Boeing Boeing

Posted in Lighting Design on July 23rd, 2015 by Eric Appleton

At the drafting table, today, working on the over stage plate for the upcoming Milwaukee Chamber Theatre production of “Boeing Boeing.” With the set pushed hard against the proscenium, with steps and platforming, with a ceiling overhang, it’s next to impossible to move the lift around the stage for focus, so I have to position on-stage things where we can get to them, or readily bounce focus them. Adding to this is the multiple upstage rooms — not much action in them, just people rushing in and out, but they still have to be part of the picture, that means I’m also trying to figure out what units can be mounted where to best effect. This play doesn’t look like much, but it’s been pretty darned complicated to figure out. . .

Boeing Boeing

Posted in Lighting Design on July 22nd, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Attended the first rehearsal (read through for donors and guests) of Boeing Boeing yesterday, and afterwards shared the watercolor looks I’d been working on with the director, Michael Cotey. He liked where I was heading, which is a good thing, since the plot is due on Sunday. . .

Here’s a line of them, spread out on the dining room table:

The basic look for morning:

The basic look for night:

The Love Look (things will be rotating):

And the drafting table, gearing up for some layout:

Boeing Boeing

Posted in Lighting Design on July 20th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Doing some work on “Boeing Boeing” at home this week, in preparation for the first rehearsal on Tuesday (and my plot is due a week from today). I know working up lighting images with watercolor is a bit old school, but I just like sitting down with the paints and a line drawing of the set and working stuff out.

Suds and Boeing Boeing

Posted in General Production, Lighting Design, Scenic Design on July 13th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

I swung by campus today to spend some time in the office on the upcoming production of “Boeing Boeing” at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Here’s a start of thoughts on the drafting table:

The challenge of this show is going to be how to get anything over the stage — certainly we can hang things before scenic load in, but once the set is in place, there’s very little space for a lift to move around, except right down center. It will be interesting.

I also popped my head into the Hicklin to see how the set of “Suds” is going. It looks pretty done (and I’m told that student Alison Lozar did the lion’s share the paint work):

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Posted in Lighting Design on July 9th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Last night was the invited dress for the Optimists’ “A Midsummer Night Dream,” in Milwaukee’s Kadish Park. Once again, a technical challenge to get as much as you can out of a little as you have. The lighting consists of 20 1.2 k dimmers (would have been 24, but one of the borrowed packs didn’t work — ) borrowed from Quasimondo, 4 fresnels borrowed from In Tandem, 4 fresnels borrowed from Bo Johnson, 6 36 degree Source Fours and 6 floods borrowed from the UW-Whitewater, a Microvision borrowed from Steve traut, 3 strings of lights borrowed from Jason Fassl, and some home/garden floods bought from the hardware store.

Here’s the crew setting up last night. Since it’s in the park and totally open to whomever wanders through, everything that’s not in the air has to get struck at the end of every night. Which means it all has to get set back up before the show. . .

This is the booth:

Since the set designer teaches at Wisconsin Lutheran (which is also where the company rehearses), most of the crew are students there.

Here’s what it looks like, all set up, from atop the hill heading toward the bathrooms:

Here we are at the start of the show:

And as the evening progresses, we end up here:

Suds and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Posted in Lighting Design, Scenic Design on July 1st, 2015 by Eric Appleton

On my way in to Milwaukee yestderday, I stopped at the shop both to rummage for some unistrut hardware and to see how construction on “Suds’ was going. Our TD, Steve, and the students have made excellent progress.

Here’s Quinn working on the laundry tables:

And Alison continues painting everything pretty much single-handedly:

How things look from the booth:

And then, on to Kadish Park for Shakespeare in the Park. Bo and I spent about forty five minutes trying to figure out why the dimmers weren’t talking to the board. Turned out we needed the five pin to three pin adapter that was concealed in a compartment in the road case (even though the manual said the board could speak directly through 3 pin, and there were two three pin ports on the back of the board).

I then complained about the board in Facebook, and an old acquaintance at ETC said he had a personal Microvision in his garage that might still be working and he’d be willing to lend it to us. He’s going to check it out tonight, and who knows? Tomorrow we might have a Microvision and won’t have to run the show the old fashioned way. . .

And here’s a shot of the theatre at the end of the evening’s run, under a full moon.

Cue and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Posted in Lighting Design on June 30th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

A last pic from ETC’s Cue conference this past weekend, waiting for Al Crawford to talk about his company, which lights, it seems, everything from weddings to Madison Square Garden (painting the whole of exterior with blue light in five days).

And then it’s back to life on the ground, where training on the Cobalt console fades into the background because we have 24 sort of 1k dimmers and a Leprecon hybrid board to light a show in a pavilion designed by an architect who apparently never realized that in a ‘theatre’ (says so right there on the concrete wall) you might want to provide some way to light a performer’s face. . .

Here’s part way through the hang yesterday:

A close-up of the ‘grid.’ Square pipes front and back that are slightly angled and are too bit large for non-standard c-clamps. . . You’ve be surprised how much is hung with plastic zip ties. . .

And the back wall of the set going in:

ETC Cue!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

I’m fortunate to live in Madison, where Electronic Theatre Controls is also based. Even better, ETC puts together a conference every two years offering training on various consoles and seminars for educators. I’ve been away from hard core cutting edge lighting technology for too long (I know my way around an Expression, but that’s as far as I go) (I mean, we’re using as Leprecon for Midsummer’s. . . ) so I decided to jump in at the deep end and get some training on the Cobalt desk.

Here’s the registration desk . .

And here we are waiting for the morning’s keynote speaker, Fred Foster, founder of ETC (yes, he did start the company out of his parents’ home. . .).

The rest of the day was spent in front of a Cobalt desk, having my brain gently fried by ETC’s expert trainers. . .but it was very, very cool.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Posted in Lighting Design on June 26th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

This summer also features a second lighting design for The Optimists with their Shakespeare in the Park in Milwaukee production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Rehearsals have been underway for a few weeks, and tonight was the first night rehearsals were held in the space.

Arrangement for Murder, No.2 and Suds!

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on June 25th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Here’s the finished set for “Arrangement for Murder, No. 2:”

Next week, they’ll be striking that and loading in “Suds!”, which is under construction and being rehearsed in the Barnett.

Allison Lozar is doing pretty much all the paint work this summer. Here she is, walking across the shop.

I think that’s Bruce, over there to the side.