As part of my new, husband free life, I had promised myself that I would get back into theatre. I spent a great part of my teen years and early adult hood working in professional or semi professional theatre and I miss it badly (that's me as Rabbit in 'Winnie The Pooh', aged 17).
I know my professional (and probably onstage) days are over, but I am happy to be involved in any way so when an ex-pupil let me know that there was a local group who wanted help painting sets, I jumped at the chance.
I contacted the gentleman to offer my services and was slightly confused when he messaged to ask me if I had any 'sketches'. Now not only was this not what I was expecting, at that point I didn't even know what the production was! Turns out it is 'The Student Prince' and through some miracle of misunderstanding, I was being asked to design and execute scenery for the whole thing!
I quickly got onto Youtube and had a look at a few clips from the movie. Then I discovered the 1929 silent, black and white version of the operetta! I sketched a few things and sent them off to Mr Director. These are ideas for the ballroom.
Apparently, the theatre they're using only has room for 'flats' at the back, no side flats on a slant, so I was looking for ways to draw the eye back into an apparently bigger space.
I really like the last one which was stolen unashamedly from 'Beauty and The Beast' so I was confused when the director fellow replied that he thought it might be too high for the space they had. I had to wait until Saturday when I saw the flats they had to work with. There were sets of 5 of them and they measured 8 ft x 20ft! The whole ratio of the drawings was wrong.
24 hours later and I had redrawn them to reflect this long narrow shape. Below is the interior of the Inn and beneath that...the Grand ball room.
Down I went with an ancient OHP, expecting to be working in the theatre space, only to find we were in a tin shed, with skylights, in broad daylight. One set of flats had been readied, flat on the ground, in the carpark in the blazing sunlight, and half a dozen willing volunteers were looking at me with expectant eyes.
Now, as I am currently meant to be cleaning the house ready for the open inspections this afternoon, and being picked up in 90 minutes for a winery tour, I will just hint at the chaos that has followed.
- not enough space in the shed to stand all 5 flats side by side for drawing purposes
- obviously very little chance to use the OHP to project the designs onto the flats, due to the light
- asking a group of volunteers to paint over a previous backdrop on one set of flats...and finding they had painted over it in sky blue.
- the perspective confusion caused by more than one person tracing extremely faint lines from an OHP onto the flats (took two hours to work out why it didn't look right)
- the perspective confusion caused by an off centre OHP, resulting in the whole design being sideshortened
- the blown bulb last night which resulted in a mercy dash back to school to borrow the one remaining OHP I knew of (you should SEE the lamp bulb! It must be 50 years old!!!!)
- being unavailable to supervise the kids who painted the block background colours onto one set of flats on the Sunday, see below.... (that is meant to be a warm, cream background...)
This is as far as we've progressed on the inn interior, and this
is the beginning of the beer garden. Apparently only the section up to the black line is visible to the audience. I know. Don't ask me.....