It has been a steady few weeks with injections of hysteria as we have been working on the three sets over the spring term in Design Realisation.
We have been preparing our Silk Street stage for ‘Go Make you Ready,’ Designed by Mark Simmons. This was a vast and open set divided into an indoor/outdoor space with a strong contrast of colour and texture.
The main challenge of the set was taken on by our scenic art students Becca and Claudia who were led by our third year Sneha. The task was to paint two cloths at 8m x 4.5m and 8m x 3m with a dense forest scene inspired by the painting, ‘A Stag Hunt in a Forest’ by Jan Hackaert and Nicholaes Berchem, to hang up-stage, left of the set.
Here you can see the cloth being worked on in it’s various stages. The shapes of the trees were traced onto the cloth by projecting the artists image onto it and tracing round the trees in charcoal. The darker background tones were then blocked in and then the lighter shades were painted on top in stages to give the illusion of a 3D image.
The stage itself was on a raised steel deck platform and was covered 2/3 in laminate flooring and 1/3 in painted carpet tiles. The carpet tiles (of which there were about 300) were individually primed with Covent Garden primer to prevent the paint from rubbing off and painted using a stencil. This took a big group effort to finish but was effective once laid all together onstage.
Up-stage right consisted of a large steel frame which was constructed by our 2nd year student Lana and was clad in plywood in order to provide a screen to project on during the show.
In props Hellen had the task of creating Prospero’s staff which she did by drawing the shape in Sketch-up and 3D printing it. Then she created a mould out of Latex and cast the shape in crystal clear resin. The final piece had to be sanded and polished to give it a smooth cut glass look. The staff needed to be made as a break-away prop. This was done by sawing the cue in half and inserting a dowel into one end and drilling a hole to insert the dowel in the other half. This way the staff could be snapped along this seam each performance and reset by inserting a new dowel into the socket.
White LEDs were placed under the end of the crystal to make the staff glow which made for an effective looking practical prop.
Once the set was fitted up there were a few tweaks to make before the show went up. We put an extra wash on the forest cloth to bring the bushes into shadow a little more and there was a little dulling down of the yellow crosses on carpet tiles. Overall it was a job well done.
Alongside this our scenic art students were also preparing a cloth for the set of ‘Guns and Drums’ designed by our own third year student Sunny Smith. This piece was to be the floor cloth and was designed to look like a birds eye view of war trenches.
The organic waving lines were traced onto the cloth using a projected image from the model. The lines were then painted onto the cloth and finally washes were then applied to break up and blend the background colour with the red and blue lines.
Our spring term Opera Scenes set was designed my another of our third year students Alena, who’s design resembled an abandoned industrial space. The main structure consisted of a platform and a ramp which the actors were to slide down and was made by Vincent, Ollie, and Lana. The set was dressed with a selection of found items which our trusty Tom Downing scoured around London in junk yards to find. Superhero!
These items were then given various paint treatments to enhance their rust and to break down the surfaces.
The set had a great grungy industrial feel and was very effective onstage. Well done to everyone!