The Furies and Arrangement for Murder, No. 2

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on April 17th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

We have a production meeting for this summer’s “Arrangement for Murder, No. 2″ so here’s an image of the set as it currently stands. The director likes it, though I haven’t yet passed it by our technical director (though I don’t see any issues from his end), and I do still need to put in the overhead lighting fixture.

Here are pictures from yesterday’s work on “The Furies.” First, the hanging of the shards continues. getting started:

And moving along:

Here’s TA Thad working on the rolling stairs which will enable to jurors to get up to their platforms:

And Intro to Tech students Teresa and Josiah painting some scrim scraps black to help mask the lighting instruments (audience blinders) tucked underneath the platforming:

Athena’s been cut out, and waits to be framed. There will be a doorway through her lower half, covered with fabric (her skirts), through which the actor playing Athena will emerge.

I finally got the danged snake onto the Navelstone:

And got it painted. Done.

The Furies

Posted in General Production on April 16th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Getting closer to tech week for the UW-Whitewater production of “The Furies.” Our TD, Steve, was out this afternoon, but he left plenty of assignments for the students to work on. With the lights hung (student lighting designer Logan Bydalek), circuiting is in full swing. Here’s TA Bruce working with Intro student Jenna on one of the electrics.

At the same time, shard stringing was happening, with a group on either side of the stage measuring, sliding, and gluing. Here’s Allison (another Intro student) and one of the Bunbury twins (sorry once again) on stage left. . .

. . . and Intro students Liliana and Joe working with TA Allison on stage right.

While I’m ducking into the Barnett every so often to check on things, I busied myself in the shop cleaning up the image of Athena:

— and filling the new snake. My old version was just not flexible enough, so I asked Tracey Lyons, our costume shop supervisor, if she could make me a long tube. She even made it out of a more stretchy material. Here it is, filled, with the head attached and glue drying.

The Furies

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on April 15th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Updates on the UW-Whitewater’s upcoming production of “The Furies.” Here’s the stage in the Barnett. The platforming is all in place, though there is facing and stone paintwork to be done. The lights are hung and waiting to be circuited, and all the shard curtains strings have been tied to eyehooks on battens and will start getting their shards today.

Speaking of shard curtains, here’s Braden tying those pieces of twine to the eyehooks. . .

. . . and Mason and Bruce doing a little untangling. We decided that each string will be loaded with the proper number of shards, tied off at the bottom, and the placement for each shard measured from the top, raising the batten as we progress. The tedium continues. . .

This is a picture of the path that Clytemnestra takes around the stage, pushed on her wagon. I will be somehow incorporating this path into the stone work.

The navelstone is, well, sort of done. The leaves have been attached and painted.

Here’s the rolling base for the navelstone, with steps for Hermes.

I say sort of because the snake has to be completed and attached. I discovered that my approach of wrapping ethafoam in muslin will not work — it’s just not flexible enough. I have asked our costume shop supervisor if she’ll sew me a very long tube, which I will then fill with. . . something cheap and available.

Here’s props manager Allson working on arrow ends for Apollo’s quiver:

Finally, work has begun on our giant Athena. Makenzie, Jennifer, and Bruce projected and traced the image, and are here seen to begin cleaning up their tracing, straightening and smoothing lines before it gets cut out.

The Furies and Arrangement for Murder No. 2

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on April 14th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Continuing work on the upcoming UW-Whitewater production of “The Furies”!

First, a visit to the costume shop, where we find the masks of the Furies themselves. . .

. . . and student Amy (who is also a nationally ranked champion swimmer!) working on the noise rattling juju bracelets. . .

. . . while up in the Barnett, light hang begins. Here’s TD Steve Chene working with two students from the Intro to Tech class (Josiah, and it looks like Shelby standing behind him) on the cyc electric. Student Logan Bydalek is designing the lighting for the show.

Here’s Steve in the shop working with TA Quinn and Intro student Joe on the short flight of stairs that will be set into the navelstone, allowing Hermes to ascend and pour water over Orestes.

Elsewhere in the shop, Logan works with Intro students Brandon and Joe on running some facing through the table saw.

In the hallway, Intro students Jennifer and Teresa cut the lengths of twine that will be used to string up the shards.

I continued work on the navelstone. Here’s the front half of the snake that twines around the stone. . .

. . . and went ahead and painted the stone itself. . .

. . . . only to realize I hadn’t put the leaves around the base. Looks like I will be doing some repainting today!

And while all this is going on, I’m also working on the set for the summer production of “Arrangement for Murder, No. 2.” Here’s where I am with the Sketchup model, after our production meeting conversation the other day:

The Furies, Suds, and Arrangement for Murder, No. 2

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on April 10th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

It’s the end of the semester and we’ve got multiple shows in progress at the UW-Whitewater. Tech for “The Furies” draws closer, and last night the actors were able to rehearse in the Barnett on the platforming.

This picture is from two days ago, after Angela (the director) came up after the production meeting to take a look at it. She, Steve and I talked about a couple of the higher stack platforms and made a couple of adjustments.

