The Birth of a Dragon
Irek Obsidian, one of the main storytellers of The Hammer Trinity, is a mighty black dragon. Bringing Irek to life on the stage is an important and challenging mission that our puppet designer Jesse Mooney-Bullock has to accomplish. Irek is voiced by Tracy Letts, who is at least as cool as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Smaug in The Hobbit. Tracy is returning for The Excelsior King in the spring.
Those of you who saw The Iron Stag King and The Crownless King will remember that Irek’s head was hung from the ceiling of the theatre, exiled outside the Land (and the stage space). Irek’s arms and tail stretched out to envelop the audience. (For people who have never seen the previous installments of The Hammer Trinity and have no idea what I am talking about, here is a picture of Irek from The Crownless King.)
Looks cool, right? We are making Irek even cooler this summer! The head is going to be similar to the one we used in The Crownless King, with his geometric lines, and illuminated interior. And now, we plan to give Irek more mobility so the audience can really feel his presence. We want to let Irek fly all over the stage and be inches away from the audience. To make this happen, Jesse is attaching the dragon puppet to a trolley. Here is a sketch of the new design.
The puppeteer in the middle uses the two wooden levers to control the head, up, down and side to side. The puppeteers at the side flies the dragon everywhere with the trolley. They also control the Irek’s jaw and eyes.
And here is a model, which is 1/7th the size of the actual thing.
The actual dragon head is going to be 10 feet long! You can’t see it from the model but the puppet is going to be shiny black with neon lights attached to it to highlight its features. It is going to look badass in the theatre with proper lighting!
Here is Jesse posing in front of the trolley he just created. He wishes that he can control a dragon in real life like Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon.
And here is Jesse testing the weight and balance of what is the beginning of a frame for the dragon head. Notice that at the moment the aluminum bars are connected by duct tape. We will obviously weld the bars. Building a powerful dragon story teller with duct tape is simply unacceptable.
And a week later…
The skeleton is welded together and attached to the trolley. Check out this awesome video of the actors playing around with the dragon puppet. They act out a scene from The Crownless King to explore how to make Irek Obsidian come to life!
See Irek Obsidian in action on July 24 at The Trinity Tour! More information available here.