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Archive for the ‘Scenic Design’ Category

“Aerialists and Giant Flowers” from Elizabeth Barrett

In Assistantship, Carpentry, Internship, Scenic Design, Scenic Paint, Scenic Painting, Scenic Props, Technical Direction, Uncategorized on May 23, 2017 at 6:08 AM

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This week was incredibly busy as we approached tech week for the Elizabethan productions. This means the shop was split between installing pieces in the Lizzy and constructing finishing touches back at the shop. I spent a lot of my time working on the mechanical marvels that are The Merry Wives flowers that bloom mid-production. This has been a crossover between the properties department and scenic carpentry and everyone had been involved. Thus, I have been able to work alongside OSF’s talented prop’s department making human sized flowers bloom.

This weekend I attended at Aerialist showcase at The Le Cirque Center. Several OSF employees are Aerialist’s and showcased their work at the scene shop party in April. I was amazed by their performances so I attended another one yesterday. I love how many artists in OSF branch out for their specific fields through venues like The Le Cirque Center, The Open Mic Night, and Midnight Projects. It allows theater artists, who almost always have more than one specialty, the ability to continue to grow in all areas they are passionate about. This specific performance had over 12 Aerialists demonstrate acrobatic skills on silks, ropes, hoops, and bars. It was mildly terrifying to watch them in the air doing acrobatic tricks and suddenly dropping and catching themselves at the last moment. I would highly recommend going to see a show there!

“Week 3 Update” from Elizabeth Barrett

In Carpentry, Green Show, Internship, Scenic Design, Scenic Paint, Scenic Painting, Scenic Props, Uncategorized, Welding on April 18, 2017 at 11:33 PM

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This week I started working on the construction of Merry Wives of Windsor. The shop works at a staggered pace with different productions being built simultaneously. We are currently constructing Merry Wives alongside Beauty and the Beast and it has been intriguing to see both being built alongside each other. Throughout this process, as a scenic carpentry intern, I have been able to work alongside different carpenters as we move from project to project. Construction techniques vary depending on each person, thus I have gained many tips and advice from each person I work with. The Merry Wives set uses the beautiful Lizzie theater as inspiration and builds on to that with more doorways and embellishments. Despite my continued struggle to insure everything is square, I am proud of the work I have done this week on the construction of the main doorway for Merry Wives. It is satisfying to construct something that gets to belong onstage alongside the work of extremely talented carpenters, designers, and theatre artists.

This week I also attended the Hip-Hop Open Mic night at the Black Swan. It was an amazing event and a good introduction to the Ashland community. Everyone involved was incredibly warm and welcoming and those performing at the open mic all shared wonderful work. The performers read stories, performed songs they had written, and read poetry. It was a wonderful way to connect with the OSF community outside of the main theatres. I look forward to going again on May 8th!

“Graduate School…How? When? Where? WHY?!” from Cassandra del Nero

In Assistantship, Carpentry, Props, Richard L. Hay Fellowship, Scenic Design, Scenic Paint, Scenic Painting, Scenic Props, Technical Direction, Uncategorized on April 12, 2017 at 12:08 PM

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As I sit in the OSF Shuttle three nights a week, sometimes driving company members home and sometimes whiling away the hours with memorizing songs and honing my drawing skills- I decided I should at least attempt to be productive in that time frame.

What it has amounted to is this: research for future assistantships, job offers for young designers, and graduate school possibilities.

What I found first was the need to set my priorities: What did I want from a program?

My number 1 priority was a school that looked at design with a scenographic or at least dual emphasis process. This would allow students to pursue more than one avenue of design and to learn more about the cohesive nature of collaboration.

My second priority was that the school also teach classes in builds (scenic and costume) to better inform the design process. If one does not understand how something is built- it can be easy to stray into the impossible (or extremely expensive). This has been doubly enforced to me as I discuss Off the Rails with Richard, and Unison with Rick. As we design (and assist in designing) these shows, we must compare them with the demands of the build. For instance, if a unit is built at 8 ‘-6” wide, but the plank lines for the wall are at 1’-0” increments, there will be a very visible divide at the location of the door. This is not aesthetically pleasing. This is just one of many such examples where we must discuss the function of a scenic unit before it is even passed underneath the eyes of the Technical Direction team.  With those ideals as my jumping off point- I’ve found a few options. And they’re no slouch! NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Yale’s Department of Drama, Northwestern’s Stage Design Degree, London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, Trinity College’s School of the Arts- and a few others. The uniting factors here? All excellent schools, and with wonderful reputations, and all with staging costs in attendance and moving fees.

The options I did find for attendance on the West Coast face the same failings, but often did not have teaching assistantships available. As such, I’m beginning to plan for attending graduate school in 2018 or 2019, giving me more time to decide what and how I want to learn… It begins!

A Discovery from Erik LaDue

In Erik LaDue, Fellowship, Richard L. Hay Fellowship, Scenic Design on January 26, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Erik LaDue 12.4

Took some time off of the Richard III model to help with Coconuts.

