Behind the Curtain
My Seussical set will breath new life again in, I think, California. Some of the design will be motified to fit the playing space. This design was created about six years ago and now will come alive this year!
My set design for Lysistrata is complete. Now it's time to cut black foam board and create the theatre to place the model in. This set has a super fun surprise. You will have to see it live to know what I am talking about.
Trying to figure out the scale of my current show. Normally I design the plans first and tip toe into the model. I realize making this mockup I need to change some sizes here and there. The golden ring pictured below is 16 feet in diameter and it probably needs to be 14 feet after seeing it finished in mini. Tomorrow will be a full day of model making and figuring things out.
Tomorrow begins me drafting plans for Lysistrata. This set has a couple of really awesome design elements, like a roller coaster track! This is my first time to design here and I am really loving the space. I climbed around from the debts of under stage (really cool stage lifts) to hanging off the catwalk above the apron (up in the air at least 30-35 feet) and took some photos. This design will also have some really cool projections.
Here is my rendering for Lysistrata for Mountain View College. For this rendering I used pencil, permanent ink drawing pens and watercolors. My favorite set piece that I am going to design will be the vanishing roller coaster track, I think it will have chaser lights on it! It will also have a couple of set surprises (hint: it involves the gold ring with the red drape).
Had a production meeting for my spring show, Lysistrata today. Everyone seemed to like the design. The show will have one set but will be complicated with projections, fly rail (lowering stage scenery down to the stage) & a really cool lifts in the floor (crawled under the stage and had a look, cool). Will post my rendering of the show another day, so stay tuned.
I received an unconventional award which was Most Impressive Use of Limited Space for Monty Python's Spamalot. I read that twice and was like.....yeessss. The first time I entered this venue to get a feel for the space and saw the tiny stage (with no stage right exit) I was like how is this going to work? Can't exit stage right, stage is twenty some odd feet long with miniscule wing space, no fly rail and we have a ga-gillion scene changes. So to get this little award is super duper awesome! Below you can see how tiny the stage was.
What a great year for the show, Daffodil Girls. This show has gotten the most press on any prouction I have ever worked on. It made most publications lists in town from direction, best show, costumes, acting and in this case Best Set Design! During the run I watched 80% of the shows and loved it every time.
Considering this as my morning workout routine.
Like the We-have-a-barn-with-a fully-working-stage (complete with fly rail) and-nobody-is-using-it gag.
I put together a montage of pictures of the shows I worked on in 2013. This is official notice that Joseph retains all copyright to his designs and drawings. Ask permission before reproducing them.
Monty Python's Spamalot
Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love
Fun House Theatre & Film
I normally design in rather small theatre venues. At one theatre the stage was less than eight feet tall and about twenty feet wide! You can easily fill those small stages with scenery and make it look lush, it also looks complete when full. This year I will be designing in large theatres across Dallas. The challange will be to fill those large prosenium spaces with scnery and stay within a modest budget.
Sometimes when designing a production I will stylize the set, make it look engaging (storybook sets are a load of fun to design). This past year I worked on a production of Hamlet with limited access to builders and money, I decided to lean toward a stylized set. Stylized sets might be a sign of being creative on a budget or set changes are ample and need quick turnaround times. In this case both. I designed a sleek, modern set that would showcase famous works of art that depicted famous scenes from the show, sounds ambitious. With domain free images and a projector, already in house, we didn't have to spend money for cool effects that the audience enjoyed seeing. Creating fuss free scenery means your carpnter does not have that much tricky stuff to try build and no cost for expensive trim. Caution. Your carpenter will need to make sure seems are tightly sealed for perfection.
The set above had two rakes (angle platforms on casters, it moved during the show!) With simple lighting effects, projections and streamlined scenery we managed to fill the stage! It also didn't look like we were on tight budget, it simply was accepted by the audience and to great reviews, such as "...is one of the most effective, fully integrated set concepts I’ve witnessed in the region. Alexandra Bonifield Critical Rant. All because I was being budget conscious...it worked, mission completed. You really do not need to have large bank accounts to have great scenery.
4 Easy Stage Design Tips That Won't Break the Bank!
1. Be creative.
2. Make detailed decisions. (It's better to have one period chair on stage and nothing else than to have an army of bad furniture that's all mixy matchy)
3. Know your budget. (Pulled a painting out of a dumpster once to save on budget!)
4. Have fun designing your show! (No money required)
Another show that had a tight budget was The Mikado, pictured below. I only had $700 for supplies, including paint! I did however use a few stock flats, free and already pre built. A youth production was most ambitious for this company, this was a full operetta sung by kids (think middle and high school kiddos), I decided to go story book to engage a younger audience. Most everything was two dimensional (luan is cheap) expect the bridge (already in stock and again free, just a paint job that took nine coats total). I simply used the 4 Easy Stage Design Tips from above and went to town with my design. Again the audience just accepted this design and budget constraints were never thought about.
Click here to see more pictures from the Mikado.