Saturday, April 26, 2008

Opening Night

After weeks of building set and wrestling with electrical issues, the kids finally pulled off opening night. The Wizard of Oz was a big hit. We had a sold out crowd and even opened up the bleachers for overflow(standing room only!) I'll try to recap some of the construction highlights.
First was the rake or ramped floor. Built in 4x8 sections that could be reused, they combine to provide a 24. diameter semicircle. The straight edge runs flat with the front of the stage and the center back has a max height of 12".
Then came the cyclorama or half circle wall. Built from plyrood and 2x4 studs, the cyc provides a dramatic backdrop and helps reflect the sound out into the audience. With limited lighting, a white background and brown floor (instead of the traditional all black) has helped illuminate the entire stage.
The set pieces were the next challenge. The script called for a rotating covered bridge. Reusing a plywood base with castors, we added 2x4 posts, cross bracing, and a roof. Painted the whole thing red and still continue to laugh at the absurdity if it. What's amazing is that it's the piece which made the paper!
Of course there has to be a house for Dorothy. Made from two flats and a platform that used to be a putting green (Uncle Henry can practice his short game right on the porch!) the addition of classic Victorian spindles and gingerbread give the house a familiar look. I even used the old screen door from the side of our house!
Act 2 provides its own challenges. We needed to switch back and forth between the Emerald City and the witch's castle. So rather than paint a lot of green, aluminum foil covers a partition made from spare doors. This allows the set to reflect whatever color is projected onto it. A shower curtain provides the display for the backlit shadow puppet of the "great and terrible OZ" and then doubles as the witch's magic picture.
Several BIG thank yous need to go out to Gary Varvel's art class who helped paint the set. Also his son Brett, who stayed with us until 2am on Wednesday working on lights. And BIG props to our two tech crew/stage hands. Yes, all the set movement, curtains and lighting effects is done by two stuents: Luke Petro and Jenna Cook. Great job guys!