Tuesday, February 12, 2013

only God can make a tree

   This has been running through my head for the past few weeks.  "Only God can make a tree" but I have had to design two and ask my scene shop to create them. 
     To backtrack, I am designing the costumes and the scenery for the production of  As You Like it at the college where I am employed.  The challenge in doing this in the first half of a semester is that the costume construction class students are still learning how to sew, so the majority of the cutting, and stitching will fall to me.  They are getting great at the alterations - hems and closures - but the major construction will depend on the workstudy girls and me.  This would not be bad, but by designing the set as well, I feel I am not able to spend enough time in either the scene shop or the costume shop. 
     That being said, my Technical Director, and Asst. Tech. Director are a dream to work with.  Not one of us had ever made a three dimensional tree (did I mention this is for an arena setting - audience on all sides?) and therefore we'd certainly never made two of them.  Drawing them was a trick - trying to add dimensions a bit time consuming, and ultimately when I gave them to the shop, I told them - I want the essence of this drawing.  So they were able to take my  drawings and create some pretty amazing  trees.  Here are a few shots with the beginnings of paint on them - there is a lot of detail paint yet to come.

the touchdown tree!
Tree with wrap around root - it gives Celia a lovely seat nestled into the tree
We are still working on the leaves and a few branches of them will hang out of the grid to represent all the foliage that is so high above we do not see it past the lighting instruments.   There is a swing which they rigged fro the grid, several other smaller scenic elements, but best of all, growing flowers.  Normally this is not a big deal, but we have no trap room in this theatre, and the director wanted them to grow out of the top of a short wall (sort of like a small window box).  Our TD raised an eyebrow and looked dubious,  our ATD just frowned a bit, and then they did it. 
    The leaves are another fun aspect - the play starts in late winter - thus no visible leaves, then spring arrives (the flowers grow!)  and the leaves need to appear.  I mocked up a leaf from
screen wire and the Tech Director - who is also the lighting designer for the show is now  making cool things happen with light. (The screen wire acts similar to scrim, so this seemed a logical solution.)  I am very excited to see it completed.
Starting to add shadow colours

Adding small branches

So in case you were wondering why I have not been writing lately, this is my explaination.  Will post more photos as we get to the opening.