Behind the Curtain
Picture by Clare Floyd DeVries
Clare DeVries, a local Dallas set designer, wrote this really cool blog on how to improve your theatre set with multiple examples. The picture to the right is featured in her blog. You can also visit her website at www.devriesdesign.net .
Click the link below on how to improve your set
I was going to wakeup at 3am to watch the royal wedding but I thought that was a bit to early so I woke up at 3:30am. No, actually I decided to wakeup at 6am and watch the leftovers. I thought it was extra special watching it live than watching a rerun of the event. Very exciting! Today I wore my Scottish Knights Templar cross from when I was Knighted in honor of the wedding.
I think I am getting busy enough to warrent a secretary.
I need him or her to help with the folloing:
Finish designing the website for my greeting card line
Plan events with the Designers Circle
Maintain three websites and a blog
Manage my bank accounts and bills
Maintiain events with the Scottish Knights Templar
Help with the advisory board with THE CROWD
Remind me of standing appointments
Help paint on my stage sets I design
Clean (This means anything that needs to be cleaned with soap and or a cleaner)
Go grocery shopping
Schedule fun things once in a while
This position will pay nothing and you do not get any benefits. However your compensation will be food and water. If you are interested please send your resume attached with five refrences. A Masters in business is preferred but will settlle with anyone who responds to this ad.
I now have created my first prototype with my greeting card line! This is a big step going from idea to actual cards sitting on my dinning room table. I handed some out to coworkers of mine and asked them to tell me what they thought. I had great comments from "I like this" to well..."this might be better if you do this". After that little session was over I gave them the small pack of cards they weighed in on as a thank you. Over all.....big thumbs up!
I was at Micheal's craft store yesterday trying to find a extra, little fun thing I could add to my greeting card line. I went through all of the isles searching for something I didn't know what I was looking for but I knew I it would jump off the shelf and say hello when I found it. Surprisingly enough it was a line by Martha Stewart. It's the little images that you can punch out with a little press. This is in the shape of four leaf clovers. These little clovers can be placed in the St. Patrick's Day cards or the Pot-O-Gold Series right inside the envelope. Still searching for other simple, fun things I can jazz up the cards with.
Well it looks like I have to redraw the images for my greeting card line! I drew the pictures to big and when they were resized you can hardly see the detail. Looks like I will be busy tomorrow at the kitchen table with my ink pen drawing up a storm & drawing in the correct scale they will be printed in.
Not to long ago the Dallas Theatre Center produced Arsenic and Old Lace. It employed local actors as well as a couple of Broadway stars. However the star of the show, I would have to say, was the jaw dropping set. What made it imporessive was this show had a very small run on performances. I think it ran a month or two. That did not stop them from shelling out the sheckles on amzing sets and costumes. Click here to take a peek at the show.
The other night I had great time with THE CROWD at Acrodoro & Pomodoro at the martini mixer event they were having. The event was held in a restaurant inside the Crescent complex. The Crescent houses office towers, a world class hotel, I worked at the hotel for 3 1/2 years working on window displays, and upscale shopping. The Crescent has some pretty impressive records on the building itself.
A World Record in Limestone: The Crescent Complex was built with the world's largest assemblage of limestone. The tons of limestone used eclipsed the previous record holder, The Empire State Building, which was built with limestone from the same Bedford, Ind., quarry as The Crescent.
Cast Aluminum Glory: The ornamental cast aluminum that surrounds and gives romance to Rosewood Crescent Hotel's exterior walls and trellises - in shapes of grape leaves, Texas stars and various other ornate patterns - was forged in Utah over more than a year's time and is believed to be one of the largest assemblages of cast aluminum in the world.
The Best of Everything: Rosewood Crescent Hotel was built from slate roofing imported from England, double-insulated glass from Dallas and marble flooring from Italy and Spain.
Two Years in the Making: The Crescent Complex took 24 months to build, employed a staff of thousands and began with a construction hole believed to be one of the largest ever dug -- to accommodate an underground, five-story parking garage for 4,000 cars.
A Modern-Day Water Well: Seven underground water tanks, each holding 400,000 gallons of water, provide The Crescent and Rosewood Crescent Hotel with its water supply. Marked Marble: The marble floors and counter tops made from 10 different types of marble were pre-cut and numbered in Europe by Italian and Spanish quarrymen before being shipped and reassembled in Hotel Crescent Court.
Fabulous Fountains: The courtyard that joins Rosewood Crescent Hotel with The Shops and Galleries of The Crescent is made of European granite and limestone and features fountains built and designed especially for the hotel.
It looks like I am going to design some shows with Garland Civic Theatre and Children on Stage this season.
I have to say I really enjoy designing the kids shows. It allows me to be extra creative. Children on Stage is a branch from Garland Civic Theatre and children ages 8-18 get to perform infront of nightly audiences. Sometimes these kids can be quite amazing. One year COS tackled Les Miserables! To my suprise these kids sang this show like you wouldn't believe. I actually saw it four times during the run.
Garland Civic Theatre has been producing shows for over 40 years and they perform out of the beautiful Granville Arts Center in Garland. They also tackle some big shows that turn out really well. They were the first theatre to obtain the rights for the non professonial production of Cats. One of my favorite shows that I have seen here was The Crucible.
I think that the majority of audiences are engaged with big, over the top, expensive stage musicals. I would be one of those people. The question that remains is "Are those spectacle shows with million dollar budgets just as good with a minimal budget?" One would have to take into consideration the score, singing and overall talent.
One of my favorite shows is The Phantom of the Opera. Last year I received a back stage tour to the US touring production of this show. I have to say as a set designer I was very overwhelmed with the backstage workings. Stage scenery was dangling over are heads like the big elephant that rolles out in act one and over 60 flys with backdrops and staircases attached to them are 70 feet above you. The cost for this spectale in 1992 was 12 million dollars! Carlotta's costumes alone range on an average of $40-$70 thousand dollars per look. The chandelier costs $250 thousand dollars just to rig it per city! This information was given to me by he company manager as I stumbled through the labyrinth size set.
This past year I worked on the first, Texas, college production of The Phantom of the Opera with a minimal budget. Was the show just as good? Yes it was in certain areas. The 40 plus cast sang this show just as good as the US tour. The principal roles were amazing and they could possibly sing this in London or New York, they were that good. The costumes were ample and lush in this production. Costumes had two or three rows of lace and embellishments instead of ten rows of hand dyed, imported from Africa embellishments.
Was this production a spectacle? No it was not. But it did have talent, ambition and precise direction that made it just as entertaining to watch.
So at the end of the day you do not need exessive set peices and million dollars worth of costumes to make a show. You need a strong storyline, music and good actors to take direction.
The pictures that are shown below are comparing the New York and movie version of Phantom with the local college production I consulted with.
This blog is all about the set design process, design in general (mainly set design), and designers I love. Take a look behind the curtain!
Lease pre designed build plans for your next show! Click here for more information.