Thursday, June 6, 2013

Something's Afoot

Something's Afoot - color detail 
I just finished up another really fun project for Pioneer Theatre Company's upcoming season. The play is called Something's Afoot and is a musical murder mystery farce. I know that is a mouthful, but it really is a musical comedy with tongue firmly in cheek. The premise is close to that of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians in which a group of ten strangers come together in a remote mansion. Mystery ensues as one by one they are all killed off. The movie version is played as a straight forward thriller while the stage production is played straight but for comic effect. 

My first proposal was to take each of the characters and portray them as photos on the entry wall of the ornate mansion with one of the instruments of death (the noose) dangling from above. The concept was not initially embraced mainly because the noose does not play a part in the story.  I take blame for missing that detail. I was next asked to draft an idea as suggested by the theater director in the art would show the young romantic couple with one of the dearly departed in the background. 

The resulting concept, which I actually liked, was also shot down as being too cold. I suggested changing the expressions to something more whimsical, but in a case of "what goes around, comes around" we went back to the original concept but with a chandelier playing the part of the noose and with revised facial expressions. 

In this version, many of the people react with surprise or suspicion to the other characters around them. Nobody was wild about the wallpaper pattern or color, so I found another option from a free stock site which I then modified and expanded to work in the background. All of the frame designs were based on vintage frames as was the chandelier which was originally found in a 1920's Sears type catalog. 

In the course of deciding what color palette to use, I thought it would be really cool to just go with a "Film Noir" effect and leave the the portraits as black and white. In the end, I shifted them to a slight sepia tone to prevent them from looking too "blue". The colorized detail crop at the top of the post was done to pop for web applications but most of the uses will be as they appear in this final version. 

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