A complete change from steampunk, and a huge challenge… but a friend commissioned me to put Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre into one of my little cardboard cases.
To begin with I just gawped at her, but she had it all figured out. The audience would go on the back wall, there would be some Tudor theatregoers in boxes to the sides of the stage and the fold-down tray of the case would provide the stage itself.
“I’d like a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” she said. “Titania in her bower, with Bottom wearing his ass’s head and Puck nearby.
My first impulse was to run screaming from the house, but gradually I began to see it emerging in my mind’s eye and once that happens, I start making.
So here is the basic box layout. All my spare miniature people – the ones awaiting transformation – had to dress as extras and be photographed many times to make the audience backdrop!
And here is a wealthy member of the audience. One of Mr Shakespeare’s patrons, perhaps. He certainly has one of the finest seats in the house.
Titania’s bower is a mix of wire and artificial flowers, with velvet cushions the colour of moss and grass. The fairy queen herself has glittering wings, a floaty silver and translucent dress, a crown of opals and rose gold chains and long golden hair.
The portly Bottom, by contrast, wears rough hessian clothes, as befits a ‘rude mechanical’. His donkey head is removable. To be honest, I think he looks better with it on!
Finally Puck – my favourite – has cropped green hair and feather wings. He carries the purple herb he used to bewitch Titania, who is now hopelessly enamoured of the ‘translated’ Bottom.
There’s a little more to do – some scenery to depict the woodland and another gentleman to watch the play, but this – roughly – is how it will look.