Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Have a holiday story to share?

As we're getting ready to slide into Memorial Day weekend... it seems like a great time to talk about our other favorite holidays. Do you have a favorite? What about a favorite story to share?

Riverside Theatre invites playwrights to submit monologues for performance in Walking the Wire: Monologues at Riverside. This annual celebration of original work features monologues of ten minutes or less by both established and up-and-coming playwrights. The focus for this season’s monologues is: HOLIDAY TALES. Whether it’s Christmas or Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Ramadan, Mardi Gras or Cinco de Mayo – we’ve all got a story.

Submissions must be postmarked July 15, 2009 or emailed as a Word document and dated by midnight July 15; final selections will be announced no later than September 1. The monologues will be performed November 19-22 at Riverside Theatre.

Want more information about submission guidelines? Click here!

Can't wait to read your holiday stories!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Upcoming Thursday Theatre Talk!

Interested in a little behind the scenes information on the upcoming Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival? Then make plans to attend the Thursday Theatre Talk on May 14th at 5:30 pm at the Gilbert Street Theatre. It's free, open to the public, and I guarantee you'll learn something.

Join directors Ron Clark and Kristin Horton as they discuss A Midsummer Night's Dream and Richard III with Shakespearean scholar Miriam Gilbert. And hey... there will probably be some actors there. You can get a sneak peek at them too!

Hope to see you Thursday!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Claudia McGehee on "Scratching the Bard"

After an overwhelmingly positive response to this year's festival artwork, we asked artist Claudia McGehee to write about her process creating the peice for us. Enjoy!

When Riverside Theatre contacted me to work with them on their Shakespeare Festival 10th Anniversary campaign, I was thrilled. They already had a great idea to creatively spring off from- to illustrate the Bard surrounded by woodland creatures and fairy folk, all enjoying a twilight play at the Riverside Theater. I’ve spent many a summer evening myself in those seats at Riverside. The exceptional performances and the enchanting atmosphere of the open-aired theater are magic memories. Making this illustration would be a pleasure!

How does the illustration process begin for a project like this? First, I research some of the images I’ll be drawing. I take photos of the theater itself, look at the few images of Shakepeare that exist, read a little Shakespeare to really get me in the mood, and then start drawing!

I start with a pencil sketch first. I wanted to have a wide variety of creature companions- recognizable North American woodland critters like the bobcat, bear, ducks, squirrels, deer, opposum, etc. When Jody Hovland told me about how occasionally, a frog or two from the City Park pond find their way to the theatre on play night, I knew I had to include them, too! A few sprites inspired from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the theatre box office, a glowing sunset and twinkling stars complete the sketch.

Next, I transfer the sketch to a piece of scratchboard, my favorite art medium. Scratchboard has a white clay under layer which is covered with black ink. The artist scratches off detail with a sharp tool, like an exacto-blade. They “scratch” off what they want white and leave what they want black, with results that mimic a woodcut. Later, the white areas can be colored. Here are a couple photos of the Shakespeare piece in the process of being scratched out.

When the scratching is complete, I have a black and white image that I then scan into Photoshop on my computer. I may “clean up” a few details here (erase lines I don’t like, add a few that might help “punch up” an area). Then I print this image onto watercolor paper. At this point, it’s like a page from a coloring book; I color in the image with watercolor and dyes.

While I paint, my board is covered with lots of stuff; paint bottles and palettes, an extra piece of paper to play with colors, samples of other pieces I have done to give me ideas for color combinations, a water bowl, a coffee cup, and sometimes a visiting cat!

The actual rendering of the final art takes several steps that I do over a couple days. The initial research and composition work stretch over a couple weeks.

All in all, it was a very satisfying project. I like how the moon turned out, almost like an audience member itself! I loved drawing the many different animals, the rabbit and owl and frogs especially. And I hope the Bard doesn’t mind having luna moth colored tights on! I really enjoyed the opportunity to be part of this wonderful Iowa City icon.

- Claudia McGehee

For more information about Claudia, or to see more of her work... visit her blog at