Working outside in the Lizzy can be an exposure to the most extreme elements, but we have been so lucky to have beautiful weather while we fit and touch up the outdoor shows.
First, a little update on what's been going on lately:
Here is the finished inner above now that we have tied together the ceiling and painted the floor in place to match.
Here is the view of the house while standing in the inner above.
Our second long week has been SUPER productive. While Thayne, Amanda and I have been leafing like crazy, our new paint shop assistant, Leah Ramilliano and Erin have been working on the floor for the outdoor shows. Here you see Erin making sure all of the cracks in between the boards get painted using a syringe. They used jaxsan to create woodgrain texture, even sculpting knotholes.
The sets also call for some realistic large bouldars. These were carved from foam and coated with fiberglass to make them near indestructible since they need to withstand the weather and use outdoors for all three shows and for several months.
Here Amanda coats the rocks next with Jaxsan (our miracle material) to begin giving them a rock-like texture.
Leah puts a finishing touch of a gloss spatter on one of the boulders.
Below a finished painted rock sits on the set. Right, a real rock I found in some landscaping.
Not bad, right?
This wee I had the chance to work on two gravestones for Cymbalene's Mother and Father. Made up of a wooden base and a carved foam top, these gravestones need to be durable enough to sit and stand on, just like real stone.
Here I am using jaxsan again to give the headstone a stone-like texture.
Next, the stones were given a quick paint job using a scumble with sponges and a series of spatters. For a final touch, I spattered with first flat and then gloss sealers to give the stone a little glisten like granite.
Next, I added some shadows and contours and a super white drybrush to bring out the highlights in the texture.
Now we have new gravestones. Cymbalene's parents have been dead for 20 years, so we need to make these graves look like they have been exposed to the elements for 20 years.
Erin and Leah have created several gallons of "moss" by coloring powdered sawdust with green paint. Using glue, I clumped the sawdust on in places where water would gather and moss would grow.
Now to begin the aging process. First a drippy raw umber glaze.
Next I'll add a super dark as well as a super light lime green to bring out the moss.
Here are the finished gravestones! Ready to mark some graves!
Check this out: I was featured in a few "snapshots" on the osf website!
The sun is shining, temperatures rising- time for the summer season to get started!
This year, the three outdoor shows will be sharing a common Scenic Designer, Michael Giannio, as well as a common main setting with changing secondary elements. The main set is supposed to give the flavor of a stylized forest. When the doors to the inner above and inner below slide away, however, a realistic forest is revealed. In order to achieve this effect, we are painting pieces of the actual Elizabethan stage as well as pieces special built by our shop to look like pieces of the Lizzy.
The first step to making this foliage is to start creating layers beginning with our darkest colors and working up to our brightest.
Here, you can see the brown leaves we painted to get the layers started.
Next, Amanda assesses the renderings and finds the trunks and branches.
Next we start to make shapes by adding areas of green leaves around the branches.
Below, Thayne adds highlights and shadows to the leaves.
That was the easy part. Now it's time to fill out those branches!
The light coming through the branches is added at this time to retain it's brightness. Clumps of brown dead leaves are added as well as bright bright yellow greens fading into the white of the sky. Any branches closer to the viewer are added or punched up. We also use this stage to differentiate one group of leaves form another.
This is where we really make the flats look like the renderings.
Sometimes there's even something a little unexpected.
Here's our forest!
Streetcar is really coming together in our shop. We've seen the wallpaper go up, the plumming and waterworks being put in, grand spiral staircases, and even a real claw-foot tub. Last but certainly not least, the biggest scenic element to this show has been completed and is being installed. The detailed window was quite a process, but with Thayne and Amanda on the job, it was cake.
In a previous episode, we showed you how we projected the design onto the paper covering the plexi and then cut them out as in the picture at left.
The picture at right shows the painted plexi as the frisket is removed by lead scenic artist, Thayne Abraham.
Now, the carpenters work to frame and gasket the window as well as rig the water effects.
Here, our scenic technology intern, Alex displays the bottom section of the window, completed and framed and put on a cart to go to the theater!
Last week, we opened our new musical, The Unfortunates. So , we needed to put the final touches on a few of the props. Namely the hands. The Unfortunates employs two sets of hands for Big Joe. Our awesome props artisan Annette Julian sculpted and cast giant realistic fists out of silicone. In addition, a set of fists that open into hands needed to be made. A tall order, even for us. But luckily, Annette, our local genious, came up with a fantastic solution: a mechanical robot armature that allows each finger to flex and release with the pull of a handle inside. Unfortunately, the flexible armature of the fingers could not be covered with the same silicone material that the palms and fists were due to their need to stretch and retract. Annette used a stretchy foam witch worked great but didn't match the texture of the silicone. The task was given to me to make these two very different materials look similar under stage light.
The most obvious difference between the two surfaces were their textures. So, the first thing I tried to do was make the transition a little more fluid between the two materials. I used a clear, flexible texture gel to fill in some of the holes of the foam while softening the edge of the silicone.
Next, I mixed a color to match to flesh tone of the silicone palm, and painted the texture paste, blending it into the rest of the foam a little bit.
Now we have two surfaces with a common base. The next step was to shade the skin similarly on both materials to make them blend into one.
Below, you can see the final result. A natural looking hand- and you can barely see the transition between materials!
