Behind the Curtain
The current show that I am designing, The Red Pashmina, calls for a grand staircase (actually two of them). The draft below if one of those staircases. To help save on the budget and backstage storage the hand rails will slip out of the platform and new ones will take the place of the other ones to create the look of another staircase. Due to the size of the unit it could not store backstage so the entire unit is castered and lives upstage of the cyc (out of view from the audience). The flyman will lift the massive cyc during the set change and the unit will track downstage to take its spot in the matter of seconds. The problem this created was that this staircase could only be 32 inches tall (super short), due to upstage storage, but due to the length of the unit (32 feet long) it will look very grand. I realized working around this issue that short staircases can still look impressive.
The hardest part in creating the design is working around the pros and cons of the stage to fit the design in. Every theatre that I have worked in over the years probably has more cons than pros no matter how big and equipped the stage is. A good idea when creating your design is figuring out the pros and cons right away. In my case backstage space was a big problem even thought the stage is giant. I figured out we could store a big set piece on stage to make it cue in seconds. I also figured out that instead of having another set piece move onstage from the wings that it would need to be flown in on a batton/pipe. I had to resign the piece a second time but it will actually make for a quicker scene change and look more visually engaging all because we didn't have stage right storage.
My blog is all about the design process, design in general (mainly set design),designers I love and architecture. Take a look behind the curtain!