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Young Writers Society
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:18 pm
Disclaimer: this doesn't actually relate to writing.
For the One Act play competition this year, my High School is considering doing one or two episodes of Welcome to Night Vale. I don't actually know whether they let people perform in that way, so has anyone tried this? If yes or if you've done something similar, what are some ways to make it visually interesting? What are some recommendations for episodes that would be interesting to perform? We have a small cast, but it would still need to be something with more characters than just Cecil, be that in a speaking role or as the characters in
A Story About You
The ones I'm considering so far are the following:
A Story About You and A Story About Them
Lost in the Mail
If He Had Lived
The Smithwick House
Are You Sure?
Squire of the Green Room
Harbinger of the Cosmic Squid
Founder of Hermits United
TIME Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year
Dark Matter Overlord
Kind of a Big Deal
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:40 am
I've not seen welcome to Night Vale but from a general tips perspective, there are a lot of ways to make a scene visually interesting. The first one is costumes - these are super good for helping pull your audience in and making them engage with the characters. I did a lot of sewing for my university drama group but it was always worth it when I heard the audience gasp as Erin entered stage in her spider costume. If you have a way of setting up lighting - either stage lights or carefully placed lamps and good use of torches then I'd suggest using sequins and things in the costumes because they catch the light so beautifully.
Contrasts can be good - if you have one character in bright clothing and others in dark then position the dark clothes person in front of lighter set areas and vice versa to make them stand out.
Use props sparingly - too many and the characters/ settings get lost but a few nice, clear well used props can really make a play. Also, don't be afraid to adapt from the original a bit. Stage is very different to film as you have a smaller area usually and not as many angles so think about your use of space carefully. Don't be afraid to cut the cast down for some scenes or expand it for others. When we did Cinderella, we added an evil spider and evil witches as side characters but we also took quite a few characters out of scenes because we didn't really have room for more than 10 on scene at a time. We managed to make the ball scene look more crowded with careful rotation and costume changes so every time one/ two people left the scene, we had the next ones enter from the other side.
Be aware your audiences will still recognise someone coming in as a different character and play with that. We had one walking scene where the main characters met the same person 4 times, each time dressed differently. She basically changed as soon as she was off the scene and then entered again. Two of her costume changes were under her original and the final one was the only long/ tricky change. The audience were in stitches by the end of the scene because she kept doing little things to break the fourth wall like winking at them or hinting in the dialogue - I think one line was something like '"Well it's not like there are many people around these parts".
Just a few general ideas! Hope you have fun with this!
The light shines brightest in the darkest places.
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:22 pm
I think the first thing to ask is whether or not you're actually
to do this type of performance. There's a lot of questions there regarding what constitutes as a play, especially under a competitive environment. I know my high school local competition had pretty strict rules (one of them was that it had to be a one act, had to have so many characters, had to have your own crew, etc. etc.) but if your teacher is going ahead with it then it should be fine.
Honestly, there's so much you can do here with WtNV. It doesn't have to be a literal interpretation, like a narrator and everything. You have plenty of room to create an avant-garde style play here. I would say have fun with the lighting and set of what you can do (assuming you're able to play with the lighting, a lot of high schools can't).
I agree with what Rydia said with costumes. Costumes can make, or break, what you're doing! Or they can just fade into the background (which is what you want to be honest.) In fact, an important note for theatre is that everything besides the acting really should blend into the background to be a cohesive unit. Things can stand out (that are good) but that's not the goal when it comes to light design, sound design, set design, etc. The goal is to add to a piece, not distract from it.
Which leads me the scenery, props, etc. These can be used sparingly if your focus is on the material itself. But, if you have ideas on how to spruce it up, don't be afraid to play with them!
Regarding the material itself, just remember that you're doing an adaptation on Welcome to Night Vale, not a literal translation. Theatre is flexible, and so you can add, change, or remove scenes depending on what you and your teacher believes needs to be added. As long as the original intention is still intact, you're good to go.
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Change isn't inherently good, but you can't stop it, so let's just enjoy the ride. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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