when our sense are heightened, a time to make something happen.
- Allow your audience to encounter, through Cautionary Tales, and warnings a world of: Simulation, projections, predictions, and forecasts. –The PAST creates the FUTURE.
We were then asked to choose our project; we were given many options including Editor, Journalist, Time Traveller, Incubator, and more, but I chose to work in the Puppeteering group, as I really wanted to try my hand at working in a group collaboration project, where ideas could form easily from feedback and a variety of different peoples ideas and feedback. In the puppeteer group, we began by as a group, reading a collection of different versions of the classic fairytale of Hansel and Gretel, we looked at versions of the stories by a number of different authors, including; Anne Sexton, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Antoinette Bon, and a polish version of Hansel and Gretel called ‘Jan and Hanna’. Once reading these we as a group chose aspects of the different stories which we liked and didn’t like, and from there created our own adaption of the famous fable. We decided the project was the last project before Christmas, we would reflect this in the story, which we did by including the famous Christmas Birds from the song ’12 Days of Christmas’ Christmas Carol, into the play, and made the story have a joint moral back story about giving back to society, and you will be rewarded (Hansel and Gretel give away all their food to the starving forest animals, but they are rewarded when they help Hansel and Gretel find their way home) inspired by the Grimm version of the Tale where a white duck carries the children across the lake on their way home. The traditional morals to the story of greed and the dangers of talking to strangers are also clearly portrayed, but the addition of the christmas aspect, not only reinforces the greed aspect, but creates its own moral. At the beginning of the project, as none of us in the group had much or any experience with Shadow puppets, an ex student, that now uses shadow puppetry in her work, came in to show us how she makes her shadow puppets, and to help us to understand the basics, as well as give us directions and inspiration. She showed us some examples of the puppets she has made;
She used coloured transparent sweet wrappers to add colour when the puppets are put against light, which inspired me to think how I could add colour to my shadow puppet designs, but I thought the fact it’s Hansel and Gretel means colour could be really interestingly used in the witches candy house. Although she was showing us how to make puppets, so that they can move and showing us how they reflect in the light, I was mainly inspired by her use of paper cut and I was inspired to experiment with scenery, and what that can bring to the story, inspired by the idea that scenery is what brings story context. So when we started to experiment ourselves over the weekend with different ideas, although I did attempt to make characters, I enjoyed making scenery much more, as I felt freer to experiment with different styles and ideas.
After the weekend, we had a meeting where roles were decided and the story was finalised so that the puppets, and the scenery could be made. I asked for the role making scenery, as I found making the characters to be extremely fiddly and I wanted to create lots of different things, and to really contribute to how the story looks when it is being presented. So after another meeting is had been decided that I would make the back ground scene, which included multiple wood sets, the home of Hansel and Gretel, 2 different versions of the witches house(one whole, and one partly eaten). I also made the props for the different interior scenes, such as cages, beds, windows, ovens etc.
I am also extremely proud of the fact that Amelia chose to collaborate with me to create the poster for the event, which went up around the CASD buildings, as well as emailed to all CASD students.
I loved seeing how the play came together, and seeing how my work contributed to bring the story to life. I also loved working in a group atmosphere and getting on going feedback on my work that saved my lots of time and energy, so that my best quality worked was produced much faster than it may have done otherwise. As a skill, I think I am quite good at cut out silhouette based work and I would like to come back to this technique in my work again. Overall I thought the play went well, the puppeteers and myself managed to pull the play together when it came to performing, and with little practice, we got the the show to run smoothly and professionally, as well as which, from the crowds reaction at the performance I think it was well liked.
A collection of images of the ‘stage/set’ for the shadow puppet show, made my Ashleigh Parsons, in the bottom image you can see one of the character shadows.