First of all, I thought the show, in its liquorice theatre, should have a liquorice theme. Therefore, the witch’s house should be a liquorice rather than a gingerbread house. I intend to decorate it (as the theatre is) with actual liquorice. Now, as I found out when I first created the theatre, decorating with real liquorice is a time consuming process. So, despite my initial thoughts on creating everything, puppets included from liquorice, I thought that it would not really be practical. Plus, in terms of the story, if Hansel and Gretel are to be surprised by a house made of liquorice, it would make no sense for everything else, including Hansel and Gretel to be made of liquorice too.
Secondly, I intend to create a unique theatre piece with unique sets, characters, and script. I have the fortune to have married Tim Austin, who is among other things a script writer and a Dramaturg, so he will be helping on the devising/script writing side.
Painting with watercolours is one of my skills, so I intend, (like the early toy theatre practitioners) to design and paint the characters and sets myself. However, this poses the first of the problems that I hope to attract all of you toy theatre veterans to help me solve. Is it better to paint everything on watercolour paper and then photocopy them to preserve the originals in case of accidents etc.? What sort of glue is best to attach the paper to the backing card? Is backing card the best thing to use and what are the alternatives?
I am thinking of using corrugated plastic to build the scenery onto, though I believe some people use foam board. I also heard someone else suggest aluminium sheet of the type that printers use as a good thing to back characters with. Another poser is whether it is possible to waterproof or coat characters in such a way that does not make them too shiny, as I ruled laminating the characters out for this reason.
The final question I am struggling with is the lighting. Is it possible to recreate a proper theatre lighting rig in miniature through the cunning use of LEDs? In an ideal world I need a battery operated setup, as this will free me up to do performances in a tent outdoors if I want to. It would also be useful dramatically to be able to dim the lights. I would like to have warm white LED footlights and the potential to use different colours to denote moonlight, firelight, evil wicked witches etc.
Your opinions please, everyone –