Thursday, October 19, 2017

Just an Odd Update


Odd Update

I have been updating some old Blogs posts that I had left unfinished and just updated Dracula from 1992.

I also stopped to look at my Blog's stats.
Here is where people are from that read my Blog.
Gee I didn't know I'm big in Russia.
Got to work on Brazil.


United States
12218
Russia
2599
Germany
1135
United Kingdom
820
France
680
Ukraine
611
Canada
334
Poland
328
Brazil
294
Netherlands
267

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Christmas Carol, 1993

I have worked on A Christmas Carol four times over the years and the production we did in December 1993 is my favorite.
The production was big.
The cast was thirty-two plus a choir of eleven.
The set was huge with lots of extras.



We made money with the production two years before and thought new would do the show every two years and spend extra money to make a set we could use over and over.
Three years later we would do the show again but with a different director and designer and we did not reuse the set, but just pieces of it.

The show had every trick we could come up with: Fog, snow, an elevator up through the floor, Scrooge’s front door flew in and out, Marley’s image was projected and more.
There were moving platforms every place plus two large ones that had smaller ones that slid out when onstage.

We had a great staff and students at the time and most important I was still only thirty-seven and had the energy to work long days and late into the night.

Without a doubt the best part of the show was the ghost of Christmas Future.
As designed the Ghost was part of Scrooge’s bed curtains.
The actor/puppet moved away from the bed, his long arms stretched out and then his head popped up.
The student designers even made a long arm with a hand at the end that had fingers that moved so it could point to Scrooge’s grave.
The Ghost always shocked the audiences and on opening night someone loudly said “Oh Shit” as it came alive.
This was one of the best reactions I have ever seen working in Theatre.

I am happy to report the two students who worked on the play went on to successful careers working in Las Vegas and their work can often be seen at Comic Con.
With the show’s success doing A Christmas Carol every two years did not seem like a bad idea but of course things did not work out as planned.

Two years later we would not be able to use our mainstage Theatre because of asbestos removal and did a smaller Christmas show over in the Dance theatre.

Changes in the number of students, staff and money issues (read budget cuts) would make us decide not to continue doing A Christmas Carol on a regular basis.
I do not miss doing it.



Saturday, October 7, 2017

Our Town, October 1993

Our Town by Thornton Wilder is a popular play and often produced by schools because it has a larger cast and simple technical requirements.

In the Great Brockport Tradition we found a way to make it harder.
The cast of twenty-four was made up students and several faculty and had a small choir that was needed to appear by magic in front of the stage.
We built a complex series of platforms and steps that allowed the choir to come up from the orchestra pit and appear waist high at the front of the stage.
I am not sure it was worth the time effort and cost.



We had a new student play the part of Emily and everyone was pleased with her performance and of course she transferred to another college.

Forty years ago while in college in Buffalo, I traveled with some friends to see the previous production of Our Town at Brockport.
It was a nice play and we stayed in town after the show and partied with several cast members that we knew.

Neither production was extra special but both were well done and the audiences enjoyed both shows.

* * * 

Back in the present we just opened our in season with Deathtrap and it turned out very well.

"Deathtrap" 2017, Technical Director/Lighting Designer

As it turned out I had worked on another production of Deathtrap thirty-eight years ago.
I wrote the following in a previous Blog post:

I also worked the load-in and load-out for the tour of the play Deathtrap.

The most interesting part of that show was that the road boxes that held the various weapon displays, an important part of the play, that were lifted up and fitted directly into the walls of the set. 
The lockable cover could be taken off as needed and easily put back on and locked up after the show.
There were many knives, swords, axes, guns and other fun props that they wanted to keep safe and away from curious hands and stop them from walking away.


I will write more about this production in the future.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

1993-4 Season Coming Soon

Well I am back at work on my 36th year at Brockport.
I have a Stagecraft class of ten students and we have met just twice so far.
They seem like a good group of students but it is too early to really know and there still is time for me to scare them off.

They got the world famous “This is a Hammer Lecture” on Wednesday.
Friday we will make our first trip down to the basement storage area which is always fun.

I know I have said that I will get back on track with my stories past shows but I keep finding excuses not to.

