Archive for October, 2021

She Kills Monsters

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29th, 2021 by Eric Appleton

The build on “She Kills Monsters” continues. There’s not much permanent scenery, so the focus remains on all of the puppetry and prop items that need to be constructed. First, a pic of the stage floor, getting closer to completion:

My first attempt at the beholder failed. In my rush, I put fans on the papier mache, which then dried on the outside and prevented the interior from hardening; therefore it remained much softer than hoped. We’ve begun again.

Light hang began this week, with student lighting designer Harry and student M.E. Trevor running the show:

In the shop, the craftiness ramps up. Here’s Alexis cutting out scales for the dragons, of which we will need ever so many. . .

Props assistant Lucas attaches a layer of muslin to the dragon neck harnesses. Eventually, we’ll glue the scales onto this surface (once I finish the heads and figure out how to attached them to the frames.

Props manager Abby and assistant Madelyn work on bugbear clubs, the fireball, and boxing ring signs:

Assistant TD Mary works with Kate on putting casters on the gelatinous cube frame:

One of my day’s projects was to build up the structure of the dragon heads. Here’s the first of five, in progress:

She Kills Monsters and The Orange Room

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20th, 2021 by Eric Appleton

Second week of rehearsals, and second week of build for “She Kills Monsters.” First a photo of student Jadon applying papier mache mush to the beholder:

The modular crates are just about ready for painting:

Our student prop team, Abby and Lucas, at work in the green room, working on build lists and selecting fabric for the gelatinous cube:

Of course, no production would be a production without production meetings. Here is the production team at our production meeting this past Monday:

Finally, one of the nifty things our department has is a department library, also called the Orange Room, because of its orange color scheme. We’ve got a wall of scripts, books of monologues, another wall of design resource books, shelves of criticism. . . Here’s student staffer Nicole doing some straightening and re-alphabetizing in the books about acting section:

She Kills Monsters

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15th, 2021 by Eric Appleton

One week into the build, and things are happening! Here were see some of the students legging up platforms, while behind them another group works on the modular crates:

Some of the almost finished 24″ tall crates:

The beach ball arrived yesterday, so I was able to lay down a first layer of papier mache to start building the beholder:

And I worked out the shoulder armature for one of the dragon heads. After mounting the somewhat fragile prototype dragon head to it, I invited director Sara Griffin down to try it out:

It met with approval.

She Kills Monsters

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14th, 2021 by Eric Appleton

Construction and rehearsals for “She Kills Monsters” began this week. We’re doing the show in arena configuration, which eliminates the need for projections and larger scenic pieces. It does, however, place more emphasis on puppetry.

The SketchUp image below shows the scenic environment we are planning. A note: the dungeon images used for the floor treatment, as well as the images used for the two human figures were pulled from the internet — authors unknown. The floor treatment will eventually include original dungeon maps and incorporate high school floor plans drawn as dungeon maps.

There will be an assortment of modular crates that can be mixed and match to build counters, tables, desks, chairs, thrones, stones, etc. The small ramp will be portable, with wheels on one end to allow it to shift easily to where ever the action requires it be.

One of the puppet elements we’ll be constructing will be the five headed dragon, Tiamat. Here’s student Sam holding a prototype head over his head to provide a sense of scale. The head will be mounted on a shoulder riding armature.

A Place with the Pigs

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11th, 2021 by Eric Appleton

We opened Athol Fugard’s “A Place with the Pigs” (directed by Bruce Cohen) this past Tuesday, and closed it this past Saturday. The run went smoothly, and congrats to everyone on the production team!

First a few pics from technical rehearsals. This is my office computer as I work on the projection images and the log. Our two student projection programmers, Trevor and Natalie, worked valiantly on getting everything into the system right up to opening.

Here’s Natalie at her station behind the cyclorama stage right:

And Trevor at his station stage left:

This is the set under work lights; the three projection screens, with one of the three guard towers housing the projectors visible upstage right:

This next image is from the first night of tech. We decided afterward to turn all of the projectors on their sides to maximize the image size, which meant that I had to re-edit and re-orient all of the images. We were working with the projectors that were available from the university AV department, so the we were a bit constrained with what size of image they would project. Unfortunately, with only about three and a half weeks to put the whole show together the tech that was available on campus was the tech we had to go with. Since the selection of the play came late in the summer due to COVID and casting considerations, there wasn’t must prep time — still, for the amount of time we had, we came pretty darned far!

Here’s student stage manager Abigail during tech. We’re somewhere in the “A Midnight Walk” scene.

This photo is from the last night of tech, during the “Orders from the Commissar” scene.

And finally, student Sam Hess (also the co-lighting designer) took photos for our publicity department at final dress. Here’s one of his shots, also from the “Orders from the Commissar” scene:

This week, we start putting “She Kills Monsters” together in the shop, with rehearsals starting tomorrow night.