Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Report

Nutso busy around here!  (Explaining the lack of posts, sorry.)  

Application Pending is about to open at Circle Theater in Fort Worth.  (Go see the amazing one-woman show... and the bee-youtiful faux painted mahogany paneling.)  Ironbound Techs at Kitchen Dog Theater this weekend (Lots of weeds and roadside trash to dress there tomorrow.) And the musical Sister Act  also loads in this weekend at Mainstage Irving - Las Colinas.

But, recently, years ago feels like, I did once get a chance to read for leasure...

Best two books?  

The novel: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  Really loved it.  It's what you might call a Basic Novel, not any particular genre, no explosions to lead to a sale for a blockbuster movie, just a guy and his life.  I found it funny, moving, true to life, annoying, charming... time well spent.

The non-fiction: Setting the Stage by David Hayes.  A sort of memoir / sort of guide book about set design as a profession, written by a designer on Broadway during the '50s and '60s who, later, taught.  also found this book funny, moving, true to life, annoying, charming... time well spent. 

I recommend both books!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Good Ol' Days in Scenery

Just happened across this blog post praising the detailed sets of golden age Broadway  HERE.  

At the Ethyl Barrymore Theatre the 1942 set for Three Sisters

I think Broadway still does a kinda nice job though.

And - totally unrelated - the same blogger's earlier post on Houston's The Orange Show HERE.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Week in the Life

This week may not be exactly typical, but it's not uncommon either.  A set designer's schedule can go something like this:

Weekend - spend some time preparing for the coming week by finishing one set of construction drawings and starting the next.  Also pulling portfolio photos of work for an up-coming introduction/audition/meeting thingie.

Monday - up at 6:30 a.m.  Breakfast.  Scan and email one (small) set of construction drawings for one show.  (Application Pending at Circle Theater.)  Pull clothes (and even iron!) for the interview.  Have the interview.  Seems to go okay... maybe
I'll get the new show?  
While wondering that, finish construction drawings then make a bunch of copies of those other drawings and design sketches for the other show you know you do have.  (Ironbound at Kitchen Dog Theater.)  Grab something out of the refrigerator at random to gobble while doing email one handed, then rush to the first read of Ironbound.
A fascinating reading!   Great cast.   Also got to meet for the first time in a while several favorite people from other shows. Snacks and chit-chattery very pleasant.  Production meeting afterwards.  (Have to be shushed at one point.  Scenic talk is too engrossing!)  

Sketchbook doodle during the Ironbound first read-thru
My sketchbook is really a Day Book, where I record whatever I'm 
thinking, reading, or researching about, plus meeting notes and
my earliest design sketches... and occasional grocery lists.

Home at 11:00 p.m.  Eat a sandwich in the bath because that refrigerator grab and snack at the Read-Thru weren't quite enough.  Also a drink.  Nothing better than a hot bath and a cold drink.  And a book.

Tuesday - sleep a little late - 7:30.  Create a model for yet another show so that theater's board of directors can approve the design.  (Sister Act at Mainstage Irving - Las Colinas.)  This involves making yet many more copies of yet more design sketches.  I'm getting to know the owner of the local copy place!  Hopefully I'll also find time to scan and send a director copies of an old 1950s version of "The Story of the Little Red Hen."  (Which makes more sense than it sounds like it would.  Really.)  I have a head start on model building in that I had the forethought to get supplies like foamcore board last week.  

Dinner at home with family, woohoo!  Wonder what I'll cook?

Here's an example of early design sketches - these are trying to
figure out how to make a few wagons (3) multi-task as about
87 different locations in Sister Act.  It is SO HANDY to have a 
sketchbook always on hand.  I buy my purses sized to hold one.

Wednesday - will be, in the evening, the production meeting that goes with that model.  Earlier comes the all-important lunch seminar on the American Disabilities Act which I need as continuing education credit to keep my architectural license current.  Lotso note taking!  

(My sketchbook is interesting lately: notes and sketches on several shows; ditto from my jury duty... sad sketches; ditto on an imaginary planet I'm designing just for fun; plus nice serious architectural ADA notes to balance out the frivolities.)

Thursday - a coffee-klatch with a fellow designer to look forward to.  

Friday - By now I need to have answered all the questions generated by my flurry of drawings - which may mean MORE drawings! - and have every show sorta settled for the weekend.  

Will I make it?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

North Texas Giving Day

A chance to support the arts in North Texas... with a little extra ooomph!

Kind people have pledged extra money to multiply your own kindness.  Now, there are lots of worthy groups, but I'd like call to your especial attention to theater in general and Kitchen Dog Theater in particular.

Your help is gratefully appreciated!

Friday, September 8, 2017

I Love Theater People

Harvey sent 4 feet of water through Sara Hames' house, leaving her family to build a barricade by her curb made of wet debris and ruin... 

So her family called their musical theater friends and they put on Les Harveyables:

Even if your barn is flooded you can still put on the show!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Not More Politics!

Sorry, it's the times we live in.

The latest upset?  President Trump ending the DACA program which protected those undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and who have lived their whole lives here.  

These "Dreamers" have clean background checks; they're going to school; they fight in our military; they work hard; they start businesses; they even die trying to help flood victims in Houston.  They are good Americans.  They just don't have a stamp in a passport.

I believe strongly that we should let them stay in their home country - the United States.

Since I'm having printer problems and can't mail my postcards to my legislators yet, please feel free to print n' send this one to your own.  

Please print and mail:  4" x 6" is legal postcard size

Or, if you're not into snail-mail, call your representative and senator.  Demand that they finally pass the Dream Act.

Sometimes we just have to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tech: Lighting Color Fun

Tech Day is mostly for lighting and sound.  

Set is (you hope) nearly finished.  (Or maybe it's not.)  And Tech - or Technical Rehearsal - is a day to push scenic elements around, to roll wagons, and slam doors and generally make sure that the physical elements of the production are working.  Actors are there - their participation vital! - but they're usually bored out of their skulls at the stops and starts and sheer tedium of it all.

Meanwhile, it's wildly exciting verging on panicked for stage management and designers.  Especially for sound and lighting.  (Costume is madly finishing things for the costume parade and Dress rehearsals coming soon.  Basically, you don't want costumes on stage yet: the paint isn't all dry.)

Here's what lighting was up to at yesterday's Tech for Echo Theater's production of Ruined.

I'm loving the colors glowing through the slats of Mama's Bar!

(Thanks to the eagle-eyed company members who spotted their neighbor's old fence out on the curb for the trash!  Great weathered texture.)  The rest of the set?  Well, someday soon I'll actually have all the scenic painting done.  Fingers crossed...