Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's that time again :: Set Design :: Little Women - Fall 2013

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One of my major responsibilities annually is handling the artistic direction of some of the major
dramatic performance productions at my school. While this used to just entail set painting and dressing and prop creation and making, it's also become an even bigger task because I sometimes even draw up set plans for the faculty directors/producers/set building crews as informed by multiple meetings and "visions" that any involved might have for the finished show. This is what the aforementioned looks like...

To date, I have done the artistic direction for the following productions:
  • Godspell - a musical done in a modern and urban setting utilizing grafitti art in Roscoe brand stage/set paints and black lighting for effects
  • Diary of Anne Frank - a play done with a very open and multi-level layout to accommodate the open/ampitheater-like performance arts space that has little to not backstage area and no curtain to close so all scene and set changes must be done with lighting
  • The Sound of Music - a traditional presentation of the musical done with a modular set design utilizing large flats and lighting for scene and set changes
  • The Crucible - presentation was stylized with an off kilter feel in order to suggest major and continuing discord and disharmony across and connective in the whole performance
  • Hairspray - a traditional presenatation of the music done with modular parts of the set in order to facilitate scene and set changes against a stationary background

As things go for me and mine, things are always hectic and requiring lots of going with the flow right about now and in the spring time (when the musical happens). My 5 yo daughter has pretty much been raised around set design, construction, and dressing at this point which is quite something else. The students and their families (who all pitch in for all of the productions) have pretty much watched my daughter grow up from when she had her own little pack and play set up back along the side wings to now when she can not only hold a paintbrush but insist on using it to so that she can "help"get the work done in time for opening night. 

Her work orders were to use a monochromatic palette to show a "pretty" scene to help keep things happy back there
As things go, I always end up with the most tedious and time consuming task on the list of things to be done. *shrug* It's always something different and for this year's production it's stenciling wallpaper print on the huge stretched canvas flats that we reuse for every single production. 

While it might seem there is a smarter and not harder way to do this? I have actually figured out the most efficient way to get the job done and the reason why we aren't just getting wallpaper and doing it that way? Our budget might not be able to accommodate that in addition to the fact that we can't wallpaper the flats because it will damage them to the point where we won't be able to recover or absorb the damages in time for us to turn around and use them for the spring musical. Painting (with stencils) is cheaper to deal with even though it takes a lot more elbow grease on my part. Thank goodness for my incredible student aides this semester!! 

Anyway, the show opens this coming weekend and while I have a lot of stenciling still left to do, we are actually getting a lot of it done every day and we are right on schedule to be done in time. I'll try and share some pictures of the finished set before the show opens!

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