Problems, discoveries, requests and strengths Today I have thought a lot about the strength required in this rehearsal room and the many forms in which this comes.
I spent a little time this morning painting some of the material that will act as spare elephant skin whilst the team are away on tour. It is a string-like material which has been impregnated with a type of glue that makes it expand. Each sheet extends to about 1.5 meters and needs to be painted in the standard elephant grey. Although I don't usually allow myself the pleasure of it, I find painting and the monotony of simple tasks quite relaxing in this big world - especially a relief to someone who mostly works in a freelance industry where if I'm not making the opportunities for myself there are none. (It's actually been particularly nice to not be responsible for the production. In an assistant role, I'm partially responsible for the room, but in the grand scheme of things I can go home and not worry about elephants - come back in and do my job, which has been a welcomed difference to what I'm used to.)
The material and mechanics of this creature has strength and I have partially witnessed the determination which has gone into the design and continuous construction of these puppets over several many months. And finally in a very literal sense the performers require a sheer amount of physical strength to hold, maintain and bring to life these elephants. The photograph to the right is us trialling the amazing water system that the designers and makers have come up with, which allows the Mother to suck up water and squirt it in the general direction of the audience. I caught this photo as the cast were connecting the tube up at the top of the head (usually it would have been connected up inside the frame). I took the photo because for me, although this image certainly doesn't appear in the show, it truly does opitimise the strength of this cast, the strength of the design and the true skill involved in this project.