Coming up next is the 1993-94 season: Our Town, A Christmas Carol, Uncommon Women and Others and Biloxi Blues.
I have pulled out the old programs from my files still but need to review them to see what memories come back.
It is always interesting on what long forgotten odd bits come back as I read through the old programs and remember people I have not thought of in years.

Also I need to scan more photos.
I was not happy with the slide scanner that I bought and need to find a new one.

First show this year: Deathtrap.


Updates to follow.

Monday, May 22, 2017

35 years at Brockport

Well I just finished my 35th year teaching at Brockport and it is already time already to plan for next year.
Went to the college recognition diner last week and got another desk clock and certificate.
This one was a bit nicer than the one I got for 30 years.



This year was hard as I returned from my medical leave and then had another operation over Christmas break, but I glad I am done with that and moving forward.
My time off did give me a new perspective on several things how things were going at work and with my teaching and running crews.
I clearly saw how some things were not working well and I will make some changes will before the fall and classes resume.
I have to work my hip rehab this summer and that will make things easier working on the stage.

So what is in store for next year, well here is the schedule:

2017-18 Theatre Season

DEATHTRAP by Ira Levin
October 6-8 and 19-21, 2017

SHE KILLS MONSTERS by Qui Nguyen
December 1-3 and 7-9, 2017

LOBBY HERO by Kenneth Lonergan
February 23-25 and March 1-4, 2018

URINETOWN
Music by Mark Hollmann, Lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis
April 20-22 and 26-28, 2018



Friday, March 31, 2017

I am Back to Work! ! ! ! !

After nine months off because of several medical issues I came back to work in the fall semester.
I worked on three theatre productions and several music concerts.
It was nice to be back in the Theatre again but it was still hard for me to do any real work.
My new hip was fine but my other hip was getting worse each day and holding up my rehabilitation.
I had planned to have the second hip done in June, a year after the first, but I could not wait any longer.
Act I


In December, as soon as classes were done, I had my second hip replaced.
It was a great decision as I recovered in half the time as the first and with very little pain.
It has been much easier for me to work with my students this semester and although still limited to how much I can do, I can do much more than I had before.
Each day it gets a bit easier to move, bend and walk.

I can walk a little bit without my crutches but it will be a while before I am stable and safe enough not to need them at work.
We just completed our tenth Festival of Ten and I was able to do some real work and not just point and yell.
Act II

I still yell sometimes just for fun and to keep the students on their toes..
After spring break, a concert or two, a student show and some other assorted events it will be time to work on the spring show, Wonder of the World.

Wonder of The World



Monday, February 29, 2016

Romeo and Juliet and The Foreigner in Rep, Spring 1993



For some reason in the spring of 1993 the department decided that it would be a good idea to do two shows in repertory.
The two shows could not have been more different; Romeo and Juliet and The Foreigner.
Faculty designed and directed Romeo and Juliet was a beautiful production.

Romeo and Juliet

One show alone there was enough to keep us all more than busy but we had two to take care of.
The students had been taking stage combat instruction from a guest instructor for two years and were very excited to have a chance to use what they had learned onstage.
Some of the young women were very good fencers and were used “In Drag” for the larger fight scenes.

I designed a moody but appropriate lighting for Romeo and Juliet and needed to do a gel change between shows for the front light.
Of course we forgot to change the colors for one show and could not figure out why the lighting for The Foreigner seemed so dark.
The Foreigner was designed by a student and directed by an outside director who we had used for several productions.

Romeo and Juliet

The set was simple enough but offered technical challenges the biggest of which that both it and the set for  Romeo and Juliet had to be able to be taken apart and moved out of the way several times during the run.

For The Foreigner we got to reuse the Dracula elevator to make KKK member melt into the floor.
Of course the biggest challenge was that in the middle of the run we took the set for Romeo and Juliet apart and put it in a truck and brought it to East High School in Rochester so that we could do a matinee and then brought it back and put it back together for the rest of the run.
It was a crazy idea and lots of extra work but the students did a great job even having some fun along the way.

The Foreigner


The Production Manager/ATD was being very diligent about labeling all the set pieces so we could put the set back together.
Just for fun the students made some extra brace pieces, labeled them and put them in the truck.
They got a good laugh watching the PM/ATD  try to figure out where the extra pieces went.
Both productions went well and even though it was lots of extra work it was worth it.

Updated June 7, 2017