I think this may be something that everyone’s aware of, but just doesn’t understand (or perhaps it was only me that was blissfully unaware) – there’s a heck of a lot to creating a production at Lyric Arts. As a part of my Shakespearience, I was able to attend a production meeting for the play last week. What’s a production meeting, you ask? It’s actually more interesting than it sounds. Everyone from lights to choreography to scenery design has been toiling away to get this performance ready for you. A production meeting is essentially where everyone gets together to make sure they’re on the same page. I know you think this may sound boring, but surprisingly it wasn’t.
So, I enter the meeting and in addition to scripts, most everyone’s hauling around this Maxfield Parrish book. “Huh, wonder who he is, and what does he have to do with Shakespeare?” I mused. Turns out, he was an American painter in the early 1900’s whose work included bringing to life some of my most beloved childhood stories. We’re talking beautiful paintings of Ali Baba and even Jack Sprat. Later, Parrish created landscapes that evoke a sense of magic in the viewer. Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m gushing over some painter, and still asking what it has to do with Shakespeare. Ok, ok, I’m getting to it, but first check out this painting from Parrish.
Princess Paraizade Bringing Home the Singing Tree, Maxfield Parrish, 1906, oil on paper.
Ok, back to Shakespeare. So, scenery ideas don’t just appear from nowhere, right. Director Stephen O’Toole has decided to use the Maxfield Parrish imagery as an inspiration for the set and even costuming of As You Like It. At the production meeting, books were hauled out as decisions were made on everything from sashes to tree stumps. And if you’re wondering just which Parrish paintings were used, you’ll have to join me for the performance. And don’t forget about the Playbook that Lyric Arts is introducing. If my ramblings on about what I’ve learned about Shakespeare just aren’t clearing things up for you, Stephen O’Toole will be hosting a Playbook, where the audience can join him prior to selected performances to gain a greater understanding of what to look for. For more details, check out the link over on your right, and come back on Wednesday for another exciting entry – Behind the Seams.
Have questions about what we're doing here? Find out the whole story at Jessica's Shakespearience, and don't forget to keep those questions coming!