Centenary of Federation Play Kit
Staging the Play
Ideas for Costume and Set Design
HistorySmiths Pty Ltd
A Centenary of Federation History and Education Project
An ICCUP in AustrAlien History
Staging the Play: Ideas for Costume and Set Design
When choosing to give a performance of An ICCUP in AustrAlien History teachers must also decide how they wish to produce the play. The setting of Scenes 1 and 6, in an intergalactic courtroom on an alien planet, lends itself to imaginative interpretation. Indeed there is no limit to the variety of ways this script can be performed.
Learning outcomes in SOSE, English Language and Drama can be achieved whether or not the play is performed to an audience. A play reading, workshop, or a performance using a minimum of props, select and symbolic items of costume, and without any purpose-built scenery, can be enjoyable (and relatively stress-free).
An elaborate production, using costumes, scenery, sound and lighting, can mean opportunities for achieving additional learning outcomes in all manner of Creative Arts subjects.
Pros and cons
Students I have directed in plays have responded well to the challenges of preparing and performing a large-scale production to an audience of family and peers. A sense of occasion can breed excitement and enthusiasm (as well as nervousness) which prompt students to undertake willingly the necessary hard work of learning roles and extensive rehearsal. Such productions, though, invariably consume large quantities of time and energy. Depending on the venue and technical effects, productions can also be expensive. The help of skilled and willing parents may prove an invaluable resource in mounting productions. For information about rehearsal tips, running time and performance alternatives, see Teachers Manual.
Costume #1 Chorus
One of the roles of the Chorus is to provide narration that can be used to cover scene changes. If desired the Chorus can appear on stage, instead of being heard only as voices. A basic costume design in plain white can be extremely striking, particularly if theatre lights fitted with coloured and patterned gels are to be used. The Chorus can be coloured so as to seem part of the ocean (blue-green) or sky (blue); and a deep purple gel patterned with cut-out star shapes can set the Chorus in outer space!
Mask Activity Sheet
Follow the steps below to make this Humanoid Mask.
|Measure the circumference of your head using a strip of paper as a headband. Use sticky tape to hold the headband. Inflate a balloon so that the headband fits snugly around its middle.|
Using torn up strips of white paper* and glue, begin to cover the balloon. Shape the mask as shown. You will need time for each layer of papier mache to dry.
*Alternatively you can use newspaper and paint the mask white later.
|The front of the mask should reach the tip of your nose (still allowing you to breath, talk and sing freely!)|
|The back of the mask should touch the back of your head. Now you can pop the balloon. Attach ties to hold the mask on.|
|Cut out two large, oval holes that allow you to see freely. Make the eyes by covering the holes with shiny black material, attached to the inside of the mask with PVC glue. You will be able to see through the tiniest hole.|
|Staple and glue strips of white paper to the back of the mask to make hair. Make the hair as thick as possible by attaching many layers of paper strips.|
|Join two rectangular pieces of white material (right sides together) at the shoulder seam, leaving a gap large enough for your head to get through. Join the pieces of material at the side seams, leaving plenty of room for arms to fit through and a slit up both sides to allow for easy movement. Wear long, white gloves, white stockings or leggings and white shoes.|
To add sleeves to the shift, join two rectangular pieces of white material (right sides together) at the shoulder seam, leaving a gap large enough for your head to get through. Cut two large squares of material. Attach one to each side of the shift. Fit the centre of the sleeve to the shoulder seam. Beginning with the cuff, join the edges of the sleeve and the side seams, leaving plenty of room for arms to fit through and a slit up both sides to allow for easy movement.
Wear white stockings or leggings and white shoes.
The Chorus costume and mask is designed to fit over the top of a costume for another character to allow for quick costume changes. In An ICCUP in AustrAlien History members of the Chorus can also take minor parts in Scene 3 (Director, Backup Singers and Dancers), Scene 4 (Warder) and Scene 6 (see below).
e.g. Actors playing the Dancers can be dressed and made up for those roles before donning the Chorus mask and shift. When the Chorus comes off stage in Scene 2, Dancers can simply remove the masks and shifts, ready for Scene 3.
Optional: Chorus in Scene 6
In order to add visual interest to Scene 6 the Chorus could participate as mime artists enacting parts of the evidence related by the witnesses.
