Something we had to do for a university assessment.
Blog report: HAYAH – the performance Michael George Brough
Week 3 11.10.10
Our team of stylists met the actors for the performance and skim read through parts of the play with the director, and from then onwards madness ensued. The play called HAYAH is a potent mix of fables, love and general fairytale-like wonder. The play is immersive theatre – where the audience and backstage are actively involved in the show, which is a very bizarre concept to think about with regards to where the stylists are going to be for the show! The stylists duty will be to research and design ideas for the characters make-up, hair and clothes then source the clothing from a (budget of £500!) and make-up along with application and dressing the models on the night and we have but a few weeks to do it!
Week 4 Initial ideas
Just read through the play and the storyline is very complex and has lots of quick character changes along with popping between era’s and storylines. This is going to make the styling really have to pull together to aid the story telling, the team is however positive we can do it in the few weeks that we have. The team also had to pitch to the director and Andrew Markham tutor at Southampton Solent for Fashion.
Week 5 Initial issues
Just found out I am one of the team leaders, so am very excited to be working with the other team leaders (Ally Williars, Stacy Woodcock) and head stylist Chrissie Hilton-Gee. So the play seems all that more real and its dawning on us that we need to get the characters clothing and make-up conceptualised.
Just got back from the rehearsal venue after pitching our current ideas of the styling- finally there is a definitive list of clothes to allocate to all the groups equally. Hopefully by next week we should have sourced most of the clothes or if we are using already sourced garments I am collecting them on Thursday when I see my first run-through of the play. The hardest thing about this week has been counting the amounts of different clothes with lots of outfits which are shared or some actors having multiple copies of clothes for different nights due to the clothes getting dirtied in the play. This process has been made harder as Chrissie and I have been trying to sort out if certain characters can share clothes depending on whether they have overlapping scenes or close changes and if they are the same size, all the while working out if we can afford it all on our limited £500 pound budget.
Dissapointed by the turn out of the stylists for the run through - I was the only stylist there and there are no clothes currently sourced. If the stylists carry on working like this the plays going to be a mess. On a positive note the run-through really clarified how the play is put together and how it fits into our vision. It was also a great opportunity to really get into the characters minds and to map out subtle styling differences with relation to the character changes.
Still waiting for lots of the clothes to be sourced so Chrissie and I have re assigned different members to get clothes and we’ve got lots to buy ourselves so have just bought about 15 pairs of pretty much anything monochrome black from Primark! Which was a lot of shoes to carry back through the rain before bringing it all back to the venue next week for the first dress rehearsal!
The dress rehearsal was interesting but we still had a very limited turn out from the styling team. We also realised earlier in the week when the characters where trying clothes on that the process of keeping track of clothes and 30 or so pairs of shoes is very difficult and there’s always a few pieces that don’t fit so we had to resource a few garments.
In the last week building up to the play the team still had a few clothes to source – the white jackets being very difficult, as white male blazers are hardly popular in the autumn on our budget. We decided therefore to buy grey jackets from Primark and we still needed to attach the wings for the angels to really come alive.
Next we had our first run-through of the play which was a stressful but rewarding experience on the Monday of the week of the show. I had to organise who could dress particular characters, this was worked out by most stylists having two or three actors and there corresponding characters. Sadly a few actors overlapped scenes so some actors had to be dressed by different stylists for each character, which made keeping track of clothes a nightmare. The run-through went relatively smoothly but in the styling area smooth would certainly not be the word I described it with everybody fighting to get to outfits and change characters in time. The practice however was great to really see all our hard work coming into place and many a late worried night spent planning it. The practice outlined the need for a make-up practice session which we also did the following day and was a really useful session applying the make-up and taking them off again quickly as the base was tricky to get even. But eventually even I was happy and confident that I could apply the make-up quickly and well.
Woke up today and realised that tonight was my night and felt a little shimmer of worry as the nerves started to kick in. Just talked to the team from the previous night and apparently it had all gone relatively smoothly. I double double checked that I had all my teams information and adequate styling equipment for later when I arrive for the play.
So the team has just turned up for the play and we are all reorganising our outfits and making up the characters. It’s very much the calm before the storm and we all sit back and wait till the doors open. When the doors finally opened there was a surprising amount of people and as stylists we had to get involved with the actors onstage styling and tidying up the make-up. Soon the first scene was starting and venue was basically full. The first issue came from one characters hat which somehow managed to get into the centre of the stage which resulted in the character not wearing the hat for their first scene. It was also difficult to navigate around the edge of the venue to get to actors as there where members of the audience sitting in locations that made this very difficult. The team however prevailed and in the styling area everybody was relatively calm and prepared and in the more difficult moments we all helped each other.
The play eventually drew to an end and the crowd cheered ferociously as we all breathed a sigh of relief. The second the audience was out we all began tidying up safe in the knowledge that our work was done and done well. The performance had been really exciting and I overheard one member of the audience quoting “that the styling and prosthetics where exciting and stimulating”. The next and final day of the performance was also a success I am told and again left many audience members amused, shocked and occasionally a bit scared! All was left next was to sort out clothes, tidy our workspaces and rest well knowing a good play had been seen by all audience members there.
It was really exciting getting involved and watching the audiences delight as various characters seemingly appeared next to them around the venue. And this feeling made all the late evenings surrounded by empty coffee cups totally worth it. The play ran from start to finish and was without any obvious floors. If the play had been done again I would work with a smaller team for the sourcing and planning aspect so it is easier to involve and monitor everyone on their process to keep things moving. It was really great working with the actors – more information can be found on them here http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/BA-Hons-Performance-Southampton-Solent/120270458024587, or just by searching HAYAH on Facebook. The play has been a really interesting insight into the goings on for theatre and there really was never a dull moment!