Friday, 20 November 2009

Macbeth theatre/animation project

For the past month or so, I've been busy producing a 50-second animation sequence along with some stills and miniature portraits for John Hales' modern-dress theatre production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, starring Abi Titmuss, taking place at the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft, England.

That project is all complete now, and the debut performance commenced at 19:30 on Wednesday, 18 November 2009. There will be a few more performances at the Seagull before the show begins touring other theater's in the Norwich region from 24 November until 4 December - check the Seagull Theatre events calender for details.

If like me, you're an 8-hour/£170 train trip away from Lowestoft [I thought the government wanted to encourage public transport?!], you probably won't get to see the whole performance; but thanks to the Internet, you can watch two (of the four) short animation sequences that were commissioned to portray the Visions of Act 4, Scene 1...

Below is my sequence for the last Vision:

It has quite a minimalist/sketchy aesthetic, and uses an almost storyboard-animatic animation technique, which looks a bit unfinished compared to commercial animation; but I decided that this loose aesthetic would look more exciting than if I were to clean it all up with perfect lines and full colour (which I think would paradoxically become really empty and stale)... But regardless, I am actually rather fond of this unusual style, and found it all surprisingly fun to work on!

As well as making my piece of animation, I volunteered to create some still images of portraits and mock newspapers that would appear on stage during the theatre performance. Below are a few of them:

As I stated in an earlier blog post, I was originally commissioned to produce all four Visions, and although I accepted the work, I knew that the theatre would get better results if I shared the workload with other animators so that each Vision got equal focus and dedication. Thankfully Grace Chan and Calum MacAskill stepped up to my challenge, while the director found a fourth animator to create Vision 2.
To view Vision 1, created by Grace, please visit:

Relevant Press coverage (found online so far):
Lowestoft Journal

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