Archive for February, 2016

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Posted in Scenic Design on February 29th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

We had a production meeting today, and I got to present my partial model to Lenny (our director) via Skype. He liked what he saw.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream

Posted in Scenic Design on February 26th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Now that “Sweeney Todd” is open, it’s time to turn to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Our director, Lenny, works with Titan Theatre out of New York, and sent along his thoughts. We’re doing it in the round, and he would like a sort of skatepark/wedding cake of platforms with a fringe of tree branches (there’s more of course, but. . . ). Here’s the groundplan in the drafting table:

And then a pause for platform building as I consider the sizes and placement of the platform tiers:

On my way into the building this morning, I stopped and stuffed a bag full of twigs so I could start putting together mini-branch fringey things:


And a shot suggesting how it might all look eventually. . .

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Posted in Scenic Design on February 24th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

“Sweeney Todd” is open and running, and it’s time to get back to other work, like revising the book for the April 1 deadline and getting “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” moving along.

Did I mention that we’re also in the middle of reading all the departmental self-studies generated for the Audit and Review Committee?

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Production Photo, Scenic Design on February 23rd, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Last night was final dress rehearsal for “Sweeney Todd,” and right now, the students are performing a matinee for high school students. Here are some pics from last night.

The opening number:

Sweeney and Anthony arrive in London:

Toby hawks elixir on the step of Pirelli’s wagon:

Mrs. Lovett brings up her husband’s chair:

Testing the trapdoor and chute to bakehouse:

Anthony’s rescue of Johanna from the madhouse:

Closing number:

Our TD said this show probably pushed us right to the very limits of our technical capacity. . .

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting, Student Work on February 22nd, 2016 by Eric Appleton

This past weekend we had tech! Sunday was first Dress, and tonight, Monday night, is final Dress. Here are some photos from Friday afternoon through the weekend.

The pie shop second act counter, with cask:

Students installing the pie shop shelves:

Some of the posters that will appear all over the stage:

TA Joe leading students in raising Pirelli’s wagon after attaching the flat to the platforming:

Getting reading to practice the trap door business:


ASMs under the platforming, waiting to catch actors as they come down the slide (engineered by TD Steve Chene). Safe as possible, and works like a charm!

Stage manager Allison, calling the show during one of the runs this weekend:

And a shot of the stage as Toby begins to play barker:

My personal moment of triumph was discovering that I could use sea sponges instead of springs to allow the harmonium pedals to be pumped after I detached them from the bellows! Yay, low tech!

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on February 18th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

First tech for “Sweeney Todd” is tonight, and things are getting close to being ready. If you’d asked me three weeks ago if I thought we’d be this far along at this point, I would have laughed in despair. I think I did laugh in despair. BUT, we all worked hard and together and here we are!

I don’t teach classes today, so this morning was spent in the shop (as will the afternoon). Here is a bunch of trim, painted yesterday and now awaiting installation during shop hours. To the right are the backs of the pie shop and bakehouse wagons.

For this show, I recruited a three person props team — Kelsey, Shauna, and Maddie. They’ve also been hard at work, and here are a varity of things laid out so paint could dry over night.

Here’re the fronts of the bakehouse and pie shop wagons, with the Pirelli corpse trunk (project for the afternoon) and the unpainted act two pie shop counter in the background (also project for the afternoon).

Sweeney’s sign:

Pirelli’s chart:

Building a third blood razor (the first two were built by my friend Nikki Hansen):

Our TD, Steve, is also lighting the show, so after he finished his morning cuing session, I wandered in and took a picture of the set as it is at the moment. The railings for the galleries are painted, and now need to be assembled and installed. There are also railings and decor for the stairway up to the tonsorial parlor.

I haven’t tried it out myself yet, but the slide from the chair is reported to work like a charm (Steve’s engineering).

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting, Student Work on February 14th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Friday. We’re now less than a week from first tech. Our TD, Steve, will have another rare Saturday shop session to keep moving forward. There’s still a lot to be done, but on the other hand, I confess that I was quite feaful we would not be as far as we are after only about three weeks of build (remember, except for the two Saturday sessions, the shops are only open from 1-5 Monday through Friday).

Here’s a pic of the stage Friday afternoon. Hang is still commencing, though later in the day, Steve started focussing.

In the Hicklin, Allison got more pieces based and I lined them. Here are the walls for the pieshop wagon and the parlor wagon, nearing completion.

One of my day’s side projects was to work on the trunk in which Pirelli’a body is stashed. We have a large Pirelli, which meant building a larger trunk. It was built a few days ago and they’ve been using it in rehearsal. Here it is, at the midway point of decoration. There’s a little fabric covered slot for his hand to poke out at the near corner.

On Thursday, I built a spigot for the pie shop’s ale cask. I’m rather happy with it.

Finally, here’s Shauna, a member of the Intro to Tech class and part of the prop team. She’s painting the birds cages she designed and built for the bird seller.

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on February 9th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Finshed one flat this morning before shop started, and then moved into the Hicklin to work on another. Once I’ve got this one done, I’m caught up as far as lining goes — as soon as Allison has more based for me, away I will go.

Since the big flats are largely all done now, our TD, Steve, has students installing them while the light hang also commences.

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on February 5th, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Forging ahead on “Sweeney Todd.” At the start of yesterday, here’s the selection of covered and primed flats awaiting further painting:

So my first task of the day was to finish what I’d started the day before, only., doing it in the scene shop since class was happening in the Hicklin:

During actual shop hours, lots of work for everyone. Here are two students pasting down muslin on the edges of the wagon walls. I haven’t seen these two before, so I suspect they’re cast members from the music department doing their production hours:

Here are two more suspected cast members measuring out framing pieces for flats:

Here they are, working with Alex, on the flat itself:

Braden (TA) and Brent (Intro student) work on framing another flat, while Lilliana (TA) is off to the side helping to feed lumber through the table saw:

And a better shot of Alex and Lilliana working together to rip down some lumber:

Back in the Hicklin, Allison does a little pasting down of muslin before priming a wagon flat:

While I drive another flat forward to painted completion:

And as flats get finished, up they go on the stage:

I think that blur is another Allison, on of the Intro students. . .

Sweeney Todd

Posted in General Production, Scenic Design, Scenic Painting on February 2nd, 2016 by Eric Appleton

Over the weekend, the larger flats got covered and primed, so Monday afternoon Allison continued with basing and spattering them while I worked on the sketching:

I had to run off to a meeting, so this is as far as I got on this flat:

Today I will add the crosshatched shading and move on to the next flat. Other things that jumped ahead over the weekend were some of the backing walls for the wagon units:

Here TA Lilliana works with Alex and another Intro student (whose name I have forgotten) on laying out the facing for the bakehouse wagon unit wall:

I decided that the benches from “Radium Girls” were stylistically similar to where we were going for this show, so they’re doing double duty. However, for the pie shop scene that opens Act Two we need more benches, so here’s Intro student Dan working on duplicates:

Finally, here’s TA Quinn working on the wagon platforms: