Thursday, October 30, 2008

Theatre Settings as Art

Okay. So – you know – I’m directing this production of Blithe Spirit, a comedy by British playwright Noel Coward.

(And it’s going well, by the way. I’m working with very talented people who aren’t constantly falling over their own egos. Do you know how rare that is? Trust me. It’s rare.)

Anyway …

A play – any play, needs a setting, a location. In our case, it’s the British equivalent of an American family room, slightly off the main drag of the house. On one wall is a fireplace. On the opposite wall are French doors overlooking the moors. Directly at the back of the room is a large doorway, leading to other parts of the house.

Ya with me so far?

Here’s what the set looked like when the walls were first set in place on the stage. Eventually everything would be painted white – the walls, the fireplace, the French doors, even the floor. (It’s my set. I can paint it any color I want.)

I took some flack about the color, actually. “Nobody paints a set white,” I was told. “Nobody paints a FLOOR white.”

But I did.

Here’s the fireplace, right after it was constructed, and before it was painted and decorated.

Here it is, finished.

The mantle and fluted front is routed and carved Styrofoam. Nobody is going to dance on them. (Yes. I know. The candle is broken. It's part of the story, okay? Gimme a break.)

On the other side of the stage is where the French doors will go.

And here they are. Opened …

… and closed. Above the doors is …

a stained glass transom, constructed just for our set. We spared no expense. Sort of. (Our extravagance actually cost less than twenty bucks – eleven dollars for the Plexiglas, and eight dollars and change for the translucent paint.)

Here’s our hallway


What you see as the wall is actually blanket-like material, stretched over a frame. I found a roll of the stuff in the attic of the theatre. Nobody knows how it got there. Nobody will remember where it went.

And this is the finished set. I like it.

If this was a room in a real house, I could be quite happy here.

And how was your day?



Birdie said...

Great set, Jack! I only saw the play once when I was a little girl on CBS Playhouse.....remember that? I don't remember much of it. This set brought the memory back. I particularly remember the couch. Wish I could be there to see it.

Anonymous said...

I am desperate to see this play and the amazing set!

Jack Bunny said...

Hey anonymous ...

I'm pleased with both the play and the set. I'm really looking forward to your reactions.