Sampling for the opera…

One of the challenges for the scenic art department this term is painting a BP (back projection) screen for the upcoming Opera Le nozze di Figaro, which will be performed in our Silk Street Theatre.  The screen, which has the qualities of a slippery plastic sheet, will be used during the production to represent the side of a soft covered truck.  I’m not going to give away the secret but let’s just say that the screen has to be painted in a very different way to a standard scenic canvas to protect its fundamental properties – the fact that it’s a projection screen…

Model piece of the truck screen

(Turns out it is quite difficult being ambiguous and descriptive at the same time!)

Anyway, as with all processes and techniques in scenic art, sampling is an essential element.  Sampling colours and methods allows the scenic artist to try out different approaches to achieving the desired effect.  It also allows the designer to make choices about his/her preferences with regards to their design so that they can visualise how each element will look. 

Sampling is even more essential when dealing with materials that are less frequently used, such as the BP screen.  Here you can see second year design realisation student Hannah working on the motif that will need to be painted onto the screen.  Hannah is using a combination of techniques to achieve a solid, bold colour in certain areas of the image as well as a more transparent finish in other areas.  By back lighting the screen Hannah can see how her image will look when the screen is in use during the production.  She can see how much paint she needs to add to make the image clear, but also so that it becomes transparent when lit from behind.  After her sample is approved by the design Bridget Kimak, the scenic art team can begin painting the real thing! More photos to come…

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One thought on “Sampling for the opera…

  1. Pingback: All hands on deck! « Design Realisation

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