Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Uncommon Women and Others, 1994

Uncommon Women and Others was directed by our then costume designer Deborah Rosenberg.
We had a student costumes designer, sound designer and technical director.
I designed the lighting and supervised the student technical director.

The set was deceptively simply which always means that there were hidden issues that allowed the set to look simple.
The design was a set of free standing French doors upstage center with four tall columns surrounding the playing area and steps going up and off each side.

The columns were made from large Sonotubes which had to be specially ordered.
The cardboard tubes are designed to be used as molds for concert piers assorted construction projects.
Most people may have seen them used in backyard patio deck or porch projects.
We needed larger size not normally used in home projects but more likely in bridge construction.
The needed to be cut in half the long ways and then covered with a grey plush fabric chosen by the scenic designer.
Without asking, yes we still have most of them in stock.
The play was not really my cup of tea but was well done.

* * *

Monday, December 4, 2017

She Kills Monsters, 2017

Where have I been?
Well I have been busy doing Theatre and our latest play just opened.

I was not at all sure what to make of She Kills Monsters when I first read the script but it turned out to be a fun production.

The play explores several issues of family, loss, sexuality and more all set in and around the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
Our projection designer, Dan Roach, has outdone himself with many colorful animated fantasy backgrounds.

Fun costumes, swords and more made a fun world to light and help bring it together.

15 students onstage and another 10 backstage have worked hard to bring the show to fruition.

* * *

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
United Kingdom

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

December 1-3 and 7-9, 2017

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

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