Tonight was the first night of All-Star Gorilla, at the Fringe Bar, 7pm Sundays 5, 12 and 19 of May, part of the current Comedy Festival. Not only do I get to make up comedy on-the-spot with a bunch of lovely co-conspirators, I also had the fun of creating the mask for our new gorilla, Dru.
I wasn’t the person-in-the-suit tonight, but have worn it a couple of times to promote the show. Being a gorilla completely changes the way it feels to hand out flyers to the public – people smile and take the things from you nearly every time, rather than that explicit ignoring thing which street promotion usually engenders. It is of course very hard to ignore a shaggy beast, especially if she’s being cute and friendly.
Designing posters and flyers and sandwich boards for Thrills & Swoon was a fun assignment. Billed as ‘Improvised Romance’, this May 2013 Comedy Festival show makes affectionate use of pulp novels for inspiration.
My own secret thrill for the next few weeks will be seeing the posters on derelict buildings, alleyway walls and other such poster-posting places around the town, along with small stacks of flyers competing for attention with other flyers on coffee shop counter tops. In the category of “details no one will ever consciously notice”, the background here includes a swimming unicorn, a hand drawn rainbow and a sunset from a trip down the Nile I took a few years back. The central couple were part of an Eclipse Photographic shoot five or six years ago, for a completely different WIT show – but some looks never go out of style. The satin in the foreground is a Photoshop tinted picture of my old red petticoat. Sometimes commercial stock pictures just don’t have the elements you need.
Now, the shell has been made, ears formed, eyes put in and cuts made for eyes nose and mouth. Painting tomorrow . . .
All going well she’ll soon be ready for her supporting role in the NZ Comedy Festival.
I’m in an improvised comedy show next month, which mostly explains why I am spending this afternoon creating a mask for the eponymous Gorilla.
So far, I’ve finished a rough clay form over a plaster cast, next step will be draping it with a thermoplastic sheet (Instamorph) and then will be painting and adding fur. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, not bad at all . . .
Another poster off to the printer today. This intriguing improv show uses audience input as starting points for some well twisted tales.
It’s part of the 2013 Fringe Festival happening in February-March; so if you’re in Wellington, come to opening night, or, ok, one of the other nights.
I was taking sensible photos of friends performing improv onstage last night, when the lighting tech decided to use a strobe to indicate transition between scenes – I managed to whirl the speed settings to catch this one. Technically, ISO 800, F2, 1/2 second.
Improvisors are the loveliest people to photograph – they tend to have desperate twisty faces, which get pushed to extremes, as they try to convey as much information about a character or a story in the least possible amount of time. Stage lighting, shifting as quickly as the performers’ expressions, makes for some interesting photographic challenges. So much to learn . . .
Facebook gallery here, and buy tickets to the show or find out more about WIT if you’re in Wellington, NZ
Another great show from the Wellington Improv Troupe is due to start soon, a nine week soap opera, and I’ve been having a bunch of fun making some publicity material for it.
My bit of the project started with a half-hour photo shoot (that half hour included setting up the lights and photographing about 7 performers in different combinations). Then there was the real work of making online banners and icons, fliers and an A0 poster for the venue window. I love playing with retro design, but the 1980s when the show is set ain’t quite a classic era yet – the challenge was to evoke a ‘design essence’ of 1982, but not in such a way that it’s going to be mistaken for merely accidental old fashioned styling. The design also needed to let the possible audience know this will be more comedy melodrama than serious exploration of New Zealand education in the Muldoon years.
If you are in Wellington on a Wednesday during August and September, you should definitely come to the Fringe Bar and check out the
poster show for yourself!
Finished: the flyer for The Last Saloon, a show in the NZ International Comedy Festival in Wellington next month – should be an excellent time!