Archive for January, 2016

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on January 29th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

The flats for “Sweeney Todd” are almost all framed and covered; I think this is the last of them, with Joe there on the side figuring something out:

On the other hand, not everything goes according to plan. As I started to sketch out the detail I discovered this flat had been put together backwards. Back into the shop to pop the facing, reverse it, and recover it.

Onstage, TA Brian works with one of the Intro students to attach the beam that runs along the front of the platforming:

I was back in the Hicklin doing the sketching on the flats. Here’s one just laid out:

And one nearing completion:

Allison was also in the Hicklin, and here she is spattering a panel:

. . . and then starting to brush in the base on the next one:

Because of the size of the show and the short amount of time we have to get it done, our TD Steve has declared a rare Saturday work day tomorrow. I’m, however, going to do some propping and read through the Econ department’s self-study for the Audit and Review Committee. Ah, the joys of academia!

Oh, and did I mentioned that the full draft of the book is due on Monday?

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design on January 28th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Some shots from this afternoon at the start of shop. Here’s the upstage platforming so far, with a rehearsal wagon. The columns and the rest of the staircase are about to be installed:

In the shop itself, a group of students work on framing flats. Oh, and there’s the harmonium there at the garage door. The director and I had just gone to pick it up because he has a van.

Our TD is using the Hicklin theatre as a paint space while flats are being constructed in the shop. Here TA Joe leads some of the Intro to Tech students in applying wheat paste and muslin to the completed flats. Some of the students are trimming muslin from the flats that are already dry.

Sweeney Todd

Posted in Scenic Design on January 28th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

After sending off some chunks of the book to the publisher so the technical editor can start doing what technical editors do, I headed down to the shop to build a prototype razor for ‘Sweeney Todd.’ My friend, master props artisan Nikki Hansen, is building us the blood delivery razors, but Pirelli still needs one, and Sweeney needs some non-bloody delivery ones. Now the actors have safe ones to use in rehearsal.

This afternoon, we’re heading out to pick up the harmonium!

It was nice to find out yesterday (or at least have clarified) that it’s just the complete first draft that’s due on the first. That draft is then sent out to a reviewer for comment. We will get the draft back at the end of Februaryish, and then have March to do final edits before the actual real total deadline of April 1st. My panic level dropped just a smidgen!

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting, Student Work, Uncategorized on January 26th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

I’m taking a break from painting scenery to forge ahead with paint elevations so I will know what to paint on upcoming scenery. Here’s a shot of the stage as it was at the start of shop yesterday, with the under-walls for the upstage platforming in place. That’s director Jim Butchart’s fainting couch center, which we’ll be using for Judge Turpin’s parlor.

In the shop, Quinn works on the framing for one of the roofline flats:

While Lilliana lays out the details of the next one:

Down in the costume shop, work is also continuing apace. Here shop supervisor Tracey Lyons shows Shelby how to thread the serger:

Meanwhile, Bridget works on one of the dresses:

And I return to the drafting table for the rest of the afternoon:

Sweeney Todd

Posted in Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on January 22nd, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Some shop progress pics: Lilliana lays something out while Dennis also lays something out.

Steve sealed the floor this morning in preparation of putting up the upstage platforming.

And a close-up of the floor. Just because.

Sweeney Todd

Posted in Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on January 21st, 2016 by Eric Appleton

First, the new ticket booth is up and running in the atrium, but they discovered that people can look right through the display case at all the information displayed on the ticketing monitors. Until a permanent solution can be applied, our chair, Marshall Anderson (and one of our costume designers), set up a snazzy display with costumes from last Spring’s “The Furies” (which he designed).

Yesterday, our TD and I got to talking about when I was going to get to paint the floor and we decided that yes, it would be a good idea to do this before walls go up. I don’t have classes on Thursdays this semester, so I hit the theatre in the morning. . .

. . . and painted all day.

Tomorrow, it gets sealed, and all those walls leaning upstage can start getting put into place.

Since I was busy painting, I didn’t have a chance to get photos of students working in the shop, but here’s one of Allison painting the cladding for the upright posts.

Sweeney Todd

Posted in Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on January 15th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Yesterday, the shop started cranking out pieces for “Sweeney Todd.” They’re mostly understructure for the tonsorial parlor and it’s much, much easier to paint them before they get installed. I went in yesterday afternoon to get those pieces based:

The problem, of course, is if you’re already painting the scenery it cuts down on time to prepare the paint elevations. At least I got some of the pictorial work figured out beforehand:

Meanwhile, construction continues at a rather furious pace. Here Joe and Bruce work on one of the platforms for the downstage galleries:

And a group of student finish up one of the escape stair units:

While Lilliana and Quinn prime another stair unit:

And I work out the sketching on the flats:

Sweeney Todd

Posted in Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on January 14th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

The KCACTF Festival is over, and we’re back at school, though classes don’t begin until next Tuesday. Time to revise syllabi for the Spring, get plans together, work on the book (the full draft is due Feb 1st), and get rolling on “Sweeney Todd.” Some in progress paint elevations on the drafting table:

Steve, our TD, started the shop up this week in order to get a jump on things and tells me he’ll have a major wall ready for me to start painting today. . . huzzah? Oh, did I mention I need to get some drawings for “Midsummer’s Night” going and there’s a stack of Audit and Review reports I need to read?

KCACTF Region 3 Festival

Posted in Student Work on January 11th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

This past week Tracey Lyons and I (with occasional appearances by Jim Butchart, since he lives in Milwaukee) spent five days at the KCACTF Region 3 Annual Festival, this time hosted by UW-Milwaukee. We took about ten Irene Ryan nominees and their partners, three stage managers, a costume design, and a sound design.

Here is most of the group, shortly after the stage management presentations:

And here are our three stage managers, Brianna, Emily, and Allison:

Here’s the unrealized costume design presented by Katie Krueger:

While none our students moved forward in the competitions, much was learned and they had the chance to present their work to complete strangers, as well as check out the work done by their peers at a number of other institutions. We’re pretty darned proud of the work our students presented and hope they take the things they learned and push on even further in their work during the coming year.

We always encourage (well, force) our students to be as active as possible at the festival. Even if they don’t move forward in their respective competitions, we expect them to attend seminars and get involved with things like Design Storm and the play readings. Our costume designer joined the critical writing program. We had four students cast in the staged readings of new plays.

Joe (in the middle) gets ready for a one-act:

Abby (second from the left) waits while the full-length is introduced. Quite frankly, I though this full length student-written play was the most satisfying piece of theatre I saw this festival.

For some reason, I can never get our students to do the Tech Olympics, even though they’ve all learned how to do it all in Intro to Tech, and most of them continue to do shop work. Sigh. Finally, here’s Tracey hiding behind her coffee as we wait to see the design presentations.

Oh, on a totally different note, I was interviewed by Gionofer Fields for Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect program on scenic design and our upcoming “Sweeney Todd.” The interview can be found here!