I understood that taking on a live project would mean taking risks in transforming a design into reality on a time limit, however this task also meant exercising a new level of conscientiousness, time efficiency and communication to minimise problems and aid organisation and hence, the realisation of the designs.
Creating the set design first definitely put greater pressure on me knowing that there was a strict time allowance as it was to be made. I did struggle at first with no real direction, but once Cubism was established I felt I found my niche and worked quickly to create a contextual design that satisfied both the Director and myself, that would also be within budget. The talk from Pamela Howard aided my experimentation in model making and this shows in my design where I have used alternative methods to create unique and relevant paint techniques. In the set's minimal format and from working with Richard I really grasped a greater understanding on the requirements of a sound structure, masking and an appropriate way to build a set.
In realising this design in a small space of time I really had to work hard, both mentally and physically to make sure it happened, from being at the set build and paint to organising extra people to help to ensure it was completed on time. In this case I really adapted to the extensive workload and enhanced my confidence in communication and presenting my ideas to ensure my desired result was reached to the best standard possible. As expected there were problems, for instance the curtain pulley requiring one curtain track meant an alteration in the set shape. Problems such as this have benefited my ability to make informed intellectual decisions as I had to alter the set yet be technically aware of sight lines and maintain the Cubist set aesthetic, in both shape and decoration, I clearly chose a successful choice as the final result hardly differed from my model. Communication in a live project is also vital, I made sure I was always available to contact and often on site so when problems did occur I could help smooth them over quickly. This is also relevant for costume as the WWI costume dilemma which could have potentially been huge, but being available for discussion recognised a feasible solution fast. Communication is one aspect of the project that I thought could be improved when it comes down to the roles of the technical draughtsman and I. Firstly, by defining the precise role of both designer and draughtsman so I was clear of my role from the outset as when our discussion did come around, it felt very late as they were caught up in the previous production which I felt meant that the time and detail in the drawings for this project were slightly lacking. This made things particularly difficult when we came to their absence at the get in, next time I would ensure I have greater contact from an earlier stage and throughout their work.
Working with Kokoro has definitely enhanced my professionalism as a designer in being respectful of their needs in my designs and presenting myself with experience at fittings and such so they feel comfortable and, importantly, enjoy being part of the production. Costuming them definitely added to the performance aesthetic uniting both action and music handsomely as well as continuing to set the WWI context of the piece throughout. This was a real challenge to my design skill being aware of their requirements as well as the impact the music has within the performance and how this should relate to its operation and appearance.
Undertaking the role of the designer has improved my ability to be specific and confident about what I want in the case of both costume and set in reasoning with the Director and costume makers. My intellectual decision making was also challenged in fabric buying for example, where I had to consider the visual of the design, character and budget at all times. I am elated with how these final fabrics looked on stage and translated the qualities I wanted to express about each character so well. The Costume Supervisor, Buyer and I worked really well together to be efficient and make final decisions that were true to the designs and to a highly professional standard. This tight team also aided my aptitude to cope with the immense stress of the project and maintain a positive attitude throughout.
I feel I have achieved a succinct aesthetic throughout both costume and set that are united and compliment each other perfectly in their contrasting natural and surreal qualities respectively. The design showed clear context and had the tales storytelling aspect at heart. The success of the realisation of my work is shown in their almost identical likeness to the original designs and evidenced further in the accomplishment of a fantastic production. I feel grateful to have had such a talented team to collaborate with that resulted in such a grand conclusion to the project. As a designer I have grown in confidence, ability and awareness of what is required to create a set that encompasses a clear operation, is feasible and strong visual statement.