May 21, 2018
I do believe this is the last of all the articles I have kept in my possession during my final university year.
Working on The Uniter, the University of Winnipeg student newspaper, was the beginning of many, many years of freelance writing, sitting on some magazine boards and working on a couple of small newspapers for a year here and there.
This writing also led to writing four books.
Writing was my first passion. This was replaced when I began to tea leaf readings and tarot readings combined with psychic channelling. Both are communicating in beautiful, meaningful ways.
I have learned and grown so much from both of these passions.
Through writing, I have learned, through interviewing so many people, about concepts, ideas and situations I never would have known about otherwise.
The following article, about how a play is put together, is one of those topics:
Wednesday, November 22, 1978
The making of a play
by Tanya Lester
Last summer, Reg Skene, U of W theatre director, was driving back to Winnipeg from Toronto. The long drive gave him lots of time to think. He had no conceptions about the play he would do for this fall’s U of W theatre production. Then an idea came to him.
The idea grew into two and half months hard work. The kind of work only a person involved with a theatre production can fully understand. On Tuesday night, with the opening of “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, the idea became a concrete reality.
In September, the different elements needed to produce a play began to take shape, under Reg Skene’s supervision.
“We’ve looked at it as if it was just handed to us from the playwright,” said Rick Skene, actor and theatre carpenter. Any preconceived ideas from Victorian or Edwardian productions of “The Tempest” were ignored. It was treated as a contemporary play.
“It started with interpreting the play,” said actress Jennifer Fulton. Under Reg Skene’s direction, each actor analyzed his or her character role.
Then the actors began speed readings until the line became almost second nature. However, they were not read as Victorian verse.
“The lines were treated as common language,” said actor Jean-Marc Morin. As a result the audience will not find the Shakespearean lines difficult to understand.
Concurrently, David Hewlett, U of W designer/producer, began organizing the play’s technical aspects. Before the practical production work began, Hewlett started “playing with ideas” involving the metaphorical and visual images the play would project.
The production crews were set up and construction on sets started. The play deals with magic so the sets reflect this quality.
From designs and models of the set structures, the carpentry crew made the set modules. The module used as a ship and a cave, was made with double hinges, pulleys and a plexiglass covering…
“It’s not a now you see it, now you don’t magic,” said Hewlett. The sets project physical magic through the notion of perfection. The circle, the square, and the pyramid (all mystical forms) are used.
By November, everybody was working “25 hours a day” said Rick Ito, production crew member.
The actors were blocking scenes. The blocking was changed as the actors discovered new aspects of the characters they would portray.
“The whole thing, in acting, is to create a three dimensional character. If you can’t sell it to yourself, you can’t sell it to the audience.”
Two weeks before the play opened the lighting crew started the practical work of cleaning lights and setting up cords. The lightning in the play is done by “a sudden increase of intensity with blue light,” said Hewlett.
The sound man, Terry Penner, worked with Skene to produce sound that fit closely with the play. One example is the moog synthesizer which makes the sounds of the storm.
Sunday was the first day the actors were dressed in full costume for rehearsal. The costumes are not Victorian but are styled after fashions from various time periods.
“The Tempest” has always intrigued me,” said Reg Skene. “It starts off as an adventure story and halfway through it seems to stop.” It goes on to examine the internal psychology of the characters.
Skene believes Prospero the magician represents every man’s life in the play.
“Within the individual psyche, the conscious mind is a magician,” said Skene. “One can re-shape the world by altering his conceptions. But man also has emotions and imaginations and a body.”
Prospero has “magical power over nature” but according to Skene, he “bullies imagination (Ariel) and rejects the body (Caliban).” Like any man with power, he forgets the importance of his human qualities. He seeks revenge through his power, rather than love and forgiveness.
Skene summed up the theatre production’s aim.
“We want to create a dream, with enough nightmarish quality so people will realize something.”
To read more posts in this blog of eclectic themes and genres written by Tanya over several decades, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com
Tanya’s books are : Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writers. The first two titles are available from the author and from amazon.ca for purchase. All four books can be found in some library systems.
Tanya has worked as a psychic counsellor for many years now with a specialty in tea leaf reading, tarot as well as psychic channelling, mediumship and gypsy card reading. She is also a Reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. For more on her work, go to her website at teareading.wordpress.com and/or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. To book a time to get a reading for her or to arrange a housesit, text or call her at 250-538-0086 or email her at email@example.com