I have been thinking a lot lately about a quote from Linda Essig: “Your life outside the theatre is more important than your life inside the theatre.” I have taken that as a reminder to always enjoy every experience to its fullest extent. I love the work I do inside the theatre. Yes, it’s an art and a form of self-expression, and it’s amazingly self-satisfying to share my art with an audience, but it is work. It should not consume you or define you, but be a part of you. In an attempt to practice what I preach, I am sharing a photo from my evening on Sodus Bay where I was celebrating a dear friend and soaking up every bit of inspiration this view had to offer.
Where has a month gone? Mr & Mrs Nobody enjoyed a wonderful opening, I began another semester of teaching, I did the lighting design at the wedding of some dear friends, I stage managed a music festival in the woods, and today was the first production meeting for A Couple of Blaguards at Irish Classical Theatre.
Earlier this week, in preparation for white model building at the end of this week, I broke out the old Exacto blade and Tacky glue for some foam core mutilation. Add a cutting mat, my best no slip cutting ruler, a black Mirado warrior and some straight pins. Two hours later, one model box.
To kick off the regular theatre season I am designing the set (and some props) for a production of Mr. & Mrs. Nobody at The New Phoenix Theatre. Construction and painting are 90% complete. I hired a student of mine as a painter and we spent the day yesterday making a mess of some plastic, and painting some walls. I always enjoy the look of a drop cloth at the end of a paint call. An art piece in itself. Furniture shopping this weekend takes me again to my favorite flea market.
Today is the final dress for Cinderella. There have been many a prop added and a few were cut. I’m fairly certain my favorite crafting moment from the last three weeks are the pies below. I got the “recipe” from a rather talented student’s blog: here. A few modifications of my own and I proudly have one blueberry and one raspberry (cherry) danceable pies. Other baked goods include faux baguettes and dinner rolls. It’s amazing what paintable caulk, stretch velvet, and pantyhose stuffed with quilting batting can do. Words to live by.
I have done scenic painting in a variety of conditions outside of your everyday scene shop: from the side of a hill in blazing sun to a frigid warehouse where we needed space heaters to keep the paint from freezing. Today was a day of near perfect painting zen:: mild temperature warm enough to open the loading door, just enough breeze to help the drying process instead of hindering it, and more natural light than artificial.
The furniture to be used in Cinderella got a gilded facelift today. Brilliant shades of gold will adorn these fairy tale halls.
More often than not, I am working on a production that necessitates any number of faux food items. Cinderella is no exception. The opening scene is a bustling town square with fruit vendors, a butcher, a baker, and florist (among others) selling their wares out of carts and baskets. For me, this means new adventures in faux stage food. Today’s creation: fruit baskets and hot dogs. I rolled the dogs out of self-hardening clay. I have to let the pups dry out for a couple days before I can wrap them in netting and string them together to hang from the butchers cart. Bon appetit!
This past Friday was the first full production meeting for Cinderella that goes up at Artpark (Lewiston, NY) in August. My role is props designer, and during tech I will also be ALD to LK.
This show is not intensely prop heavy, but there are a fair amount of period furniture pieces to be found. Although time consuming, the excitement of digging through dusty antique shops, odd smelling thrift stores and pages and pages of Craigslist postings to find the perfect chair is terribly exciting to me. It’s like visiting old friends when I journey to the shops I hope will hold the treasure I seek. I can hardly wait to wander the aisles of “the great American Garage Sale” at the flea market in two weeks. The thrill of the (furniture) hunt.
Taking a cue from fellow collaborators, I’m beginning this blog to document current projects, latest production photos, inspiration images, and general musings on theatre, art, music, and my creative life.