Ciao! Oct/Nov 2021 Digital_CIAO_OctNov2021 - Page 13

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre , Orlando , Illustrations by Leanne Foley Royal Winnipeg Ballet , The Sleeping Beauty , Costumes by Shannon Lovelace , Photo by Simeon Rusnak sound and lighting

Weaving sonic and visual components into the world of the stage , sound and light design creates a full , immersive experience for the audience . To MTYP Artistic Director Pablo Felices-Luna , “ light and sound are textural elements ” that communicate themes , setting , plot and character , and rachet “ a lot of fun into a ridiculous amount of fun .” He recalls a comical scene in which a character must sneak across the stage . Synchronizing music to the actors ’ movements — a chime with a lifted leg , a piano glissando with a leap — sparked uproarious laughter .
Crafting performances specifically for young audiences poses a unique set of considerations . For instance , sitting in the dark for prolonged periods of time can be uncomfortable . Felices-Luna balances light and dark , quiet and loud , creating inviting experiences for people of all ages . In You ’ re a Good Man , Charlie Brown , a story about surrounding friends with care , brightening the lights on the audience and keeping the volume low also emphasizes the play ’ s themes .
Hugh Conacher , lighting designer for RMTC ’ s Orlando , believes all design in theatre exists to propel the story . Light design focuses an audience ’ s attention and introduces story beats , directs mood and underscores character motivations . Dramatic choices like blackouts , flashing or colour changes and understated choices like slow fades all move a narrative forward . As he problem-solves how to

incorporate different sources of light to establish each period of Orlando ’ s four-century span , Conacher emphasizes that lighting design is “ not about the how but the why .” set

Whether performers interact with elaborate sets or minimal , almost-empty stages , set design makes a statement about the universe of a story . “ What is this world we are creating , who lives in this world , and how does the world reflect the people who live in it ?” These are the key questions of set designer Brian Perchaluk ’ s creative process . When designing The Nutcracker for the RWB , Perchaluk focused on “ creating magical moments .” Transitions from reality into fantasy are playfully signalled , like when Clara begins to dream and the room around her grows in scale . MTYP ’ s House of Pooh Corner uses set design to literally transport its audience , says Pablo Felices-Luna . Audience members travel from a small nursery placed far up stage , generating a cramped feeling , to the Hundred Acre Wood , a broad , textured , open world initially hidden behind the nursery . puppetry

An art form over 4000 years old , puppetry combines costume , set and prop design . Bringing inanimate objects to life while balancing technical requirements and aesthetic aims requires a depth of skill , experience and imagination . Building one puppet requires at least forty hours says MTYP puppet-maker Shawn Kettner . For a puppet to “ come alive in a natural way ” with nuanced , fluid movements , it must be flexible , easy to manipulate , durable and lightweight . Fabrics and colours are chosen to convey mood and character as is the puppet ’ s shape , function and set . When a puppet-maker gets the design right , Kettner says , the moment of placing the eyes onto a puppet can be magical .
Manitoba Theatre for Young People , Puppets by Shawn Kettner in collaboration with William Chesney , Photo by Leif Norman ciao ! / oct / nov / two thousand twenty-one 11