I try to do something special for each play I'm cast in if I can, something unique and unexpected to hand out to the cast and crew to help buoy our enthusiasm opening a show or to thank them for the experience as I've enjoyed sharing those past several weeks laughing and working together. Past pieces have ranged from compilation CDs to illustrated note cards to elaborate custom pop-up cards. Some recent examples can be seen by scrolling to the bottom of my Portfolio page.
Having been cast as the lead and thus tasked with memorizing a bulk of lines for the show, I didn't have a generous amount of time to come up with anything more elaborate for opening night than graphics for a card. Fortunately, in the course of a couple of afternoons working on it, playing off one of my character's lines in the play, I felt like I'd come up with something suitably punny and worthwhile.
I'd been cast as the lead in a British farce once before. I played Dr. Prentice in Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw for Palos Verdes Players. For that production, I'd created artwork (shown at left) that was used for publicity and on cast and crew tee-shirts.
That's when the idea to do a similar illustration came about. Only this time, rather than a line drawing of caricatures of the cast of characters, I challenged myself with doing a fully-rendered illustration featuring likenesses of this cast. It's something that I really hadn't done much before to the degree I aimed for. And because I'd obviously want to do them justice, moving forward it sort of stressed me out! But that's a good thing.
Working on it over several days, I was really happy with the way the Run for Your Wife cast poster turned out. I kept it a secret until I finally handed each one of the cast and crew their rolled up poster. It was fun - and a relief - to see their surprised, happy faces as they set their eyes upon the finished piece. The poster art's below, the cast illustrated by hand in pencil before scanning the art to finish in Photoshop and Illustrator. The quotes scattered about each head are from the play, said by our characters and that got amongst the most laughs from our audiences. They were another way to remember the fun we had performing Run.