Amazing Character Development & Storytelling

Often in our business we get to create what the audience views as magical.  This video I believe is an example of that.  The character development and artistic creation come together to draw us into caring about this creature/character.  I really enjoyed this TED talk and I hope you will like it as well.



You may also watch it here: Handspring Puppet Company: The genius puppetry behind War Horse

Bicycle Rickshaw Theatre (the World’s First…)

Click here to learn about the “World’s First Bicycle Rickshaw Theatre”, a ministry of Imagine the Word, an arts ministry organization founded by Hunter Barnes.  This ministry would create a portable theatre stage on the back of a New York City bicycle rickshaw, easily transportable through the city streets, which would fold out for performances that would share the Gospel to the NYC public.  The informational video is on a website built to accept donations to help fund the project.

Guest Designer — Kate Pierson

We were honoured the last 3 weeks to have Kate Pierson in residence as our Guest Costume Designer.  Kate is a gifted Costumer Designer from the Northwest US and was willing to make the trip to Belhaven in the Deep south and collaborate with us on our current production of Juliet and her Romeo.

I wanted to share her design notes with you and a pictorial form of the costume plot for the show because I think it demonstrates what a challenge this show was to design and chart especially from a costuming standpoint and how a story and concept can be told and supported by the design elements of a production.  Enjoy.

Juliet & her Romeo — Designer Notes

How to dress 8 actors playing 25 roles that are changing in every scene?

Juliet & her Romeo has been one of the most challenging designs I have ever done due to the sheer complexity of the logistics of fitting many different sized bodies into one costume and still retain the believability of character and fluidity of movement for the play.

The first directives that were given to me consisted of ideas of exploration, movement and flight; I wasn’t bound by a time or place, or by a color palette that depicted familial ties (which is often used in costumes for Romeo & Juliet).  Combined with the complexity of the actor/scene/character changes I knew I had to find a style that would support the nature of the play as well as offer some flexibility of style…Steampunk occurred to me fairly early on.

I believed the romantic yet edgy nature of the steampunk style, which melds together the future with the past worked well with the multifaceted direction of the director’s vision.  Because any particular costume piece needed to be worn by several actors as well as be easily donned and doffed I gave them an industrial and romantic functionality to the costumes; using basic black dancewear as the background canvas, adaptable pieces such as coats and vests fronts and a wide range of accessories and costume props with lots of embellishment the costumes became useful tools to help identify the characters.


is a sub-genre of science fictionalternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistictechnology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashionculturearchitectural styleart, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” for such technology as dirigiblesanalog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage‘sAnalytical engine.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk. They have considerable influence on each other and share a similar fan base, but steampunk developed as a separate movement. Apart from time period and level of technology, the main difference is that steampunk settings tend to be less dystopian.

Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.


Again Thank you to Kate and all her hard work and effort in collaborating and helping us produce this production.  Please forgive me for the cell phone photos of the renderings they really are beautiful!

Juliet & Her Romeo

What do you get if you have Aerial Silks, Steam Punk, a Cast of 8, moving banks of Audience seating, a Black Box theatre and a Director willing to approach this classic tale in a new way …….

Why our next production of course!

Directed by Joseph Frost our experimental presentation of Shakespeare classic tragedy of young love is sure to intrigue, entertain, and keep you guessing as to what is going to happen next.  You will not want to miss this production.

Juliet & her Romeo

Juliet & her Romeo

Also a big thank you to the Belhaven Theatre Graphic Design Department for this great poster design.

Visit from an Emmy Award winning writer

Emmy Award winning writer Keri Grayson Horn visits the 2010 Playwriting class

Emmy Award winning writer Keri Grayson Horn visits the 2010 Playwriting class

On April 8, 2010, our Playwriting class had a visit from Keri Grayson Horn, who won an Emmy Award in 2009 for her contribution in writing for the PBS series Between the Lions.  She shared with us about the process of writing for television, the 30-second page format, and stories about the Emmy Awards process itself.

Writing tips from David Mamet…

Movieline article *

The link above will take you to an article on that quotes, in full, a memo that Pulitzer winner David Mamet wrote to the writing staff of CBS’ The Unit, the show that Mamet executive produces.  The memo is a mini-master class in the art of dramatic storytelling, with basically all that one would need to know in order to write a great piece of drama, for film, television, or the stage.

* This article does contain a mild amount of language that some might consider offensive.

Article on “Tropes” – LA Times

LA Times

Here’s an article in the LA Times about “tropes” or elements of storytelling that repeatedly appear particularly in pop culture (film, television).  It references a wiki site that lists these tropes and where they have previously appeared.  Could be a helpful site to remind beginning writers of how these story elements have been used before…