I’ve continued to work on Apollo’s Navelstone. In this picture, I finally have the shape carved out of the block of foam.

And here it is yesterday afternoon after being slathered with Dan Katula’s recipe of Weld-Bond, paint, and toilet paper. It dried like concrete, which is nice, but on the other hand, a day later, there are still places where it’s not dry at all. So instead of doing some sanding and painting, I spent an hour working on the snake.

I think I came up with one of the most tedious scenic projects ever in the shard curtains. They may all be painted, but now each one needs a hole, after which they will be meticulously threaded onto heavy twine.

Yesterday we had our first production meeting for this summer’s “Suds.” I had checked in with the director, Skip Grover, on my direction, so I went ahead and presented a pretty much complete set at the meeting. Though I did forget to include the piano.

And even though “Arrangment for Murder, No. 2″ is the first of the summer shows, I haven’t made as much progress on it as I have with “Suds.” Still, we have the first production meeting for that show later today, and I do have some preliminary thoughts to share.

The Furies

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on April 7th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Today’s progress on the UW-Whitewater production of “The Furies!” I managed to have the morning free, so I spent it in the shop working on the navelstone. It’s finally beginning to look like something.

Once shop hours started and students rolled in, Steve continued to work on the platform pile. Here he is with Intro students Kim and Jennnifer, explaining how to cut thin arcs from a sheet of masonite to create a lip around the edge of the central round platform. This will prevent the water poured over Orestes from trickling off everywhere. We’ll be putting a drain in, as well.

They cut them out, and went ahead and primed them:

We also finally finished painting all the shards. Here they are lying in the shop awaiting their final spatter. Now we have to thread the darned things.

Props manager Allison adds a glossy sheen to our black and white pottery shards. . .

. . .while TA Brian and Intro student Makenzie build the blocks that will be supports for the platform stack.

Which looks like this right now:

With Steve making an adjustment, as seen past all the drawings:

One of my other projects was to recover the seats of all the juror chairs. It’s always fun seeing what people have done to chairs through the previous decades. . . and I could have sworn I’d pulled ten chairs.

And finally, Dale Kaminski, in the Department of Art and Design, was kind enough to use their giant printer to print out the head of Apollo on canvas. Just have to trim it down and attach it to its frame.


Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design on April 7th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Even though it’s past the middle of the semester, the production meetings have suddenly piled up. We’ve got our two Summeround shows (“Suds” and “Arrangement for Murder, No. 2″), and our first two Fall offerings (“I Hate Hamlet” and “Three Excellent Cows”) to start talking about. I had a few ideas for “Suds” and started working up sketches, which turned into a Sketchup frenzy. This morning I showed the director where I was heading; he liked it, so I kept going. One of the walls still needs its stripes, but this is pretty much what I will present at the production meeting.

The Furies

Posted in General Production on April 7th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Work continues on the upcoming UW-Whitewater production of “The Furies.” A small crew today, but there are always things to be done.

Here’s Jake cutting small blocks for the platforming:

And here’s our TD Steve Chene out on stage contemplating his next task as he waits for the blocks:

A full stage shot. The upstage walkway is in place, and the central disc with its two side platforms have been positioned.

We will have a large number of ropes thread through metallic ‘shards.’ Which means we have to make the shards and get them to look metallic. Everyday, some of the students end up on shard duty, and here’s Brandon and one of the Bunbury twins (sorry, but I still have a hard time telling you apart. . . ) painting, and painting, and painting. . .

The Furies

Posted in General Production, Scenic Painting on March 31st, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Now that we’re back from Spring Break, work continues on the upcoming UW-Whitewater production of the “The Furies.” Before we left for break, Steve (our TD) and the students got the deck in and primed. . .

. . . which meant that it was ready for me to paint. Here it is, part way done:

And here it is, done:

Well, done that is, until I add the mortar lines of the individual stones and all. That’s going to wait until after the central pile and all the facing is in place. So, while I wait for that to happen, I can do things like work on the naval stone. The students have glued together sheets of styrofoam, and here it is, waiting for me to start hacking away at it (in a well ventilated shop. . . ):

While I’m painting away, TA Thad works with Jake and Jennifer on platform understructure:

And props manager Allison works on a prototype Apollo head sheild thing. . .

Arrangement for Murder, No. 2

Posted in Playwrighting on March 31st, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Last night we had a small, somewhat cold reading of a murder thriller I’m working on for one of our Summeround slots. The summer audiences tend to like either light musical entertainment or murder mysteries, and we’re always limited by the number of available performers (students that stick around town over summer) as well as the fact that we stage the summer shows in our black box theatre, usually in the round, which means that shows that need to be technically tricky are often beyond our summer resources. Since I knew the parameters of our summer productions, I figured I’d go ahead and see if I couldn’t come up with a serviceable thriller.

Here’s Jim Butchart speaking with our four volunteer actors before the reading last night.

It went well.