Dressed in black full body suits, Chorus members act like the winds of a cyclone in slow motion, pulling apart props such as model buildings, cars and trees etc.
Dressed in neck-to-knee bathing costumes, three Chorus members stand looking out to sea, spot someone in danger and then perform a rescue!
Dressed in a white lab coat, Howard Florey stands at a bench conducting an experiment using various pieces of scientific experiment.
Other uses for Chorus costumes
The simple patterns for the Chorus mask and shift can form the bases of costumes for other characters. For example, the Judges from alien planets can have basic masks that are decorated to make each character distinctive.
The Judges Costumes
Let your imagination run wild in creating intergalactic costumes for the judges from alien planets. Here are three suggestions to start you thinking:
Judge Maugro Disnasterly (Judge 3)
This character is impatient and unsympathetic, forever hurrying the court proceedings along. A severe-looking costume is therefore required. Try shiny fabrics (lamé, vinyl or wet-look, thick polyester) in bold colours (black, red and silver) with metallic accessories (chunky jewellery).
Judge Augerly Antabergruntly Forge (Judge 4)
This character bears a striking resemblance to Felix as we first see him in Scene 2, wearing goggles, snorkel and flippers. The difference is that Judge 4 is an alien life form whose body is comprised of webbed feet (that look remarkably like flippers), bulbous eyes (that resemble goggles) and a long, asymmetrical nose tube (like a snorkel).
Judge Histeremion Natur Ally Gorgeous (Judge 6)
This character is wistful and dreamy with a penchant for swamps. Try joining up swimming pool toys such as water rings and water wings to shape this alien life form.* Dress in layers of flowing fabrics in pastel shades.
*A pool pony, for example, could make this a two-headed judge.
Brown leather flying jacket with lambs-wool lining and lapels, brown trousers and boots. Brown leather flying cap with chin strap, flying goggles and flying scarf.
Shorts and t-shirt.
Long shorts, long-sleeved t-shirt, swimming goggles, snorkel, flippers. Felix should remove goggles, snorkel and flippers after Scene 2.
Backup Dancers and Singers (Chorus), and Kylie
Lycra leggings, singlet top, leg warmers and jazz shoes.
Over-sized, orange shirt worn over singlet top, lycra leggings, leg warmers and jazz shoes.
Grey uniform shirt and trousers, peaked cap, black shoes and belt. A whistle and a large key ring with dozens of keys are worn on the belt.
Neat casual blouse, skirt and jacket.
Blue and white striped t-shirt, sailors navy blue peaked cap, triangular scarf, white cargo pants and boat shoes.
A farmer of the early twentieth century. He wears a white shirt, light brown trousers with button-up braces, a dark waistcoat, black, knee-length boots (or Blundstones) and an Akubra-style hat.
Light khaki, army uniform and slouch hat with a white doctors coat.
Thick, lined leather trousers and coat with fur-lined hood, snow boots and thick mittens.
Scenes 1 and 6: The Intergalactic Court of Appeal
A dark chamber. Large, high-backed chairs are arranged behind a semi-circular bench bearing the Intergalactic Court of Appeal (ICA) logo. Lights flash intermittently along the edges of the furniture. Aluminium foil gives a space-age flavour.
If pre-recorded video footage is to be used to illustrate the Witness stories (or evidence) a large, white curtain could be used as a projection screen.
Scene 2: Australian beach
In front of a plain, white curtain, coloured blue-green with lighting. A large sheet of yellow material for sand. Green crepe paper can be cut into strips to serve as sea-weed. The Chorus can provide a living ocean by crouching in lines and performing little Mexican waves, covered with filmy, blue-green material if desired.
Scene 3: Music-video recording studio
In front of a plain, white curtain, coloured blue with lighting. A blue screen alone will suffice as backdrop for this rehearsal scene.
Scene 4: A prison in New South Wales
In front of a plain, white curtain, lit through a fine, cyclone-wire-patterned gel. Optional extra: a small, locked office with a barred window through which the Warder speaks to Mum Shirl.
Scene 5: Antarctica
In front of a plain, white curtain.
|1901-2001 Centenary of Federation|