Tuesday, February 3, 2015

R & J Construction Drawings

Bringing you up to date on Romeo and Juliet for Fun House Theatre and Film...

I finished the construction drawings Friday and hand-carried copies to the TD, the estimable Dave Tenney.  (That TD stands for the Technical Director, in this case, also the Carpenter.)

Before looking at these drawings, it's important to know that they were created for this particular very clever carpenter - with whom I've built many sets.  We know each other well: I know the level of quality I can expect and the kinds of information he needs or doesn't, while he knows my design quirks and preferences.  It's also important that this set is going to be built fast, on a modest budget, mostly from stock pieces and incorporating columns and arches left over from a previous set we did together.  (Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.)  If I were making construction drawings to bid out to many shops or for an unfamiliar carpenter, I'd detail and draw and note much more than I need to here.

(Thank goodness!)

The design is still substantially as it was in the schematic design drawings HERE, with minor changes suggested by the director.  The biggest of these was to shift the SL tower belonging to the Capulets downstage a few feet.

Romeo and Juliet for Fun House Theatre and Film, set design by Clare Floyd DeVries

You can see that moving the Capulet tower DS meant modifying the colonnade upstage of it a little.  As I thought through the drawings I modified many things in small ways, mostly to make them simpler to build or better suited to stock pieces.

Romeo and Juliet for Fun House Theatre and Film, set design by Clare Floyd DeVries

Above are the elevations for the SR tower where the Montagues live.  Because this tower needs to be color-cued blue to match the family's livery, I've designed it in materials (well, faux ones anyway!) that naturally tend toward cool grays... slate, granite... so this is a mostly "stone" tower.

Romeo and Juliet for Fun House Theatre and Film, set design by Clare Floyd DeVries

The Capulet's tower needs to tint towards red so it's built of faux (red) brick and redwood colored shingles and rusty metals.

Notice that certain things like the plaques over the doors are called out as "by designer."  That means that I'll show up with them under my arm, ready to attach.  Sometimes that means you're going shopping or borrowing from another theater, sometimes emptying your garage.  This time I'm loaning a couple terracotta medallions I bought, long ago, from a thrift store for another show (Enchanted April at WaterTower Theater) that have been decorating my kitchen ever since.

Notice that the footprints for both towers are TINY.  That's because the theater space isn't very tall - only about 12 feet, and that's up into the ceiling joists.  So to make these sets look taller in proportion I had to make them look narrower.  Luckily these are all kid actors so they're pretty skinny.

Romeo and Juliet for Fun House Theatre and Film, set design by Clare Floyd DeVries

A section through the Capulet's tower shows how the balcony is supported.

Actually, that's gonna change.

The carpenter thinks he can make the cantilever sturdy enough even for a good-sized climbing Romeo without needing to overlap two platforms as I show them.  (Counter-weight, I was thinking.)  He's simply going to brace the heck out of everything, which will simplify things.  Again, with a different carpenter, I'd redraw the detail, but in this circumstance there's no need.  

BTW carpenters commonly construct sets in other ways than you, the designer, expect - and That's OK.  They're the experts on construction.  They often create shop drawings from your design drawings in order to figure out exact  panel layouts and structure.  Study these - you'll learn a lot.

Also on that sheet are drawings for the fountain and the rolling bed/tomb platform.  


A pretty modest set of drawings compared to what a bid-set would require, but everything (I hope) a good carpenter needs to get this thing built!

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