Every so often the cartoonists of Portland get an open invite to a local theatrical production. Sometimes it’s the children’s theater, other times the opera. Occasionally it’s something with extravagant puppets. We get free tickets to whatever’s on in exchange for producing a batch of frantic live sketches, which then get used to promote the production.
This month the call was for a world premier play called Redwood, a story about race and heritage and relationships, intergenerational and otherwise. I’d gotten a mailer for it a few days earlier and really wanted to go, so when the invite to live sketch a dress rehearsal came in I was all over it.
They issue all the cartoonists with these goofy clip lights and send them to sit in a row towards the back of the theater. We then have to do our darndest to draw like the wind throughout the entire show, capturing gestures, faces, moments, scenery—whatever we like. Here’s what I came up with! These sketches were all done straight to ink with a Pilot Carbon Desk Fountain Pen (the least well-named implement in my arsenal).
It’s a challenge for sure, but one I always come away from feeling surprisingly accomplished. It’s also nice to be drawing for folks who aren’t visual artists themselves, because anything you produce seems like wizardry.
So, as some of you may know, I attended a rehearsal of Don Giovanni earlier this week, courtesy of the Portland Opera. The company runs this great outreach program where cartoonists come and live sketch rehearsals in the days leading up to the show. I’m no opera buff, but the experience was fantastic. Stellar cast, dramatic staging, and no shortage of saucy thrills. If you’ve been wanting more bang for your operatic buck, this is the show for you.
Unfortunately, these sketches fail to capture the pathos and emotional torment of the show itself. I have, instead, chosen to focus mainly on the boning. There’s a lot of that.
And they all lived happily every after!
Seriously, folks, with the flippancy of my goofy sketches aside, I suggest you all go check out this show. I had a wonderful time. To sweeten the deal, those of you in the know (i.e. everyone reading this blog) can get your tickets for the Thursday (11/8) show at 50% off! Head over here and enter the password MOZART to get in on the action.
If you enjoyed this you can find other excellent commentary, artwork, and cheap gags from the evening’s cartoonists and live bloggers on Twitter under the hashtag #pdxgiovanni.