Blockity Blocking Blocks
Is it fabulous? Is it functional? Is it insane?
You might think those are questions Calliope asks herself while shopping for a new look, but in this case, it is my internal monologue as I stumbled on the idea of using Legos to model and block Head Over Heels. That's right - the Legos I have held onto since I began collecting sets as a child. The bags of bricks and plates, the tool-drawer full of minifig parts. The Legos that are carefully kept separate from my children's Legos because they are Dad's Things. The same Legos that I use to build monsters, scenery, and characters for Dungeons & Dragons games.
And whether or not it turns out to be the Next Big Thing in every director's toolkit, the idea definitely seemed worthy of a photo spread.
Let's start at the beginning. A blank stage. Obviously to scale, at one Lego stud per square foot. Obviously.
That's pretty boring.
Most of the show happens in outdoor settings, so first step, add some greenery.
Ahh, that's better already. Now we just need some actors to put on there. My Lego collection tends heavily toward fantasy and castle and pirate elements, which are of course wonderful and excellent, but often have a dull color palette of minis - lots of brown outfits and dark or muted colors. That won't do for Head Over Heels - this musical should basically look like a rainbow tripped and fell out of the sky all over the stage. I found the brightest minifig pieces in my collection and put them all together. Its perfect - we basically don't even need a costume designer anymore. Strike that - we just finally found a costume designer, and I'm stoked about it.
I'm not sure where I'll find the bright red- and green-skinned actors I need for the ensemble, but the legos have spoken (look, there is a severe lack of lego POC, this was the best I've got - point is we want a diverse cast). Truly, it will be a challenge to fill the ensemble - they need to dance through half the show, sing through half the show, and then take a break for intermission and do it all again. They will be courtiers, sheep, darkness, islanders, and living scenery over the course of the show. Tell all the performers you know that they need to audition. Please. Dancers. Singers. Ensemble. Audition!
Next, let's meet the royal family! On the left, you see Queen Gynecia and King Basilius - like any marriage, there are some bumps in the road, but its a comedy, so happy endings are pretty well assured. On the right is the superstar elder daughter Pamela - she is looking for love but the suitors Mom and Dad bring around aren't doing it for her. In the middle, the whole family is chasing after a mysterious and alluring Amazon, and there next to Dad is Philoclea, the quiet younger daughter. Unlike her sister, Philoclea starts the show with a built-in love interest - will her young romance survive the twists, turns, gyrations and palpitations the script has in store?
Finally, we have Pythio the oracle. They are non-binary, and ultra fabulous, which was a little tricky given my lego collection. I don't think the dragon ninja/Frozen ensemble will make the cut for the actual show costume, but I decided it was acceptable for my photo shoot. Pythio's prophecies really get the plot going, and the King's servant Dametas (also pictured) often seems to be the only one who paid them any attention. There's some fun had with flags in the script, hence the pennants Pythio is holding. Dametas gets a surprise ending in exchange for trying to keep the flags and prophecy in mind, but I won't give it away here.
So there you have it. And there I have it - all the tools I need to block out a beautiful show. Maybe I'll get our choreographer in on it, and all the dances will be . . . well, probably a little stiff.
For you AFOLs out there complaining about my use of cardboard in a Lego scene, you tell me how to make a trio of rhomboid prisms that fit together into a 6-stud-across hexagon, and I'll build it. I tried - I mean, briefly, but I tried. Until then I think my cardboard is just precious.