After reading the script (but before I spoke with the director/adaptor, Charley), I took a stab at an image that would capture the essence of the play. These elements seemed to be a Victorian leading lady with creepy monsters. The sketch is a lady with her face in partial shadow and monsters creeping from beneath her skirt. After showing this to Charley, we discussed the play and realized this image was wrong for many reasons, including possibly giving too much away. Plus, it wasn't a "grabber".
The next thought was much more "Alien" chestburster. More movement and more possibilities with composition. And Charley liked that it read HORROR play much more than the first.
Charley was wondering if we should place some monsters into the scene, as they would be in the actual play.
We wrapped up our two and a half hour discussion confident that I had a handle on several ideas for the poster. One issue was trying to find a POV for the lead character in the poster. Should she be looking straight at the viewer? I gave that a stab here to think about it. I don't always sketch the whole poster, just the part I want to play with.
It wasn't quite working, so I went back to thumbnails of the whole design and settled upon a centered image of the woman wrapped in monsterous tentacles that are reaching skyward. At her feet would be the other monsters in shadowy silhoutte.
I drew a larger version in pieces on tracing paper. This one is about 11" x 23". The proportions are off for the typical 11" x 17" poster, but it gives me the elements to play with. I took the monsters out, because they drew your attention away from the dynamic attention of her reaching up towards the title of the play.
I like this sketch and so does Charley. I think we're on our way.