June 26, 2007

King and I Day 1

I call this: summer stock,theatre — Posted by KP @ 7:03 pm

First rehearsal for show #2. The day began for me in the morning with our first production meeting. It was a fairly leisurely meeting, with a scene-by-scene discussion of each set and any issues brought up. The recurring debate: fly in hard flats for quickness of scene change, or take the time to set them by hand on the deck, to avoid ugly aircraft cables catching the light (especially given that the pieces will be silhouetted at times)? I love the elegance of flying stuff, but aircraft cables are indeed ugly, and not particularly at home in the royal gardens of 19th-century Siam. This matter is still undecided. Attempts will first be made to conceal the aircraft cables behind other objects, and if that doesn’t work, I think we’ll wind up with the stuff being set by crew, which will mean we’ll be pushing to make the scene changes in time.

The theatre is building its own set for this show, which has been pretty rare in the years I’ve been here. The set is being recreated by our very talented head painter, Matt, based on the design used for an earlier production. While I’ve seen pieces of it under construction in our warehouse, this is the first opportunity I’ve really had to see all the plans and have it fully explained. I’m excited about it. After the meeting Matt took me back to the warehouse to look at it again, now that it’s closer to completion, and I have a better context for it.

Here’s a view of some of it. You can’t see the best stuff in this photo, but the colors for the palace are very rich, and at the meeting Matt displayed a sample of the fabric for Anna’s bedroom drapes that I’m absolutely in love with.

Simultaneously, the most significant project of the year was going on onstage: the replacement of the entire deck surface. The deck has been due for replacement since at least last year, and Singin’ in the Rain sealed its fate with the inevitable water damage. As I mentioned last week, several sections had to be replaced during the run, including one emergency replacement at intermission. The crew did a lot of work today, almost all of the new surface has been laid. It still needs to be screwed down more permanently and then painted, but it looks great already.

I also got to see something I’ll probably never see again — the actual stage floor of the Robinson Theatre, just before the last of the large pieces was laid over it.

It’s your typical hardwood floor you’d find on a school auditorium stage, that someone obviously made an attempt to paint black at some point. Over that is laid a layer of Homasote to give the surface a little cushioning, before the top layer of tempered Masonite is placed. I have been informed that tempered Masonite is preferable to regular ol’ Masonite because it will be more durable. The darker black squares in the back and left are already finished, and the lighter black band in the upper right against the wall is the last of the old surface that has yet to be taken out. Eventually the surface, which is already black, will all be given a coat of black paint, but it’s being left au natural for now as it needs some time to dry out to avoid warping. It looks very clean and pretty, and best of all it will be a nice safe, even surface for our performers to work on.

Bye-bye old deck!

Our rehearsal schedule in the afternoon was very easy — just music rehearsals with a few principals. I sat around and worked on some leftover notes from the meeting, and getting the contact sheet ready. In the evening we had the whole company present. Seventy-seven. Yes, 77. Seven seven. Forty-nine adults, twenty-eight children. This is only slightly more than my previous Reagle-high of 72 for Carousel. I’ve heard people saying 61 all day, but by my count I get 77. To be perfectly honest, I think once you get beyond 50 it’s all the same.

Anyway, with this mass of people, we did a read/sing-through of the show, including watching the DVD of the movie for the ballet scene. Our choreographer, Gemze de Lappe, was the original dancer portraying Simon of Legree in the “Small House of Uncle Thomas” ballet, and she also dances the role in the movie, which I didn’t know until recently. She’s wearing a giant mask so it’s impossible to tell it’s her, but it was fun to see her performance from over 50 years ago. I have no doubt she could do it today at 80-something! She doesn’t join us until tomorrow, but I’ve worked with her before on Carousel, and she’s quite an amazing lady.

Tomorrow is our first full day of rehearsal, and I’m looking forward to it.

1 Comment »

  1. […] and trunks — a lot of it was supposed to be flown, but this goes back to the issue at the production meeting about ugly aircraft cables ruining the look. So before even attempting the scene we ran the scene […]

    Pingback by King and I Tech « HeadsetChatter Blog — July 2, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

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