Friday, 27 January 2012

4th week - expressionism

Talking to the players during their tea break at this rehearsal it is clear to them, as much as it is to me, that they are progressing (with the words) a lot faster than normal. There is general feeling of calm, which probably won't last, and, whilst there is still a long way to go, not least the scenery/costumes/lighting they all seem pleased with themselves. This has caused me to rethink how I approach the sessions. I had envisaged a much slower transition through the initial pain of line learning and was planning to record that more deliberately, but seeing as they are now starting to feel comfortable within their roles I have decided to focus on their characters. From a people unaware perspective I am doubly blessed, as I know them they will not be fazed as I take their photograph under normal circumstances and when in character they will portray a different person for me to capture as well.

This rehearsal I have decided to try and depict expression, both from a character in development perspective and from a "normal" viewpoint. Again there will be some additional shots that will "colour" the entry. I have reverted to monochrome and none of the images have been cropped - I do feel that cropping them would add to the dynamics of the photographs and will look into that later.

 Looking at the people as opposed to the characters first; I have tried to capture and portray expressions that depict strong concentration, fun and engagement. The first two shots are very similar and taken moments apart. I like the way that the co-Directors are working together. Kevin is listening intently to Emma as she explains her thoughts about the scene. I am concerned about the blur and this is partly due to the lighting and partly to do with technique which is to do with the camera (Fuji X100) that's new to me.

Here (left) Emma is listening to Karen, I am interested in Emma's body language, her head is tilted away from Karen, which tends to suggest that long used expression "I hear what you're saying..." but it is only a moment and it passed. Again, blur interrupting the information flow from image to viewer. The shot on the right deliberately has Kevin in focus during the break as the whole group gets together to talk. He is very clearly happy with the state of play; although I have always thought he would make an excellent choice for the part of "Smiler" in Wesker's "Chips with Everything"!

Here are two photographs of Kevin giving direction to Karen, both portray intent from Karen and both would benefit from cropping - see later

Here are some images of the Directors working together and, in the forth shot, with Michael, the SM. Emma likes to be next to the radiator, so Kevin needs to come to her. I don't think this has any bearing on the way in which their directorial relationship is developing. Interesting to note that their meeting with Michael is with both of them.

A couple of contemplative shots. Both Emma and Kevin are spending a good deal of time "looking" at the players "seeing" and how the players interact on stage. No sign of any concern at this stage - they must think this is easy!

I think these crops (from the earlier shots above) dramatically affect the interpretation on the image. The shot left has Karen intently listening and I have cropped it in a benign way i.e. without any "angle". In the second shot, literally a moment later" Kevin has extended his arm (already in motion on the first shot), Karen has modified her expression slightly and I have "shifted" the crop by about 10 degrees. The interpretation has also shifted from a benign to...well something different. I know that Karen hasn't changed her view, but the edit moves the viewer to another place. Something very interesting to consider.

The next set are mainly from the floor of the Hall and show the expressions of people there during the evening rehearsal.

 Dave (on stage) at a pause in the proceedings reverts to his normal self to check his script and notes.
 Two different perspectives of Sharon and Michael - from the "heads down" to the "heads up". One intensively serious the other reacting to the script as played out on stage - good to see this reaction so early.

The three shots of Pat, Jean and Sharon. Pat reads the play, Jean watches the stage and Sharon on a break - only Sharon seems to be less than fully focussed - I think she has reacted to me taking her photograph.

The next set of photographs are from the stage:

Jeff and Ken during a early scene that "sets the scene" for a passage later in the production

 These four shots all contain a great deal of expressive action and at this stage I didn't want to cull. The last shot is full of movement, as Jeff "moves" to Ken. This "movement" is expressed both physically and metaphorically as Jeff's character is depicted early in the play as "inferior" to Ken's character. The audience is allowed to challenge this proposition later in the play.

 I have been considering a "focus jump edit" type shot and this is my first attempt. Clearly (left) is a failure as there is only one shot! What I wanted to depict was two people in conversation and capture two photographs; one having the one character in focus conversing with the other player and the reverse for the second shot. However I took this shot and someone else, not Martin (out of focus here) carried on the dialogue. I am due to get a script shortly and should be able to plan this shot before hand. The shot on the right depicts a physical interaction conjured by the handshake and the expressions of all three players.

Two individual portraits. Karen left, in character, contemplating the reason she has joined her husband on this night out at a "Reunion". Ken - her fictional husband and organiser of the reunion is clearly happy at the prospect of being able to impress his school chums from may years ago. We shall see!

They didn't order a disco! But they got one! Here are Karen and Martin having trouble hearing themselves think above Jeff's "golden Oldies. There is a lot of movement. The wall stays still but just about about everything else in the shot is reverberating to the sound system. Martin right, is an expressive and verbose character

And here are a couple of shots of the shoes: They made their entrance at this rehearsal and despite a "coy" entrance they are anything but. A couple of shots, both on and off stage.


  1. This is going to be a wonderful record John. Oh- those shoes!!

  2. Yes, those shoes did raise a few titters! My concern will be the edit for the assignment of course.

  3. My exclamation was one of admiration I hasten to add - I like the one of them appearing slowly on stage!

    1. :) I did try and capture the shoes making a tentative first entrance!