The following is about the new production, Ha Ha Da Vinci, which I’ve been developing over the past year.
When Luca (our protagonist), enters the theater, he is playing a sousaphone, and his way is lighted by a lantern that hangs from the instrument’s bell.
“Think about what’s not being said by the actor” said Erin McNamara, the designer I met with a few weeks ago, “the set, props, and costumes will tell the story that’s not being told by the script.”
This seems like such a simple concept, but the effect it had was profound. The objects in the new show I’m creating transformed, and each seemed to pose a question:
“What do I mean?” said the radio.
“What purpose do I serve?” said the bedroll.
“How do I make your protagonist feel?” said the thermos.
As I continue to rehearse different elements of the production, I'm realizing more and more how much these visual props and set pieces will impact the way the story is perceived.
Unbeknownst to me, the colors of these objects, the way shades and patterns contrast each other, the era or time period they recall, and even their condition - shabbiness or shininess - says something, and tells part of the story.
Making the Ha Ha Da Vinci "lookbook"
To crystalize the visual elements in the show, I’ve begun putting together a “lookbook” or visual outline of the production. I’m drawing or painting every visual "frame" in the show, creating close ups of each of the props and set pieces.
The goal isn't just for my own clarity - although I'm discovering something new every day - but to help my collaborators understand the end goal, and hopefully, to gain some new collaborators in the process of sharing these images.
Two close up views of Luca’s Lantern. Different design options and ideas.