CHESS The Musical - Horsham Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society, 2011
As such an iconic and much-loved rock opera, Brian (as musical director) and his friend Yvonne Chadwell (show director), both wanted "CHESS The Musical" to be a major production in every possible sense: musically, dramatically, visually, and also in terms of the all the peripheral stuff like posters and show programmes.
With the latter in mind, Brian (wearing his publicity hat) decided to break from HAODS tradition, and go for a full-colour, A4 "Souvenir" Programme, rather than the more common A5 booklet. It was to be lavishly illustrated, richly colourful, and printed to the highest standards, and generally to reflect the sheer amount of work and enthusiasm that Brian, Yvonne, and the rest of their production team and cast, were going to put into this show.
From the CHESS Poster
As usual, Brian used his poster design as the basis of the front cover, with only the wording being simplified and adapated to its new purpose. Showing two chess pieces, one in red and adorned with the Soviet "Hammer and Sickle" motif, and the other emblazoned in the America's "Stars and Stripes", this eye-catching image hinted at a major thread of the show's story, and also looked stunning on the front of the programme.
Inside Front Cover and Notices
As usual with HAODS show programmes, the inside the front cover carries a full-page advertisement, and first page is reserved for the display of necessary credits, including the director's and musical director's names, copyright notices and NODA's logo.
Brian used a feint, white version of the chess-piece design was used as a backing to the notices page to give the notices page a little visual interest, without compromising its legibility.
Chairman's Chat and Directors' Biographies
With the standard stuff out of the way, now it was time for the fun to begin. HAODS' chairman, Ray Fisher, always writes a fronticepiece for the company's shows, usually comprising some 150-200 words of general "chat"; however, on this occasion, he chose to to supply his piece in the form of sixteen "soundbytes". Brian decided to dusplay these as if written on "PostIt" notes, stuck onto a wooden chessboard. Accompanying text, as well as that of the directors' biographies, was set in white text on a black background, for dramatic effect.
The two acts of CHESS are set, respectively, in the mountain resort of Merano, Italy, and in the steamy atmosphere of Bangkok, Thailand. Brian decided to set the show synopsis across a full spread, with "painterly" illustrations of both locations. However, the page still felt a little bare and dull, so he added an adjusted image of some waterlillies to the background, together with a cut-out of a Bangkok water-market boat in the bottom right corner.
Principal Biographies and Cast List
Using portraits that Brian took against a background of CHESS show posters, Brian set the short biographies of the show's seven principal characters in white text, against a misty, blue-to-green texture with a chess-board receding into the distance across the spread.
CHESS - Ten Words at Most
Borrowing on an idea Yvonne had used some years earlier in a HAODS "Arts Fanfare" revue, Brian invited everyone in the cast to say something about themselves in ten words or fewer; this was to form the centre-spread of the programme. These "mini-biogs" were then displayed on the empty squares of a chess board, during a "game" that Brian depicted using pieces from the Adobe "Cheq" chess font, and all set on a wood-style background.
Director's Notes and Scenes & Musical Numbers
Yvonne's personal thoughts about a show always form an important part of HAODS' programmes, and on this occasion, Brian decided to set her words in white text on a black background, arranged around a large version of the Soviet-livoried "Queen" piece from the front cover. The facing page listed the scenes and musical numbers, again in white text, but this time set against a stylised "neon" effect "Knight".
Chess - Only a Game?
Apart from loving "CHESS The Musical", Brian is also passionate about the Game of Chess itself, and wanted to share some of his enthusiasm with the audience, especially with those many among them who quite probably had never even thought about the game, let alone played it. The next spread shared two purposes: to explain a little about Chess, the Game, and its various pieces and their moves, and also to mention its connection to Yvonne's choreogaphy, much of which was based on these very moves. Brian set his piece in white text, against an image of the show's two male leads, "Anatoly" (Mark Freeman) and "Frederic" (Robert Felstead), playing Chess against an abstract background.
Credits and Acknowledgements
A great many people were involved in the creation and performance of HAODS' production CHESS, well beyond its director, musical director and cast, and a full list of credits and acknowledgements formed the next full spread, set against in white text against an image of the same game used for the centre-spread, "CHESS - Ten Words at Most", but this time using the photo-realistic pieces from an electronic chess game, coloured deep blue.
CHESS - Thousands of Words
Playing on the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words", and the name of his centre-spread, ""CHESS - Ten Words at Most", Brian decided to call his page of informal rehearsal photographs, "CHESS - Thousands of Words". This was set opposite some advertising, on a green "Theatre Tabs" (curtains!) background.
Back Cover: List of Shows
Rounding off the programme, the back cover simply lists the entire history of HAODS shows, again said in white on a black background, but including the HAODS "50 years" logo in deep blue, and an advertisement for the following production, "Mikado".
Click on the links below to find out about some other programme designs:
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