Archive for October, 2015

Puppets and Radium Girls

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Student Work on October 30th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

This morning, Dan Katula, a Milwaukee-based actor and puppet maker led a workshop on puppet construction. Part two will be next week.

Here he is showing the students some of his work. First, a superhero rod puppet:

A sock-based puppet:

The rod controlled bird he built for a production of “The Secret Garden:”

An in-progress spitting snail he’s building for a friend’s film project:

A bit later, I popped back in to see how things were progressing, and found even fellow faculty member Jim Butchart building something:

Sam Burkardt seems very happy with her puppet:

On the “Radium Girls” front, the platforming has been legged up, and TD Steve Chene will now turn the shop’s attention to benches and tables as I start researching “Sweeney Todd.”

Oh, and did I mention that costume shop supervisor and my team teacher for Intro to Design Tracey Lyons and I are writing a book? The first quarter of it is due Monday.

Radium Girls

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

Now that “Three Excellent Cows” is out on the road, “Radium Girls” has moved into the Barnett. Tech Director Steve and the crew have already started laying out platforms so the actors can get used to them:

There will be levels to them, and here are all the knee walls, built and waiting in the shop:

I did mention that the set has to go away for the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival this coming month, right?

Three Excellent Cows

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on October 27th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

We opened “Three Excellent Cows” this past Friday. On Saturday, there was a single on-campus performance, and for the next two weeks, it will travel around the area performing at various grammar schools, which of course means that the whole thing has to fit into a panel van, fit through normal sized doorways, and be easily reconfigured for gyms, stages, and libraries, some of which will be total surprises, since grammar schools tend not to send out spec sheets on their performance spaces.

Here are some photos from the final dress rehearsal. Costume design is by student Stephanie Ruch, lighting design by student Quinn Bauer. Stage managed by student Emily Ottinger, sound design by student Mason Ronan, props a combination of myself and student Allison Lozar (who is stage managing Radium girls right now).

The set under work light:

The narrator:

Daisy on the soap box, making an ill-fated run for president:

The cows receive a mysterious crate from Yogurt Systems of America:

Mrs. Crumpley convinces Farmer Cynthia to read the narration during her speech:

Three Excellent Cows

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on October 23rd, 2015 by Eric Appleton

Final dress tonight, but here are some pics from last night’s next to last final dress. First, Intro student Dan, who is the board operator for the show (at least, the on-campus performances of the show).

Student Stage Manager Emily, waiting for things to begin. . .

Oh, and the costumes were designed by student Stephanie Ruch. The cows and the narrator:

And everyone watching Rupert jump off the roof of the barn.

Please ignore the fact that the set looks like “The Tender Land, Jr.”

Three Excellent Cows and Radium Girls

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on October 22nd, 2015 by Eric Appleton

We’re in tech for “Three Excellent Cows,” and strangely enough, much of the platforming for “Radium Girls” has already been constructed, at least, all the appropriate sized platforms have been built with coffin locks and are ready to go. That set has to be portable for two reasons — first, we’re hosting the Wisconsin High School Festival next month, and the set has to vanish from the stage for three days, and second, it’s our submission to this year’s KCACTF conference, and even if we won’t know if it’s chosen to go until the beginning of December, we have to build it with the hopeful assumption that yes, it will have to tour.

Here’s “Three Excellent Cows” stage manager Emily posing with the goldfish. She’s the one who suggested soap casting, And dang if it didn’t work great.

While I was working on the fish in the costume shop, I snapped a pic of student costume designer Stephanie Ruch and Intro student Alex working on costume details for tonight’s dress rehearsal.

Upstairs, some of the Intro students work on portable masking flats to go with “Cows” as it tours. That’s the wheatfield groundrow in front of them.

Here are the flats from one side of the stage. I was attempting to channel “Click, Clack, Moo” on this show.

In the shop, small angled platforms are being built to connect access platforming to the main playing space.

Three Excellent Cows

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting, Student Work on October 14th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

More progress on “Three Excellent Cows!”

I finished the barn floor tiles today:

While much priming occurred elsewhere. Here’s Intro student Julia working on the rail fence:

And then joining Austin to prime the picket fence :

Here’s Intro student Alex cutting boards for the crate in which the frozen yogurt machine is delivered (I’ve forgotten the name of the student working with him. Darn all these new names and faces to remember every year!):

In the Barnett, student lighting designer Quinn focuses his area light:

Tech director Steve Chene works on the the vegetable stand, which is covered with parts of “I Hate Hamlet:”

While TA Bruce completes the election speech lectern for Mrs. Crumpley:

Three Excellent Cows

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Student Work on October 9th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

“I Hate Hamlet” is up and running, and “Three Excellent Cows” has been in rehearsal for a little while. Since the scenery is rather slight (it’s our touring children’s show and must fit into a van), it’s more important to get rolling on the plethora of props I wrote into the show. Darn that playwright.

Here’s the hat El Superdog Grande makes for Daisy to wear when she runs for president:

And the start of one of the wings for Rupert’s attempt at space flight:

In the costume shop spray booth, Intro to Theatre students Alex and Anthony glue newspaper onto Felix’s yogurt stand hat, complete with giant spoon.

Costumes for the show are being designed by student Stephanie Ruch, and work on those continues in the costume shop. Here’s Emily (who is also stage manager for the show) and an Intro student working on a piece:

Bergen cuts out a pattern for Felix’s vest:

And Bridget works on what looks like Miss Bigglesby’s dress:

I Hate Hamlet, Three Excellent Cows, Radium Girls

Posted in General Production, Production Photo, Scenic Design on October 7th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

It was down to the wire, but “I Hate Hamlet” opened last night. The muslin for the sky arrived yesterday morning, the final trim went up in the afternoon, but it’s done. I think all of us agree that we were prefer not to cut it so close ever again.

Here is a photo from fight call (featuring Dennis and Nick) before the final dress, with the set arranged for act one:

Here is the stage set up for the second act:

During yesterday’s work call, one of the tasks was paint touch-up. Here’s ASM and TA Lilliana seeking out unpainted ends and bits:

I finally finished the globe that is also a bar:

And then headed to the office to draft a plate for “Three Excellent Cows,” which will start getting built this afternoon.

As well as work through some ideas for “Radium Girls,” since we have another production meeting this afternoon.

I Hate Hamlet and Intro to Design

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Student Work on October 4th, 2015 by Eric Appleton

We headed into tech this week, and here’s a photo from last night’s first dress rehearsal. As you can see, there’s still a lot to be done on the set, but at least it’s mostly detail. This is what happens when you lose a lot of experienced TAs to graduation, the TD is also the lighting designer and you, him, and the director all forget a cardinal rule: Don’t do a realistic interior for the first show of the season. This is because the first show has two weeks less build time than the shows later in the semester. Still, everything the actors need is on stage, and when we finish up Tuesday afternoon, I will be fairly happy with it.

During rehearsal I wandered in and out the shop, painting doors so they could get installed before the next rehearsal. This is the door to Barrymore’s rooftop hideaway:

Classes, of course, continue, and in Intro to Design (team taught with costume shop supervisor Tracey Lyons, who is inc charge of the costume third of the course), we had presentations on designers this week:

And in-class work sessions so students can get feedback on their upcoming final costume design project:

And next week, we move right onto getting “Three Excellent Cows” built. I’ve also got to start getting “Radium Girls” going, and we will also have our first production meeting for “Sweeney Todd.”

Good heavens, that’s a lot.