The Thieves of Bagdad


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Saturday, 17th November, 2007


ORIGINALLY ALADDIN'S CAVE, this flat served as the Old Man of the Sea's grotto in last year's Sindbad the Sailor so we're painting out the flourescent fish and the seaweed and starting from scratch, so that it can serve as the desert hide-out of the Forty Thieves in Ali Baba.

rocksThe boulders (right) were a cloud last year.

I sketched these with the Sharpie marker pen on bits of scrap paper for one of our painters, Ken, to work from (and coloured them this evening in Photoshop). I might have to give the boulders a few more jagged lines because at the moment they could be seen as sacks of swag.

Hover your mouse over the sketch to see what was on the backdrop last year.

Last year's Caliph's palace gets revamped as the market place. I always feel that, having gone to all that effort to set out the structure of a scene on the backdrop, I should adapt it rather than obliterate it, but it takes all day tinkering about, re-painting little sections here and there, so it would probably have been quicker to start afresh.

The four doors are there because of a piece of business in the script. But this is a canvas backdrop so don't expect them to open. We need to use a bit of theatrical make-believe in this scene.

In Arabian Nights tradition, the Thieves get themselves smuggled into the Palace in oil jars. Here's my attempt (right) to give the hardboard cut-out a three-dimensional look.

It should be a good show - a real pantomime, so I'm told - and it will literarily bring the house down because the old school hall, built in the 1960s with a projected 25 year life span, is scheduled for demolition in April. This will be the last ever production.