Here it is, week 11 of the winter term and only two weeks left before the students break up for Christmas! The set for our last drama of 2013, Marathon ’33 is safely in the Silk Street Theatre and the technical rehearsals have started ready for the show’s opening at the end of this week.
The fit-up process was a particularly long one with lots of scenic elements that needed building in situ. There are four main platforms of varying height that sit at opposite axes in the space and are made from a combination of steel deck and the circular steel deck structures that have been made over the last few weeks. Two of these structures have been made using huge pieces of solid timber which have put together using coach screws with steel deck on top.
The front of all of the rounded deck have been faced with 18mm ply that has bent to shape using steam. The steaming process allows the ply to become fairly flexible (for a very short time!) so that it can be bent around curved platforms and secured in place. When the ply dries out again it retains most of this curved shape.
There are also two large mirrors that hang at angles above the stage and show the audience the action that is taking place on the platforms. The centre of the acting space, a large diamond shape is surrounded by a balustrade with advertising posters painted by the scenic art team pasted onto them. The two scenic cloths sit proudly at either end of the space and above the seating banks more signs and bunting drape and hang.
This show is a clear example of how collaborative a production can be with concerns to the design realisation department. Although each individual department has been working solely on certain elements, components such as the cloths utilise skills from all three areas; the construction team built the frames, the scenic art team painted the cloths and the props team made the flip numbers that get used during the action. Another interesting element of this production is the finish of the set. The design uses the raw wood finish as the desired style which means that the scenic art team have focussed mainly on the painting the vast number of signs and complicated cloths and besides glazing the ply to protect it, have had very little painting to do on stage. Instead the challenge for the construction team has been fitting-up the set whilst maintaining this raw wood finish- no filling or painting to cover unsightly joins! I think you’ll agree the set the looks fantastic and a really interesting look for our Silk Street Theatre.
I’ll try to get some photos of some more of the props that been made including a hospital examination table and the camp beds. It’s been non stop in the design realisation department this term, and things aren’t slowing down yet…next week is the turn of our first year students to show off their skills in this year’s Design Realisation Project. Remember last year’s Las Vegas DRP? This year it’s a majestic Pompei paradise designed by our head of Design Realisation Vanessa Cass…stay tuned for some photos, it’s looking glorious!