The Faerie Queene: Part 1

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m chronicling the evolution of my act, The Faerie Queene (which I’m performing tonight at The Teaseday Club!)

Last time, I told you about the origins. Here’s the first iteration. The Faerie Queene, which I was thinking of as “Titania”, first appeared at The Bod of Avon in February 2013. I tried to write this as a narrative, but I think it works better as discrete sections.

Costume
When I create an act, I often start with the costume. Only natural, I’ve been a costumer for a long time. I had pretty firmly decided that it should be an ethereal faerie sort of thing and keep to the theme of flowers and butterflies. I wanted the costume to be simple, but regal, and have a nude underlayer.

AS561 - 18I got really lucky with the materials. The fabric store near my house carries fabulous re-embroidered and dimensional fabrics and they had a netting covered in ribbon flowers and gold cording in several colors. I bought some purple for a gown and white to decorate my underthings.

I found a flesh-toned bra that turned out to be more perfect than I expected and a similarly-colored thong. I decorated them with the white floral netting and scatterings of rhinestones in pale colors (more interesting than purely crystal).

AS575 - 23I decided to just let the fabric speak for itself and made a faux-Grecian gown by adding ribbon ties at the shoulders and letting the rest just drape. The flowers got some subtle sparkle with Purple Velvet rhinestones that were the same color. I secured the gown with a sash of gold-embroidered organza ribbon.

I wore my natural hair, with some flower and butterfly decorations pinned in. Pasties were kind of an after-thought. I used some crystal-covered ones in the same mix of colors as the undies. Silver ballroom shoes with rhinestoned heels finished it off.

AS561 - 30The butterfly trick requires a fan and Scratch found me a delicate cloth one in black and gold, which I used for the two preview shows. Later in the run I switched to an similar fan that was white with pink, which I thought worked better with the color theme.

Music
No song was really speaking to me. I needed something to fit the theme — regal, magical, ethereal. After much agonizing, I selected “Greensleeves” as performed by the Musicians of Swanne Alley. I didn’t love it, but it was the right length and fit well with a Shakespeare show (admittedly a Shakespeare show that featured music from Firehouse Five and Joe Jackson).

Magic
My biggest stumbling block was the darn dancing butterflies. I could only make them work maybe once in three times, but worse still was that I didn’t know how to incorporate them into the act. I was sort of awkwardly shoehorning them in with no good way to start or end the bit. I finally took the writer’s advice of “kill your darlings” and cut them out. And heaved a sigh of relief.

I realized that the magic tricks were all stacked up at the beginning with flower productions and at the end with the big butterfly finale. Scratch suggested a different kind of flower production I could do, which involved the fan, about three-quarters through. That helped.

AS561 - 33

Results
I first presented the act at Oberon, where we previewed The Bod of Avon. Then we did an extended run at Naga, which I wrote about here. The photos above were taken at both shows by Hans Wendland.

I thought the act was only okay and had a *lot* of room for improvement. It didn’t say “royalty” to me. I needed to command the stage and that wasn’t happening. There was still a big gap in the middle without any magic. I wanted new music. Back to the drawing board.

Up next: The Faerie Queene, take two.

M2

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Published in: on 7 June 2016 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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