For some weeks now I've been trying to come up with a schematic design for Smokey Joe's Cafe, a sort of '50s musical revue(ish), or rather, an evening made up entirely of music - no book - that seems to be more unified than a typical random revue, yet has no strong story-line either. Scenicly, it has a strong sense of Time, but not so much of Place. Specific settings change, as they tend to in a collection of songs. Ambiance, maybe, is what this show demands.
I find musical reviews difficult, since sound isn't my leading sense (I favor words and pictures) and my imagination tends to fasten on stories and specificity...
So I've been struggling.
The plan? Oh, the plan was easy - I had it half sketched before I left the initial meeting with the director. But the "look"... really tough. All that came to my mind were '50s cliches not worth drawing up. The only thing that seemed hopeful was the lovely name of the show: "Smokey Joe's." There seemed promise, though in fact all I developed from that was badly doodled smoke curlicues on the edges of all my notes made in other shows' meetings.
So I've spent a while flipping through books or the Internet, researching, looking for a hint.
And on the morning I absolutely HAD TO FINISH, I finally found my inspirational photo:
Believed public domain photo - from Imprint
I won't include the sketch yet (if you can, please go see the set itself! at WaterTower Theater), but the secret was the circle. Smoke rings gave me the design nudge I needed for a good set for Smokey Joe's Cafe.
What else is up lately? Busy, busy. Lots of emailing on various shows; lots of shopping mostly for Boeing, Boeing at WaterTower which opens soon; and several hours painting on Ruth at Kitchen Dog which also Techs this weekend and opens soonest.