Posted in Uncategorized on March 19th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

In Cincinnati this week for the annual United States Institute for Theatre Technology conference. I’m here with Tracey Lyons, costume designer and costume shop supervisor. Today was a busy day. First was the keynote speaker, and here is the stage in one of the ballrooms as we wait for things to get rolling.

I had to nip out early to meet the members of my session. I took over chairing “Mentoring After Midnight” when Catherine Mantooth was given the opportunity to attend a seminar in Costa Rica. It appears to have gone well. Over a hundred in the audience, and Tracey said no one left early. People I ran into throughout the day had some nice things to say.

Here we are, breaking up afterwards, with audience members coming forward to chat and ask follow up questions. That’s Kara Huffman and Jeremy Webb, both from the University of West Georgia (he’s the TD, and she’s the student shop supervisor), then Keith Pitts, from Lawrence University, and Mark Williams, from CCM.

One of the exciting things about the USITT conference is the Expo floor, which will open up tomorrow. At this convention center, there’s a walkway running above it that allows you to see the various companies getting set up.

Finally, here I am receiving the Herbert Gregg’s Honor Award for the article that was published in TD&T this year. Who knew they gave an award to the three articles they felt were the best of the year’s pieces? Neat!

The Furies

Posted in General Production on March 12th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

We’re heading into technical rehearsals for the annual dance concert at UW-Whitewater, so the shop is starting to turn its attention to “The Furies.” Since classes are going on in the Hicklin, and the marley is down in the Barnett, the shop is getting a little crowded at the moment; though getting this stuff done now means once Dancescapes is struck, we can get the platforming for “Furies” in pretty quickly.

Here’s a stack of platforms, covered in masonite, waiting to be primed.

The upstage walkway was legged and braced. I asked our TD to save part of the groundrow from “The Tender Land” since I was rather proud of it. You can see hanging up there on the right.

My projects in the last few days included working on the Clytemnestra mobile. The director (Angela Ianonne) would like the dead queen to glide unnaturally about the stage, so we’ve devised this cart. A crew person will lay on his or her belly and move it with arms and feet while Clytemnestra straddles them. There, of course, is much refinement yet to be done.

We’ve also got six “shard curtains” on the set, and here you can see my prototype of broken masonite, manila line, and hot glue. It will work.

Which means forging ahead on working out the paint treatment for the shards. Four different base colors, and then three different metallic glazes. Here’s my test batch in mid-process.

Finally, a quick trip down to the costume shop to catch the students working on both Dancescapes and “The Furies” by surprise.

The Furies

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design on March 5th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Working on the drawings for “The Furies,” which will be produced by the UW-Whitewater department of Theatre/Dance in April (adapted and directed by Angela Iannone).

Doing the 3D model really helped me see into the platform stack, which really helped in working up the section — though I did discover an issue with borders that I will have to discuss with our TD.

Today’s plates head into the details. There won’t be all that many detail plates for this show, since beyond the platforms, there aren’t a lot of details. Here’s the plate (in progress) for the shard curtains and the navelstone.

Of course, the details are pretty detailed — the navelstone must allow Hermes to climb up and pour water over a kneeling Orestes, Athena will be huge, portable, and must allow the actual Athena to emerge from her skirts, etcetera. Less time at the drafting table, more time in the shop. But that’s okay.

Dancescapes and The Furies

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on March 3rd, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Now that “The Tender Land” has been struck, the Barnett is getting ready for “Dancescapes,” our annual dance concert. I don’t have much to do with it, as Steve Chene (our TD) oversees the lighting students who will be working with the rep plot on their assigned pieces. The marley got rolled out yesterday, and here’s Steve talking with TAs Thad and Brandon about setting up the booms.

Meanwhile, TA Joe is training Intro student Mason on the board, as Mason will be the board operator for the concert.

In the shop, Emily and Emily (both in Intro) paint a wing flat black. Since the Barnett has a honking big apron (thank you Seventies architect) we need to place booms on the side stages (thank you Seventies architect) behind masking flats in order to get sidelight that far downstage.

I spent much of the afternoon in my office working on the section of “The Furies,” and figuring out how to better give Steve reasonably accurate measurements on all the angled platforms. I found the best way was to model it in Sketchup, and let Steve take measurements directly from the model.

Here’s the stack with a section plane down the center line, looking stage left.

The Furies

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design on February 27th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Drafting away on the upcoming UW-Whitewater production of “The Furies,” adapted and directed by Angela Iannone. Today’s project was the elevation (tomorrow, the section!). The difficult thing was figuring out how to draw all those randomly tilted platforms. . .

The Furies

Posted in Drawings, General Production, Scenic Design on February 26th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

With “The Tender Land” running, I’ve ramped up work on “The Furies,” getting a rough model put together for Angela (our director) to use in rehearsal. It will also help clarify much of what’s happening in pile-of-platform land. Here is the model set up for Delphi:

And here it is set up for Athens:

Since the budget is pretty tight on this one, we’re going for cheap yet effective. The platforming is intended to be all stock, the white strips are all white parachute silk we had in storage, Athena’s a flat paint and fabric hybrid, and all those shards will be broken up masonite scraps strung on manila cord. Fingers crossed.

The Furies

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Painting on February 24th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

“The Tender Land” has opened, “Dancescapes” is gearing up, and “The Furies” is already starting rehearsals. This morning I finished drafting the groundplan (third time is the charm) and will get it scanned and copied and distributed tomorrow. Now it’s on to the rest of the drawings. . .

The Tender Land

Posted in Production Photo, Scenic Design on February 23rd, 2015 by Eric Appleton

We opened “The Tender Land” on Sunday, so here are a few photos from the final dress rehearsal on Saturday.

Directed by Jim Butchart, scenic design by Eric Appleton, costume design by Tracey Lyons, lighting design by Steve Chene, props manager student Quinn Bauer, Music Director and conductor Bob Gehrenbeck, stage managed by student Allison Lozar.

I was learning a new camera, so between it and the LED fixtures (which, we’re finding, play havoc with digital cameras) out of the 300 shots I took, about forty were decent, even even those had a fair amount of image blowout on the actors and color shifting on costumes.

First, here are stage manager Allison and backstage crew member Lilliana having a brief break after the stage is swept and mopped:

The party scene, as Laurie emerges from the house:

The end of act two, as Laurie decides to leave the farm for good:

And while my camera has trouble with real things, it does have a number of built in filters. Here’s a moment of the party scene through the sepia filter:

The Furies

Posted in Scenic Design on February 20th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

We had a production meeting for “The Furies” this afternoon (the show goes up at the end of April), and the director (Angela Iannone) approved my platform arrangement and the general direction of things. I said I would have the revised groundplan for everyone on Tuesday next week.

The Tender Land

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on February 20th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Last night was first dress for the UW-Whitewater production of “The Tender Land,” which was also our first night with the full orchestra. Scenically, we’re in a good place — it’s down to details now. I spent some time this afternoon working on the windmill, and I must say I’m rather happy with how the blades turned out:

This gets attached to an old color wheel motor and placed atop the tower:

We had it in place for the evening’s run; in order not to become a spinning distraction, it rotates at the top of the show until Laurie’s entrance, and at the end of the show, after Laurie’s exit (the winds of change. . . ).

We also continued with clapboarding the house. Here are Bruce and Brendan working on that project: