Theatre Thursday

Beauty and the Beast 

There is always something special about starting fresh on a new show.  This year, the fall show at Central High was Beauty and the Beast.  I didn’t start completely from scratch because I had designed the show for CET over the summer.  However, I have more space and more materials to work with at Central so I was excited to recreate the show with a few added embellishments.

It was nice that this show I had a student foreman that was very interested in working on the show and in keeping the shop clean and organized.  This is a great help because most of the people that work in the shop are not interested in cleaning up their own messes.  This is not ok.

I brought the thrones we made at CET over.  We did add some gold trim and repaired the places that had not traveled so well from Salem.

I also brought over tables, costumes, the “jail”, assorted props, and the rolling flats we used for the village at CET.  The back hall began to fill up.

This production also teamed me up with one of my favorite people, Jeff Witt.  Sadly, Jeff got sick during the two weeks of blocking.  I ended up blocking the whole show for him because a) he couldn’t come to rehearsal because we has so sick and b) I didn’t make a model for him and he wasn’t exactly sure how I intended the moving units of the set to work with the blocking.  The concept was that the rose and the rolling stair unit would come together and break apart throughout the show symbolizing how the Beast and Belle would break apart and come together throughout the show.  I think the idea worked beautifully.

We started the set by creating two large rolling platforms with stairs and landings.  This time, I asked that the platforms be bolted together.  I was tired of the traditional screw the platforms together.  I had the crew drill holes and tighten the platforms together.  My hope is that the holes are uniform and can be used again and again.  It definitely made the wagon units stronger.  I also had the crew mount the castors on 2×6 pieces and then attached those pieces to the platform.  It also helped increase the integrity of the set.

The Tech Theater class helped with the base coat and learned texturing while painting the set.

We used sea sponges to create a marble-like effect on the rolling units…

… and on the props that we painted.

We used a feather duster to create texture on the walls of Gaton’s pub…

… and we use sponge rollers to create a texture effect on the floor.  We split the class into groups and rotated them through the different techniques to give them all a chance to learn skills with each  application.

Reba’s (Belle) mom painted the Gaston painting for us.  She did a fantastic job!  I now have a new person to go to when I need something painted in detail.

We then practiced making flats in the tech class and made this flying wall for Gaston’s pub.  We learned about the rigging system as we safely got the 16×24 foot wall to fly.

I also ended up doing make-up on this show.  I can crank out a ton of “old age” make up in very little time. But I wasn’t interested in making a new mustache every day.  We didn’t have any “facial hair” so I found this wig in the closet that appeared to match the actor.  I straightened out what I could…

… cut little pieces off… and carefully hand tied them to a small piece of mesh…

It took forever!

But it was worth it in the end!  It turned out great!

John and my friend Roger made the machine for CET.  When we got it to Central we did embellish it a bit.  I recycle most things I make… but this was too cool and it now lives in my bike shed.  LOL.

I wanted the crew to be Gargoyles.  The costume people were great and created just what I was hoping for.

Although I adore all the kids involved in these productions, the best part of helping out at the high school is working on shows with my kids.  Hannah played Mrs. Potts and Lillian was in the chorus.  Each set I create is a labor of love… love for my art… love for these kids… love for my friend Jeff… and a love for my own kids.  Next year is Hannah’s senior year.  I’ve come to the conclusion that once Hannah graduates and Jeff is moved to strictly choir (sometime in the future), my time at Central will be done.  I can’t see myself dedicating 5 hours a day of volunteer time without my kids and one of my greatest friends involved.  I better make the next couple of sets the greatest thing I’ve created yet.

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