Having used a laser cutter to pre-cut most of the pieces for our chair and table piece, all that was left was gluing everything together. I was introduced to the ease and velocity of using a combination of Super Glue and Accelerator. I’ve been limiting myself to regular craft-glue in the past, now I’m going through a kind of enlightenment. No more time waiting for things to dry before moving to the next project, instead I’m setting and forgetting as I make brisk laps around my to-do list. While stopping to un-stick some fingers that I glued together, I couldn’t help but think “This is tops!”

Some would say what I was doing with pre-fabricated chair parts is the lazy way out. They would compare our use of a laser cutter to purchasing a model set from a hobby store. I say: the Art is in the final product, not how much “human” contribution there was to the process. If it serves to use computer aided drafting to make multiple copies of a chair design, so be it! Our job is to execute a design, not burn hours on repetitious chairs.

The Richard III design is coming along smoothly. It’s almost done. Rick Anderson has been passing me updated drafting plates in the last week with more details to include in our elaborate stair units. Not yet committed to being glued to the model box of the Elizabethan Theater, the stair units are looking like multi-legged giraffes.

We had to make an emergency call to the scene/paint shops: The director wanted to change a few things about a scenic unit for Coconuts. Hold the phone while we figure this out, guys.

“Three Royal Thrones” from Erik LaDue

In Erik LaDue, Fellowship, Richard L. Hay Fellowship, Scenic Design on January 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM

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And so we are settled!

Painstakingly, I have crafted thee royal thrones. I feel like I’m the king of the ½” world! I’d take a seat on my royal seats, but then I’d undo a three days of labor.

While working on my micro work, I’ve been keeping an eye on the macro. I’ve been interviewing established designers to get an idea of what I ought to be working towards after my tenure with OSF is completed. Most narratives have a similar spine: work hard, designing as often as possible, then go get a Master in Fine Arts at a school that connects with you. It’s fairly simple. I’m surprised to find that many designers currently in active, established careers did not do any sort of internships or fellowships in the gap between their undergraduate and M.F.A. programs.

I’ve done three so far.

Of course, no two paths of life are the same. But it does give me pause to think: “All I have to do is keep designing?” Bring prolific in art makes a career out of it. So what is OSF in relation to what I was always doing, designing? Back to my royal thrones: I would never have conceived building anything like these before coming to OSF. I probably would have given up and moved on to another project, avoided having to construct these model pieces all together. Further expanding my mind are the technological advanced that OSF is utilizing: I already know that it is vital that I master a 3-D computer drafting program. It would also help to start saving up for a 3-D printer…

If nothing else, I will leave OSF with a higher bar for excellence.

“Details” from Erik LaDue

In Erik LaDue, Richard L. Hay Fellowship, Scenic Design on January 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Erik LaDue 11.27

The magic is in the details.

So, of course, that’s where the work is.

I’ve spent two days applying molding to the carriages of  ½” scale stairs. That doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a huge impact when the whole project comes together. With tweezers in one hand and an X-acto blade in the other, I’m playing Cosmetic Surgeon for Shakespeare’s Richard III.

It’s funny sometimes when I need to use the Scene Shop facilities in order to fabricate materials for these mini-masterpieces. I’ve become familiar with using the table saw to rip down life-sized lumber into scale posts for my tiny handrails.

There are moments of spectacle present in the craft of model building. In the design studio, once someone has finished a project for one of the models, there is a brief moment of “Check out what I made in miniature….”A phone, a cashier, an umbrella, etc.

It’s all about maximizing communication to everyone else in the production, and we’re taking every detail, every piece of the magic, seriously.

“Go Home” from Erik LaDue

In Erik LaDue, Richard L. Hay Fellowship, Scenic Design on November 20, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Erik LaDue 11.20

“Erik, go home.”

I get that a lot. Every day, actually.

“It’s late. Go home.”

During my first week here with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I’ve been delighted by the ease of simply being: being a craftsperson and an artist. On my first day, I was given a desk and the model of the Elizabethan Stage with last season’s scenic model still glued down to it. Immediately, I set to the task of…gingerly…dismantling and preserving the old design while refurbishing the Elizabethan. I used a prop knife I found in the Design Studio, still stained in fake blood, to wedge the various model pieces off the ½” model box. It looked like a tedious murder scene.

As soon as my task was finished, I was whisked away into the next project: updating and expanding the min-Elizabethan stage’s dimensions, adding downstage step units, etc.

At this point, they have me working on the model for the next design for the stage: Richard III. Drafting plates are floating to my desk all the time; an update, more details, flushed out molding details, etc.

At the end of last week I had stated that being at OSF was like a vacation. “Oh, well, we’ll have to get you working more,” some in the company have said.

My terminology is misunderstood.

“Erik, go home”

In an environment where information and resources are streamlined, a practitioner of the theater can work with a satisfaction. This satisfaction derives from the knowledge that putting in their 100% will have a yield of at least 100%. There are practically no restrictions on the artists that work here. OSF pushes for artistic efficacy. There is no wasted time or resources, just the direct labor of those that work here. Being an independent artist for the last two years, I am astounded at this opportunity to strive without material limits. My work is directly proportional to my output. This makes OSF an island resort for craftsmanship and art, inspiring only a desire to push one’s own output.

“Erik, stop working and GO HOME”

“But, Rick, I’m enjoying myself to much”

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