Originally posted on the MA Character animation course blog, published October 14th 2015.
Right before summer we got a brief about our next project, this time for the English National Opera (ENO). We got to choose from three different operas, The magic flute, Jenufa and Akhnaten, and got to work on these through summer. I got an instant wish to work on Jenufa from the very moment I heard of it, but also considered The magic flute, but thought that maybe everyone was going to choose that so I stuck with Jenufa. Which I’m not sure if was a good thing cause even though so many others actually did choose the Magic Flute, Jenufa turned out to be quite a challenge.
It took me almost all of summer to just understand the story and get a hang of all the characters in it. It’s incredibly intricate with what feels like an almost endless amount of characters. So it took a long time to figure out what to include, who to focus on and how it should look.
Quite early I decided I wanted to work in silhouettes. This idea came from a play I saw at the Platform Theatre where the lights made the shadows of the actors reflect on the back wall. I don’t think it was intentional, but it was just as fascinating to watch as the play itself as you could still understand what happened just by looking at the shadows.
These are my first sketches to try this idea out and the ones I ended up showing at the rehearsal pitch. One is very dark while the other is much lighter and I’m probably going to show something that is closer to the lighter one at the real pitch. I think this will work better because as the story is still a bit intricate and the lighter one opens up to show more. As the stage versions I’ve seen of Jenufa is often very simplyfied with few props and colors, one was in a completely white room, I feel I need to figure out what will work myself, but trying to keep it simple.