Tommy can you hear me?

I'm being prodded to post, so here it is. I have two good reasons for being lax on updating here. One is the very cute little gentleman who brought plague to the house and then learned how to crawl. He's now pulling up on everything and attempting to walk unaided less than two weeks of learning to pull up. Evel Knievel actions with similar results.

The other is that the last few shows were tremendous aggrivations and I really haven't wanted to revisit them. But here we go:

Tommy
Oh I had such high hopes for this show. I love Tommy. I know every word and I was positively giddy when I found out it was going to be our spring musical. (and being built after I was back from maternity leave). The due date for designs came...and went. Finally draftings arrived but only for the main structure of the set. Nothing else. No set pieces and no color. For those of you who don't know Tommy, set wise it is a show about two things: a wardrobe with a mirror and a pinball machine. You can sum up most shows into an item or two that are critical to the show itself. Noises Off, for example, is about doors (and sardines). The Fantasticks is a show about a trunk. Well, my point here (and I do have one) is that neither the wardrobe nor the pinball machine was included in the first drawings we received.

To make a long story short (too late), information tricked in bit by bit, or not at all. Color was over a month late. The designer would ignore our requests for information. He never sent the model that he had completed. There were battles over non-issues (we can't paint the stage floor means we CAN'T paint the stage floor). In the end the designer pretty much walked away from the whole thing and we worked it out on our own.

Having never received an iota of information on the pinball machine I did a lot of research and came up with a design on my own. (I now know way too much about the history of pinball machines). We luckily have a pinball machine in our shop, though a very 80's one. With a little tweaking from my very talented husband we got it running. I found and replaced all the rubbers and worked up some new upper cabinet art. Our TD scored some plexi from a hockey rink to replace the glass on the playfield as the actor was climbing all over the machine. In the end it worked out pretty well. And now we have a functioning (though rather boring) pinball machine in our breakroom.

The main part of the set consisted of painted brick walls and a lot of white pipe railings, supports and beams. At least the brick was fun, though the time constraint due to the lateness of everything meant I was doing it all without proper sampleing. At least I got to break out the mega-brick stencil. Though I think it has seen it's last show. The stencil is falling apart and a little too unweildy for one person to easily use.

I started by painting all the walls with the grout color, using a lot of sprays to get the right texture.
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Then I figured out the repeat on the stencil and where to begin on the walls (more measuring and math).
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Then it was painting, painting, painting. I did the brick in more sprays, mostly using hand sprayer and some Prevals.
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When it was done I did the shadows and the highlights.
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Out of all the brick I've painted (oh and I've painted a lot) this was probably the one I was the least happy with. Had I more time I think I would have painted and then masked out the grout with tape. That would have allowed me to do more brush work on the bricks. (For those who are curious, I think my favorite bricks were the split homosote that were gooed and then painted with a compound piped in with pastry bags for the mortar. I'll have to find pictures somewhere)

This is the only picture I have of the wardrobe in progress. By the end we were in such a rush that there just wasn't the time to take pictures. The brown things are papertowels to protect the confetti cannons that are used in the shattered mirror effect.
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Here it is in the show (picture taken by my TD)



The one truly fun project on the show was the Tommy's Holiday Camp sign. Again, time didn't allow for a lot of process pictures. Here it is being pounced:

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And here it is before it was drilled for the lights. The words 'holiday camp' were spelled out in tiny light bulbs.

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So that was Tommy, which led into the rep shows that had a lot of the same problems. Poor design, late and incomplete information, not much time, but this time the designer was also our Shop Foreman. Things got rather unpleasant and tense for quite a while. And since I'm a breastfeeding Momma, I couldn't drown my frustrations in gin and tonics, as I usually would.

The two shows were The Idiot Box and The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue. I only have a few pictures of Learned Ladies completed. Of the other I only have what my TD took. I had two and half weeks to paint two full sets, so pictures just didn't happen. Honestly, I don't even want to post pictures of them. I'm not proud of the work at all.

There I think we are all caught up. Now onto the Opera reps (both fun and beautiful)

1 comment:

Leslie said...

I enjoy reading your blogs. Despite your own criticisms, the work you do seems to me to be quite successful. I hope you continue posting more.

--And congratulations on the arrival of your son (I know he got here last year).

Cheers,
Leslie B.