More Play Than Work!

Zelda's Hotel Room

 Zelda's Messy Hotel Room

Photo above:  An illustration of a "mask" -- drawn point-by-point (red dots connected by a red line) over a pair of sweatpants, as I added the sweatpants to the mix. The original photo of the sweatpants is below, before the background was removed by the mask.


I'm having such a great time here. This can't be work! I'm starting to feel guilty that I'm sitting around all day long, working on these animations -- and having so much fun doing it! Today I'll share the sets of Zelda's room with you. To design this room, I've been going around my apartment throwing things on the floor and then photographing it all (clothes, food, a coffee maker, newspapers, whatever). I then mix the photographed items with my drawings, creating a terribly messy room for Zelda. I'm animating various items, so Zelda will appear to be able to lift up a sock and throw it elsewhere, or Robby will move a stack of newspapers out of the way, as he searches for a missing video. It's extremely time-consuming work, as "masks" have to be drawn over every single thing to get rid of the original photos' backgrounds, and all the keyframing takes forever, so I can get about one complete animation done each day. But it's such enjoyable and creative work that the time just flies by! --Felice Lesser


We're Back!

I'm now working along on the new production of "Funding the Arts" (to be premiered in 2016), which will contain a new script, lots of additional choreography, and new animation. Here are some snapshots from the beginning of the work.  Instead of Natasha performing in front of very "busy" moving video of squirrels, she'll now have behind her a cartoon-like backdrop in a limited color palette, which will make it easier for the audience to focus on her and the other live actors. --Felice Lesser

The tree will then morph into a tree composed of Life Forms dancers (who will then break out into the next section of the work).



The New Animations

For the new production I wanted to make a background that would look more like a comic book, in keeping with the theme of a "living cartoon." The bottom photo (made with Life Forms and Motion) is from the original 2010 production. In the top photo (the new production) the colors have been reduced to black & white (with burgundy accents).

A "Royal Box" (placed just above the live dancers' heads) will be added, making it appear as if the Dictator were right there in the theater. A caption to the left of the animation gives the scene a "comic book look." And special effects provide the bullets and blood. --Felice Lesser


LPAC Residency (April 2-25, 2014)


A few months ago I started working on the new background video for "Funding the Arts," so that during our LPAC residency we'd be able to try some of it out.  I'm aiming for a more "cartoonish" look this time around -- black and white with a single color in most instances. (More on that in my next BLOG entry.)  At LPAC the "Zelda & Brooke in the Restaurant" scene was completely rechoreographed -- as a dance this time (rather than dialogue with a little movement), and then performed against the new video during our "Open Rehearsal" on the 25th. We were also able to have a complete script reading that night, which allowed me to hear how the new dialogue sounds, and will be crucial to the final editing of the work, as I try to fit all the new dialogue into the existing music (and deal with cuts of the old). Mark Peters, Debra Zalkind, & Charles Hinshaw of the original cast were joined by Rose Jensen & Michael Semosh in the reading of the work, and Sakie Hachiya & Taylor Gordon performed the dance. -- Felice Lesser


JCAL February 2014, Our Next Chapter

Our company is in residence at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (Jamaica, NY) this month as part of the JCAL Next Stage Dance Residency Program, where we have resumed our work on FUNDING THE ARTS.  During this residency I'll be rechoreographing a number of the duets, continuing to bring more dance into the show. Here are Sakie Hachiya and Taylor Kindred in a rehearsal of Lu & Robby's "bedroom" pas de deux from Act One. -- Felice Lesser