Closing Night

Posted in Design, Summer 2009, Twelfth Night on August 17th, 2009 by mtrainor

Here are some pics of the final show courtesy of the set designer, Juliana von Haubrich:

Designing Twelfth Night

Posted in Design, Summer 2009, Twelfth Night on June 12th, 2009 by kellinewby

Here is what Juliana has planned for us:

Model of the Twelfth Night set

Model of the Twelfth Night set

What you are seeing is a 3D mock-up of the set, which will feature murals on the side and back walls and several levels of docks.  The one on your right will run off the stage and into the aisle of the theatre. Click here to see more floor plans, etc.

Juliana drew a lot of inspiration from pictures of Coney Island, and she particularly liked the image of the Wonder Bar.

wonder-bar-head

You can see more of her research and inspirational pictures by clicking here. I’m a big fan of the rainbow colored Mermaid.

The show is full of clowning, drinking,  mistaken identities, people caught up in the moment falling in love with the wrong people–seemed perfect to set on a boardwalk.

We’ve decided to set Twelfth Night in the late 1960′s  because the themes line up well (gender bending, free love, clowning).  In addition, there is  a lot of music written into the show, and the summer of ’69 brought us Woodstock.  Also, as we discovered last year, it is really hard to costume an older period when you’re working on the kind of budget we are working with.

tn-set-box

Last year, Juliana approached us and asked us to collaborate with her on a Halloween project that I will cover in another post (or maybe two–it was quite and ordeal), and afterward she offered to come out of retirement and  design a set for the Main Street Stage.  We, of course, took her up on it.  Twelfth Night will be her second set with us.

As we begin to build, I hope to take pictures and post them here, so you can watch the progress.  We’ll have a before and after.  As for now, the set is a tiny scale model sitting on a table and a lot of bright green tape on the stage floor.

Designing for the Main Street Stage

Posted in Design on May 21st, 2009 by kellinewby

It’s like one of those logic problems where you have to figure out who is sitting where at a table.

Main Street Stage is a doing a play and needs a set.  Here are the things to keep in mind:

  1. There are no wings.  Actors can only enter from the front of the stage (up the aisle) or from the back.  All non-stage crosses need to be made by going out of the building and around the block (or through the restaurant next door, should the staff be feeling generous).
  2. There is no fly loft.  The ceiling is ten feet from the stage floor.
  3. There is almost no backstage storage for large set pieces.
  4. The stage is raked (angled, higher at the back and sloping down toward the audience) so all doors must open upstage or have really good latches, else they will swing open during the show.  Also, good luck putting wheels on anything.
  5. The stage is 14 feet across at the front and 17 feet across at the back.  It is 25 feet long.
  6. You have access to a well-stocked wood room with many flats and platforms.  You also have access to a lot of handy people.
  7. Here’s ten bucks.

Have fun kids!

For extra credit: Juliet needs to be in a balcony.  Romeo must not be able to touch her when she is in this balcony and he is on the ground.  It must be believable.  Juliet’s head is not allowed to be in the lighting grid.

I like to think of the space in terms of poetry.  Many people balk at writing formal verse:  the idea of having to find a certain number of syllables with a certain rhythm (oh, and they need end rhyme).  However, it’s easy to see when something in a sonnet isn’t working.  It makes you think hard about each syllable.  Every decision matters and must communicate something.

This carries over into every aspect of production.  At the Main Street Stage, the audience is literally two feet away from the actors.  The power of being in the Keller’s backyard or in the streets of Verona is a huge asset to our productions.  It also means we can speak in much more film-y ways on stage.

On the other hand, when people are that close, you can’t fake old age through make-up and you can’t hope no one sees the tear in that costume.  It rules out many convenient theatre tricks.

I hope to be updating you on the progress of the Twelfth Night design and construction as is progresses this summer.  Stay tuned.