Archive for June, 2014

Muskie Love

Posted in Drawings, General Production, Scenic Design on June 30th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

The floor treatment for Roy’s bait shop and the dock.

One of the gimmicks of the show is fishing in a boat the actors push around with their feet.

Paint treatment for Roy’s sign and the boat.

And down in the theatre, the floor is primed for the floor treatment. . .

As stage manager/propsmistress/painter Alison watches TD Steve Chene mix color for the floor. That’s Cat hiding behind the door, there.

Muskie Love

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on June 27th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

With “Deathtrap” closing this weekend, production work continues apace on “Muskie Love.”

Here, leaning against the wall in the Hicklin are the two platformed areas — to the left is the dock and to the right is Roy’s Bait Shop.

On lovely, sunny days, we open the shop doors and do a little work on the loading dock. This is stage manager Alison, who is also doing a fair amount of painting and prop work on the show. She, Anastasia, and Cat are all base painting Roy’s sign.

On the drafting table, the last plate for “Muskie Love” is done — the boat, the counter, and some crates.

Which means I can move onto further paint elevations. Here, things dry for the dock and shop, with a little help from Jerome Robbins.

Deathtrap and Muskie Love

Posted in Drawings, General Production on June 23rd, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Here’re Alison and Joe working on the partner desk for “Deathtrap.” I pretty much gave Steve a photo and said go for it. Alison, after sprucing up the rest of the furniture in the show, went ahead and figured out the paint treatment for this piece. Way to go, Alison!

Meanwhile, I worked up the floor treatment for “Muskie Love.” Next on the agenda; the boat.

Muskie Love

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

Meanewhile, beginning on drafting for “Muskie Love.”


Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on June 18th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

While I was off driving back and forth to Milwaukee for “The Winter’s Tale,” Steve (our TD) and the students made headway on “Deathtrap.”

It’s in the round but on the stage of our proscenium space, as the black box is seeing refurbishment this summer. It will also feature the new risers we got last year.

Since there’s a fair amount of staircase action, here’s the staircase, built into one of the voms.

And here are students Joe and Alison (who is stage managing “Muskie Love,” the next show) working on the french doors in the another vom.

The Winter’s Tale

Posted in Lighting Design, Production Photo on June 13th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Preview night for The Optimist Theatre’s production of “The Winter’s Tale:”

Part of the Milwaukee skyline at sunset as we begin.

The end of the introductory dance, with Hermione and Leontes downstage center.

Leontes begins to explain his suspicions to Antigonus.

Paulina begs Leontes to accept the baby as his daughter.

After distaster, Leontes begins to accept the magnitude of his delusion.

Antigonus about to leave the baby on the shores of Bohemia.

Perdita and Florizel get ready for the sheep shearing.

Dion, Paulina, and Leontes, reflecting over the events of the past fifteen years.

In Paulina’s hall, marveling at the statue of Hermione.

Tomorrow, opening night, will be Friday the 13th. With a full moon.

It was also nice to note that a UW-Whitewater graduate, Lexie Higgins, was working as assistant stage manager on this production.

The Winter’s Tale

Posted in Lighting Design, Production Photo on June 10th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Some pictures from last night’s dress rehearsal. Once again, the temperature got down to an unseasonable 56 degrees. . .

. . . so as the night went on, all of us at the tech table donned hoodies and blankets. Here’s stage manager Claire and board operator Ashley against the skyline of Milwaukee at dusk.

In Sicilia, at the court of Leontes. Hermione convinces Polixenes to extend his visit. Our director, ML, was very pleased to discover that even though the show begins in daylight, lighting still brought a degree of dimensionality and interest to the stage. The stage floor will be painted tomorrow.

The trial of Hermione.

The top of the second act, as Time tells us we’ve jumped fifteen years forward.

The return to Sicilia, as Leontes and Paulina take about the dear deeparted Hermione.

Muskie Love

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

Spending some time today finishing the rendering of “Muskie Love” before heading into Milwaukee for “The Winter’s Tale” tech.

The Winter’s Tale

Posted in Lighting Design on June 9th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Second day of tech, and this is the hand of our light board op, Ashley, as she practices running the board for the show. It’s an ETC Smartfade, for which I have developed a deep and abiding hatred. Since we have 24 dimmers, we can’t run it as a straightforward 2 scene preset, which would have made life much, much easier, and actually recording a cue means creating and playing back pages and stacks, which means once something is recorded (and the manual is by no means clear on how to do this) it becomes very complicated to make any adjustments. There is a way to use it as a one scene ‘preset,’ setting up a cue with all 24 faders, hitting “Next”, setting up the next cue, and then fading into it with the crossfaders. However, there are times it mysteriously hangs onto levels, and if you try to do a manual fade within an established look, the board gets confused and things track forward and there’s no easy way to get back to where you want to be without screwing with the live look on stage as you try to back out of it. I hate this board. Hate it, hate it, hate it, and would prefer it if ETC went back to making the old MicroVision. That board would have been dandy for this space, equipment, and show.

Here’s production manager Bo Johnson working on getting the sound equipment set up.

We are performing on a hillside overlooking the river on the near north side of Milwaukee. Here’s the view slightly east, looking toward the Lake. As it gets darker, the lights come on, and it is quite lovely — though it has been rather cold these past few nights, and everyone at the tech table (myself included) have been bundling up under blankets to run the show.

The Winter’s Tale

Posted in Lighting Design on June 7th, 2014 by Eric Appleton

Yesterday was our first rehearsal on the stage for the Optimists’ “The Winter’s Tale,” their offering for Milwaukee’s free Shakespeare in the Park.

Here’s the space, with the set loaded in. We finished up focus, or rather what passed for focus in full daylight. Later on, after sunset, many discoveries were made and either exploited or corrected.

We’ve got four 6 dimmer Leprecon packs, with 1.2 k dimmers. Most of the ERS’s we borrowed are 750 watt. Which means careful balancing of loads as we cue. I had originally planned to use the front of house units to break the stage up side, center, and side, but since I couldn’t play them at more than 40% without popping breakers, I realized that since one unit comfortably covered the whole stage, I could turn them into tonality units — each got its own color. I might not be able to pull focus, but at least I have a wider variety of atmospheres.

With the sprinkler running all day to water the newly laid sod, it got rather muddy. Here’s artistic director, scenic designer, and actor Ron laying a spare platform over the mud pit in the stage right vom, as director ML looks on.

Here some of the actors work with the fabric they will use to create the storm.

And when it’s a young company mounting only their second outdoor show, it pays to come prepared. I hadn’t heard anyone talk about a tech table, so I brought my own.