Thursday, 12 June 2014

Working with projection with Matthew Robins

Matthew Robins Projection work on 'The Light Princess', 
As Leverhulme scholars, Dot and Ethel have been working with the Egg in developing the piece. Yorick. We have just had our first R&D session with our 'yorick' Mark Curtis, but prior to this we had a 4 day development session  'The Incubator', at the egg alongside the other Leverhulme scholars. We had some interesting sessions with some very talented practitioners, Marc Parrott let us play with all his amazing puppets...

Kitty and the chicken, everyone's favourite
...and make a few of our own too!

Marc Parrott gets us making newspaper puppets

Heidi gets stuck in
One session which partiuclarly caught my attention was a half day session with master projectionist Matthew Robins, a performance projection artist who has worked on a a series of exciting installations and projects including 

'The Light Princess'

 at the National Theatre. A project where projection dictated the stylised world of the groundbreaking piece.

As a set designer, i have been extremely excited by the rapid advance of the use of light and projection in sculptural terms; creating atmospheres and worlds that performers are able to interact with and are far more effective and adaptable than 'material things'. This is an idea that harks right back to the start of the century with practitioners such as Edward Gordon Craig. there is no cincidence that these are still the first names in theatre design and scenography studies.
Our production of 'The Little Match Girl' used light and projection in a number of ways in spite of being relatively 'lo fi'. In fact, for this particular project, I believe it was this lo-fi element that gave the piece charm and heart. Dot and Ethel have an ethos of telling the truth and revealing accidents through our work. We took great delight in presenting to our audience how the simple cut out pieces of card transformed into seemingly living and lively objects once puppeted over the OHP.

Matthew demonstrating his work to us
We also had a beautiful stop motion animation created by Mae Voogd, an incredibly talented illustrator and film maker. Incorporating this film into the piece added a complete change of scale and focus, a little refreshing nudge to an audience whose average age was 3.

The Leverhulme scholars get stuck in!

To date, this was the summation of Dot and Ethel's work with projection, so it was fantastic to have this masterclass, where we took it to the next level, using live feed with our projection to create a combination of live action with animation and illustration. 

Harriet recently inherited her Grandpa's slide projector (along with endless holiday snaps), which we brought into the r&d. Alongside this we had two OHPs. The layering up of projection was something that Matthew opened our eyes to at the Incubator. Yorick takes place inside a tent which gives us the most incredible canvas upon which to work. We are at very early stages, but this is certainly a device we are excited about using in our story.

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