Archive for March, 2015

The Furies

Posted in General Production, Scenic Painting on March 31st, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Now that we’re back from Spring Break, work continues on the upcoming UW-Whitewater production of the “The Furies.” Before we left for break, Steve (our TD) and the students got the deck in and primed. . .

. . . which meant that it was ready for me to paint. Here it is, part way done:

And here it is, done:

Well, done that is, until I add the mortar lines of the individual stones and all. That’s going to wait until after the central pile and all the facing is in place. So, while I wait for that to happen, I can do things like work on the naval stone. The students have glued together sheets of styrofoam, and here it is, waiting for me to start hacking away at it (in a well ventilated shop. . . ):

While I’m painting away, TA Thad works with Jake and Jennifer on platform understructure:

And props manager Allison works on a prototype Apollo head sheild thing. . .

Arrangement for Murder, No. 2

Posted in Playwrighting on March 31st, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Last night we had a small, somewhat cold reading of a murder thriller I’m working on for one of our Summeround slots. The summer audiences tend to like either light musical entertainment or murder mysteries, and we’re always limited by the number of available performers (students that stick around town over summer) as well as the fact that we stage the summer shows in our black box theatre, usually in the round, which means that shows that need to be technically tricky are often beyond our summer resources. Since I knew the parameters of our summer productions, I figured I’d go ahead and see if I couldn’t come up with a serviceable thriller.

Here’s Jim Butchart speaking with our four volunteer actors before the reading last night.

It went well.


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.