Every year, the scene shop has a party for the whole company. It's a big themed blow out with costumes, drinks and food, dancing, karaoke and activities. As I mentioned in this blog before, a new production building is in our future. It would be an understatement to say that we are SUPER excited about our new building. However, it will mean a big and permanent change to she shop party. It will be the end of the shop party as we know it. In honor of this sentiment, this year our theme is: "Arma-Get-it-on: the Great Shopocolypse."
Above is the poster I designed for this year's party. I'll be painting a mural with the same theme on the paint shop wall, so be on the lookout for those pics to come later in the month!
This week, The Unfortunates goes into tech rehearsal. The drops, scrims and rear projection screens are hung, the bird is lit, the final rust has been added to the metal and char added to the wooden floor. As we finish touching it up, Thayne and I head out the the warehouse to begin work on an enormous and highly detailed plexiglass window.
This awesome version of A Streetcar Named Desire is designed by our very own Associate Artistic Director, Christopher Acebo. The set has an ultimately masculine feel, employing harsh angles and lighting effects, black rubber mats and expanded steel mesh. The featured element is a giant ornate window.
The finished window will be 40' by 17' and is made up of ten individual panels connected together to create a huge window running from the top of the Kowalski's residence to the top of the procenium. The window will be decorated with the ornate design pictured right. It provides partial privacy and partial translucency to the upstairs neighbors' residence as well as alludes to the high density of other people's homes and windows.
In order to achieve this effect, we used a video projector and laptop to project each panel's design on the plexiglass and trace the design on the paper covers with permanent markers.
Tracing the projection on the paper.
Next we cut out the designs with exacto knives.
Leaving the negative space attached to the plexi, we can use it as a masking frisket.
Next week, we will spray the windows with pneumatic sprayers. When we are done, we'll remove the rest of the paper, leaving the painted design.
Check back next week to see the completed window!
The return of Thayne!
This week, we continued the painting of our architectural "double" translucency. I'm still calling it a double, because the audience will see two different things when lit two different ways, even though all of the painting was done on the front. I developed this "front only" painting technique to save us the time it would take to flip the drop and starch multiple times.
In our last episode, we left our characters after stage one, where they put the translucent black and opaque black layers down on the drop. This week, we had to go back over the entire thing to paint in our opaque whites. Remember that anything that was going opaque white had to be painted opaque black first. Finally, this drop is starting to look like the elevation.
The final stage of this drop was to age and contour the white. It was very mind-boggling to keep in mind that anything that read as grey on the rendering had to be painted out opaque black, then opaque white, then grey last and on top, whereas anything reading as red on the elevation would be painted translucent black. We really had to use our imaginations on this one and had to paint from TWO elevations simultaneously instead of just one. Usually a scenic artist is asked to paint a the drop to look like the picture. In this case, we needed to imagine what the drop WILL look like.
The slideshow at right shows our drop hung in the space along with some shots showing how it interacts with the scrims we painted earlier. It's been very exciting to see our work coming together.
We completed this doosy from layout to pickup in 10 days with only three scenics per day.
We rocked. it. out. Nice work, guys!
The final and the most labor intensive layer to the back wall of the Unfortunates set is a full-stage translucent drop. The fun part is that it is slightly more complicated than a traditional translucency.
The drop will be lit from the front with white light and lit from behind with red light. When lit from the front, the picture needs to be in greyscale and when lit from behind with the red light, only some parts are red, while others need to stay in greyscale. This means that there need to be both translucent and opaque parts to the drop that transition softly into each other. On top of all that, it is a very architectural piece- lots of windows, doors, chair rail, et cetera. What an adventure!
In this picture of Scenic Designer Sibyl Wickersheimer's elevations, we see how the drop will appear when lit from behind and in front, respectively, and we see how in the red elevation, some parts need to remain opaque white.
Measuring 65 by 17 feet, this drop took four people and two days to starch both sides and an extra day to cartoon.
Right, our intern, Erin Young, does some scenic math to divide these windows perfectly.
The next step was to paint the entire drop in translucent greyscale.
As you can see in this picture, we had to paint from the rendering showing us wich parts would be translucent, and thus showing up as red when lit from behind. On top of that, in order to make the white step as opaque as it needs to be in the next step, everything that is going opaque white needed to go opaque black first. SO.... So what we are doing is painting everything we see as red on the rendering as variances in the black's translucency, and everything we see as white we are painting straight black.
So far we have completed the translucent layer. Next week we will put the opaque white layer on top to complete the drop- more pictures to come!
I'm really proud of how far we've gotten in only a few days. It's a real testament to the industriousness of our crew. Good work, scenic artists Amanda Haverick and Kira Nehmer and intern Erin Young!
This week has been full of fulfillment as we check pieces of Unfortunates off of our to do list. 'Manders, Erin and Kira finish the burn/singe treatment to the edge of the elevator platform. Next, the tile will be sealed with satin and a flat will be blocked on to give a worn and uneven finish.
Meanwhile, Pat finishes up the plaster beams for the bar
...and Gabriel finishes the
King Jesse's Kingdom signs.
Out at the warehouse, Kira and I faux stain the wood planked floor.
...and add some charring effects around the trap holes. These holes are where the elevator platforms are and will be covered with the tiles.
It has been really exciting to watch the carpenters stretch the scrims we painted on the hard scenery it will be attached to for the show.
Nice to get a little taste of what the show will look like!