Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Believe" The Musical

The youth musical I've been working on for the past 7 months finally closed last weekend after 2 performances. This musical was titled "Believe" and has a plot that centers around problems faced by youths in present-day Singapore. It revolves around the life of a 14 year-old "problem kid" who managed to turn over a new leaf and got transferred to the Express stream through the help of his probation officer.

This musical is not exactly a big-scale production, but not that easy to design. With a limited budget and having a wide number of scenes ranging from LAN game shop to police headquarters and old Chinese cemetery, I had to revise my designs over and over again until a balance between artistic, aesthetic and practicality is achieved.

For the final design, I decided not to employ realistic representations of the various scenes due to budget constraints, and focussed more on creating a symbolic inner world of these "problem kids" on stage. With that, I came up with a relatively simple set consisting of two 60cm high runways that intersected each other and spanned across the entire stage, and a 1.4m high platform flushed with the intersection point of the two runways. The crossed runways is an abstraction and visualisation of crossed paths of which these youths had to make decisions as to what they want to do and where they want to go. The raised platform, on the other hand, is to suggest blindspots and bumps in life, and at the same time create more heights on an otherwise relatively plain stage. These set pieces remained permanent throughout the musical, and addition and removal of various furniture and set pieces will give a suggestion of locality.

I managed to design the set within the budget limit, and thank goodness everything went rather smoothly for my set. If I have had bigger budget, I could have a better designed set, as like what some of my friends and colleagues had commented, the stage looked a bit too bare. However, with my available budget for this production, I can only say I've done my best, and I'm rather satisfied with the outcome, just that the cross pattern marked out by the crossed runways didn't come out prominently due to the shallow slope of the auditorium.

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