I taught a class last week to a group of students, whose primary area was not Scenic Design. The class was divided up into three sections. First, I talked and shared images from a photoshop process that I utilize to explore ideas of story and environments. Many of my previous blog posts such as “beginnings” and “Musings” highlight these examples. Second, we discussed the plot of a short script and the images that that came to mind when reading it. I decided to use one of Thorton Wilder’s playlets called Leviathan as the base material. Wilder has a knack for writing profound images with his words and so he was an obvious choice….
A quick plot summery of Leviathan
“A mermaid is surprised to find a shipwrecked prince adrift on soggy pillows on the sea. The Prince is no less surprised! Is she an illusion born of dreams or songs or fevers? He offers to trade some of his great treasure for his safety. She will only be satisfied to if he pays with something she has heard about– a soul. He claims to have one but he cannot show it to her. Does she save him, or does she relegate him to the clutches of the Leviathan, the great sea serpent who now swims into the scene?”
The class response to Leviathan was amazing. They really connected to the story and images that Wilder’s play evoked. We talked about what words would one use to search when looking for research images: Flowing fabric, the color of spices, Mediterranean Sea, cargo debris, mermaids with green hair, floating man, underwater, and a Leviathan of course… These are just a few of the many ideas that the students mentioned.
In order to expedite the process, I had already downloaded a number of different images for us to start with in order to get to a final photoshop image. Had we had another 20-30 minutes for the class, I would have searched for images with them, but 50 minutes goes by so quickly.
The final steps we selected our leviathan, water, mermaid, man and flowing fabric from the examples.
I was so fascinated by the thought they all gave to creating the image. everyone was responsive, collaborative and engaged in creating the final image below.
and so here it is…..