Jim's Richard III Blog

What had started as a blog of Richard III rehearsal process at Cal Shakes has now evolved or devolved into a small novella. The author is petrified to change the name for fear it'll disappear, and wouldn't know what to call it anyway. Many stories are included and questions are even answered sometimes!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Re: Cold and Light

Carrie K asked these:

I've got a Richard III costuming question for you- are you all freezing at the end of the night?

A: It depends on the night and the costume--I could've gone on wearing only my crown last night. It's always a guess as to what it's going to be like out there; I've developed a keen weather eye, and can often be found atop the men's trailer moist finger raised to the blustering wind and crying things like "It looks like a Nor' Easter Captain!"
Seriously? It can be glorious, it can be nasty. I try not to let costumers put me in skimpy outfits after wearing a kilt in a production of Henry IV we did in '95 -ish; I didn't have to paint myself blue at all, I was blue, and freezing, and holding onto my 6' broadsword hoping my fingers wouldn't stick to it. But it works the other way as well--I was clad in one production in a blue leather suit and during one week we had a matinée that was 104 degrees.......my chair stuck to my butt when I tried to stand up. EEwww.
Sorry. Too much information.

Q: Grateful for the gambling metaphor that inspired the Las Vegas style strip lights?

A: Grateful? I'm not quite sure what you're asking, but it sounds as if you didn't like them -- and that's OK. No. would be my uncertain response--I don't like strip lights or any kind of lighting that shines directly into my eyes, BUT -- if it wasn't there? No one would see me. Direct or angled front lighting I find the easiest to work with, but footlights and neon are quite popular now. I'm not fond of neon either. Makes you look like a zombie. NIGHT OF THE LIVING RICHARD. CAL SHAKES ZOMBIES FROM THE GRAVE. OK, I just made myself snort. It's fun--try it yourself! THE AUDIENCE FROM BEYOND THE TOMB. Lord, I'm a silly man.

You get used to working with the lights, get used to "finding your light" so that your face is lit and not your feet, know where the darker spots onstage are. Lighting designers are essentially painting with lights, and that can be tricky--when is it calling attention to itself, when is it supporting rather that detracting from the scene?

It's all pretty tricky.


Anonymous Carrie K said...

Oh, sorry I was unclear but that's a much better answer than I deserved! I was stuck on the temperature - it was cold when I went! But I did like the use of the lights - it was particularly effective in the execution/battle scenes.

Your chair stuck to your butt? That's hilarious.

June 13, 2007 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger James Carpenter said...


It's really only hilarious when it's not YOUR butt. When it IS your's? Not so much. Then it's just "EEeewww!"

June 13, 2007 at 3:08 PM  

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