Archive for January, 2015

The Furies

Posted in Scenic Design on January 30th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

This afternoon we had production meetings for both “The Furies” and “The Tender Land,” which meant I was there rather than painting in the shop. Still, they were productive meetings, and particularly for “The Furies,” lots of good stuff was figured out.

The other week I watched an episode of “NOVA” on PBS about the search for the Higgs Boson, and near the end of the program a physicist walked up into this arrangement of metal plates suspended on rods that he proceeded to tap to create vibrations. It was a very interesting look, and one that I passed by our director (Angela Iannone) — luckily, she’d also seen the program and knew exactly what I was talking about.

So, when we’re in Delphi, there will be jagged shards of metal suspended on thin ropes. When we go to Athens, we will pull up strips of white China silk to create “columns.” In short, civilization replacing barbarism.

The other thing to be decided was whether to pursue the semi-circular stage configuration I’d first proposed, or to push things to the side and go with a more angular arrangement. Angela liked the more angular arrangement. In my sketchbook (pictured above) the left side features the old semi-circular look and the right side features the newer more angled version.

The Tender Land

Posted in General Production on January 29th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Yesterday’s happenings around the upcoming UW-Whitewater’s production of “The Tender Land.”

My project for the afternoon was to begin the transfer of the images from the paint elevations to the actual flats, blowing them up from 1/2″ scale to, well, real scale.

Stage left. . .

. . . and stage right.

In the shop, we’ve got TD Steve Chene working with TA Quinn on the shed door. . .

. . . Intro student Lilliana picking up freshly primed porch planks . . .

. . . TA Logan showing Intro student Shelby which staples she should load into the pneumatic stapler. . .

. . . and then Logan and Shelby a bit later, figuring out the facing for the upstage walk way.

That evening, rehearsal featured a stumble-through of the blocked sections of the play, primarily so the lighting designer (who is also Steve, our TD) could get a better sense of flow. I’ll be using his plot later this week for the lighting portion of the Intro to Tech class. Here’s Jim Butchart, the director, doing some directing from the back of the house.

We had just gotten to the start of the second act, and pretty much the entire cast is on stage for the party and dinner scene.

Finally, our stage management team for this production. Alison, Colton, and Emily.

The Tender Land

Posted in General Production on January 27th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Some shop photos as we continue the build on the UW Whitewater’s upcoming production of Copland’s opera “The Tender Land.”

Here we have Kim and Brian lifting a flat frame off saw horses in order to move it down to the next step in the process, which is covering it with muslin. Since the flats are eighteen (or thereabouts) feet tall, we’ve taken stock flats and scabbed them together to get to the requisite height.

And here is that next step — Braden and Teresa stapling muslin onto a frame.

Meanwhile, in the Barnett, Brandon and Josiah lay out the planking of the house’s porch. After they lay it out, they’ll pop it all off so it can be painted in the shop, after which it will be reinstalled.

Down in the costume shop, TA Leanne demonstrates something involving ironing and spray starch to Intro to Tech student Mason. . .

. . . while Jennifer and Bridget join shop supervisor and costume designer Tracey Lyons doing some stitching and some seam ripping..

It’s not all construction and building, though, as Liliana and Brianne work on homework (presumably) in the department green room.

Finally, Sarah Altermatt, who handles publicity and publications for the department, asked to use some of the groundrow imagery for the production poster. Here it is, hanging on director Jim Butchart’s office door. The image withstood enlargement quite nicely.

The Tender Land

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Painting on January 27th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Some of this morning’s “The Tender Land’ tasks. Working up the paint elevations for the stage left portal flats.

And sealing the upstage walkway. I painted this yesterday afternoon, and after Thad’s scenic painting independent study work session this morning, I had enough time to get some acrylic on this so it will be dry in time for the afternoon’s shop hours.

The Tender Land

Posted in General Production on January 23rd, 2015 by Eric Appleton

The scene shop is not the only place activity is ramping up for the upcoming UW-Whitewater production of “The Tender Land.” Here’s Bridget and Josiah working on costumes in the costume shop, under the supervision of costume designer and shop supervisor Tracey Lyons. Looks like they’ve laid out a pattern and are cutting things out.

We also had a production meeting today, and here’s music director Bob Gehrenbeck discussing music issues while student stage manager Alison takes notes.

The Tender Land

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on January 23rd, 2015 by Eric Appleton

There will be a fair amount of pictorial paint work on this show. Our TD has told he will build the portal flats this coming week so I can attack those first. That means working out the paint elevations, of course, so here’s the first half, for stage right. Again, borrowing from great American artists like Grant Wood, Alexandre Hogue, and Thomas Hart Benton.

The Tender Land

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on January 21st, 2015 by Eric Appleton

The drafting for the upcoming UW Whitewater production of Copland’s “The Tender Land” is done, so I’m turning my attention to painting. Here is the ground row, in progress.

I was already pulling a lot from American artists Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, but a colleague from the art department dropped by and told me I should also look up the work of Alexander Hogue. His feminization of landscape is the most overt of these three artists, and boy, am I glad Prof. Wilk made me aware of his work!

The Tender Land

Posted in Drawings, Scenic Design on January 16th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Classes begin next week, and amid syllabi and lesson plans, it’s time to get back to the drafting table and crank out the last few plates for UW-Whitewater production of Copland’s “The Tender Land.”

Here’s yesterday’s progress on the elevation:

And today’s work on the section:

I really need to clean my triangles. . .

Playwrighting Excursion

Posted in Playwrighting on January 13th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

I drove up to Minneapolis yesterday to attend a staged reading of my new play “Ghostbears!” at the Workhouse Theatre. It was chosen for one of their once a month new play readings — their Greenhouse Public Reading Series. Small space in north Minneapolis, but they were all lovely to work with and it being the first time I’ve heard other people reading the play out loud, I gained some good and valuable information on the piece.

Here’s a photo of director Richard Jackson (to the right) giving the actors their seating assignments before things get rolling.


Posted in Student Work on January 11th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

This past week, we went to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region Three’s conference in Milwaukee. Five of our students brought costume projects — and of course we had a group of actors participating in the Irene Ryan auditions. We had one student get to the Irene Ryan semi-finals, and one student make it to the costume design semi-finals. While having students move forward in the competition is always nice, it was particularly exciting for tech and design that four of the costume designers were not only first time presenters at the conference, but presenting what for them was pretty much their first costume designs.

Here are Kiley (behind) and Bridget (right) setting up their boards. Bridget is the one who made it to the semi-finals, with her design for Shakespeare’s “Pericles.”

Kiley brought a design for “Rashomon.”

Stephanie pins up her work for O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night.”

Liliana hangs her design for “Sweeney Todd.”

The one realized design we brought was Claire Kinder’s work on the department production of “Come Back,” earlier this semester. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a photo of her boards. Also to be acknowledged is the work of our costume designer/costume shop supervisor Tracey Lyons, who mentored all of these projects.