Come Back and Nate the Dragon

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on September 16th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Now that classes are in full swing, the shops are open and forging ahead on both “Come Back,” and “Nate the Dragon.”

Here are some of the tree flats for “Come Back,” set on the Barnett stage. The next step will be to cover them with muslin.

All these trees, are of course, cut out by hand in the scene shop. In our program, the students of Introduction to Theatre work in the shop as the lab component of the class. That means there are lots of new names and faces to learn, so I’m not going to name anyone in the photos at this point. . .

. . . though here is Technical Director Steve Chene working with a student on framing out one of the tree flats.

Down in the costume shop, students are working on “Nate the Dragon,” which will be presented with puppets.

That’s costume shop supervisor and “Nate” costume designer Tracey Lyons smiling there in the background.

They do have fun down in the costume shop.

Come Back

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design on September 9th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Further revisions. I drafted the groundplan after that previous conversation with the direction, with the intention of building a second model based on those revisions. Dealing with the front row of seating was a major issue, so between the request for crossover space and the monetary concerns involved in cutting seats, things got a bit more compressed. Because of time, this model would simply use the elements as drafted, cutting them out, pasting them onto foamcore and Bristol board, and then assembling. A dirty white model.

During our first production meeting this semester, the director realized that in the corner of the black box theatre, the extreme seats would essentially be behind much of the action that was staged downstage and asked me to me a bit kinder to those sightlines. I adjusted a bunch of things over stage right and have to redraft that portion of the stage, now. However, with my drafting table covered with model bits, I’m trying to get as much of that assembled as possible before clearing the table off for more drawing.

Come Back

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design on September 3rd, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Yes, another picture of the drafting table, but then, I like drafting. Angela, the director, and I touched base this morning about the revisions to the groundplan, so I’m forging ahead on drafting the curved tree flats, so out TD can start working on this next week, when the shops open. That’s a copy of the completed elevation hanging on the bulletin board.

Come Back

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design on August 29th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

After conversation with the director, I’ve ripped apart the model and tried out a few different configurations. She liked the over all look of the thing, but really needed some backstage crossover space. In the corner of the Hicklin, that’s problematic — add a concealed crossover, we lose a fair amount of stage stage, and/or start losing seating if we push the set forward. Budgetarily, losing the front row is impossible. It’s a juggling act, but I think I’ve figured out the middle path.

With the groundplan figured out, it was time to move on to an elevation. Since the model is no more, I wanted to get this completed as soon as possible to have posted by the time students arrive next week.

Come Back

Posted in Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on August 26th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

The model for “Come Back” continues. I combed through the script again this morning to double check on moveable items and where and how they needed to get around the space, and I haven’t yet worked out the masking upstage into the shop, but I feel I’m getting close. I need to get the director’s comments before I move any further on it. . .

Come Back

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on August 21st, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Now that I’ve watercolored a bunch of clouds, I’m cutting them out into tree shapes.

There are a couple of reasons I’ve chosen to fore-go the 3D computer modeling (Sketchup) on this show. First is that with the trees, clouds, the curved walls, etc, there were enough reasonably non-geometrically complex features on the set to make me want to go analog; I would spend too much time in Sketchup trying to make it look how I wanted it to look and still not get as close as I would like to. There are spatial things I wanted to work out in real space.

Second, I discovered last year that sharing the 3D computer model with the directors actually confused them — if they didn’t actually have the program on their computers, and weren’t familiar with manipulating their way through the model, it was just another 2D image. and not as expressive as a painted rendering. It’s much, much easier to move a couple of paper figures through an actual model than it is for the directors to move them through the virtual version. A 3D model on a computer screen is still, ultimately, a 2D image.

Finally, with the time it takes to make a detailed computer rendering, I could build the model and still draft the whole set by hand. While the computer model would certainly have a high degree of detail that the tech director can use, I found last year that there was a lot of detail that was better off described with a note on a plate of drafting.

Come Back

Posted in Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on August 19th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

With the curved walls I am planning to use for “Come Back,” I decided it would be best to play with a model before committing myself to the drafting (I also need to run this permutation past the director, and she’s proven more receptive to models rather than 2D images),

Here’s the deck in the theatre’s box. We’re staging it in the corner of the Hicklin.

Even though the curved walls will do the bulk of the masking, I’m considering staggered tops, and with the audience sitting along both sides of the playing space, making the back walls blue seems like a good idea. They will be darker blue than the walls themselves, though.

A run (after several previous runs) at the clouds that will be painted on the curved walls. Not quite the clouds of my photos, but getting much closer. Clouds are hard. . .

Come Back

Posted in Scenic Design on August 18th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Returning from a trip to Appleton, WI, I ran across these clouds, which are the exact clouds I want to paint onto the walls for “Come Back.”

Come Back

Posted in Scenic Design on August 13th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

One of the reasons I’m not fond of model building is the time it takes to wait for the glue to dry before you can do the next thing. I have little patience for that. In any event, I’ve cut down the planks and glued them onto the platforming. These will get piled with books and left to dry. On looking at what I’ve got, I’ve decided to wash the planking down with greys and browns to darken the floor more and gently suggest dirt and the road. That will happen after everything has set for a while.

The piece of Bristol board painted sky blue will be the facing for the raised platform area.

Come Back

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design on August 12th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Now that “Master Class” is open, it’s back to departmental shows. Our first of the year is Neil Haven’s “Come Back,” so here’s the drafting table as I begin to work out the ground plan. Since the set is mainly comprised of curved walls, I’ve decided to work out the ground plan via a model to get a better handle of the spatial relationships and distances.

And here is the beginning of the wood plank floor: