Monday, September 16, 2013

CET 2013

 Ok... it's time to do some catch up.  This year I worked at Children's Educational Theater.  This is my second year with this organization.  I am responsible for the tech stuff for 6 children's productions, tech supplies and teaching 3 tech classes.  This year I designed Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr to be performed in the Rose Theater at South Salem High School...
 ... Couch Potatoes to be performed at Bush Park for the Salem Arts Festival...
... Into the Woods Jr to be performed at the Salem Library...
I make models for the directors and blue prints for the crew of volunteers that come to help build the sets.  I also designed banners for the Midsummer Plays, 3 small plays that first year students perform and banners for the finale that is held at the historic Elsinore Theater in Salem.  All of these designs are built in 4-5 weeks, then struck and put away for the following year.
This year I wised up and covered the walls with paint plastic and the floors in tarps.  I wanted to save time on clean up.  I also was able to use many stock items so that I could use some of my budget to make the permanent banners and a better storage system for supplies.  The first work day volunteers base coated flats and counters for future set pieces.

 Then we began art... stripes for the Park Play...
 We built over sized boxes to make "books" on castors for Into the Woods...
 I had kids in beginning construction classes build one of the "books".  They were faster than some of the adults.  LOL.  I also had them make an "oven" for the Baker's book.  We started with a wood frame and then the kids used paper mache to make the shape.
 I started kids in the paint class off by learning to use wet paint blending techniques...
 ... then I turned them loose on one of the book covers to create a leather look for a book cover...
 ... On the back side of the books I had the kids use brown craft paper to make "trees".  I also used a stock stair unit to create Cinderella's mother's tree (on one side).  We also used the crumpled paper to create the tree as well...

 The inside of each book had the "beginning" page of each story.  My friend Haley did a great job copying my designs.
 The inside of the books were designed to look like the houses of the places that they were to be used for...
 Cinderella's fireplace turned out to be my favorite.  I have the kids use styro-foam we got out of recycling to create the stone work.  Then we painted it to give it texture...
 ... I also taught the paint class about painting bricks... cartooning (we used that on the art work for the Park Play)...
 ... stenciling (used on the book covers for Into the Woods), feather dusters techniques (used on the floors for Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.) and sponging (used on Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr set pieces)...
 I love that the kids got very good at all of the techniques.
 I tried to go for an "Art Deco" look for Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Some pieces needed a little extra TLC...
 Sadly, a few workers weren't too good at making straight lines... even when I provided them tape, measuring tapes and chalk to draw good lines...

 Thankfully, Hannah was willing to come in one day and "fix" the worst offenders.
 I was able to borrow some jail cells from a local high school.  The kids learned how to brace them properly and even to paint them.
 The kids were able to build a couple counters and to paint them to look like a desk on one side and a kitchen counter on the other side...
 My paint class TA, Kat, was awesome and went about straitening lines that looked a little sloppy.
 Details mean something to me.  these girls used feather dusters to give the floor of rolling platforms a carpet look.
I borrowed a city skyline from the high school I usually work at to make the back drop and only used a small platform unit at the back of the stage.  The rest of the set for Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr was on rolling a wagons that went into place and locked. 
 Every year the first year student shows share the same backdrop and have props for their little shows.  This year the directors wanted the set to be behind the glass doors at the back of the playing space.  I decided to make banners that could be used each year.  No reason to reinvent the wheel every year.  I made this banner from fabric in one day... one LONG day.  I then hung the banners by creating tension rods with large dowels and pipe fittings.  It worked like a charm!  I was so impressed with myself.
 I do need to add a weight pocket to each of the banners since the playing space is outside and the wind likes to take them and blow them around.
 The finished product was great!  Even the couch I built and covered...
 Sadly, I didn't get many pictures of the sets in action... I was a little too busy doing other stuff I guess.








The hardest part of the job is coordinating all the kids that tech the shows.  This year I had 30 kids to find jobs for.  Sadly, only 3 of those kids were in the leadership class.  I also had a little boy cut himself with a box cutter, and a boy need help learning appropriate behavior.  The hardest problem I dealt with was dealing with a student that needed to be reassigned shows.  He and the directors just didn't get along.  Oh... and the hours... I had long days for 5 weeks... At CET by 7:45... in class until 12:40... sometimes shopping for supplies... work nights twice a week from 6:00 until 9:00... and rehearsals for The Secret Garden every night.  It is also hard to find time to prep for classes.  I rarely leave tech hall.  As a result, I don't really get to know the other staff very well... Makes for a long, somewhat lonely summer.  but I will do it again.  I like the guy I work for... Lillian loves the program... and I love to create the work.  It's hard to get it all into 5 weeks but it is satisfying to stand back and look at it when I'm done... even if it's not my best design work.  :)




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