Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jungle Book Crazy

So things are way underway in Jungle Book world. I'll start this off with informing the world that I am a terrible scenic/lighting designer because I still haven't read this script... don't really need to though, (at some point I'd like to, but I haven't received a copy yet) The upside is the director gave me a great idea of what she wanted and I remember the old movie pretty well. So the idea is that since the story is A. a show with child actors and B. A meta story that starts out in the real world and enters the story/jungle world, we'd make it a playground taken over by the jungle. Imagine Jumanji when the jungle takes over everything. So far I've actually stuck pretty close to the original sketch I posted a couple posts back. This is where it has taken us.

We've got the playground side that you've seen and then other side has this climbing rock wall and a tunnel that also serves as a cave. Again pardon the quick sketch, I was trying to show my students how to frame the tunnel out.

Note that the tunnel got moved to the other side, partially because I didn't quite have enough space on that side of the stage and ultimately the monkey bars got tied into it to help strengthen them. So here is the framing for the levels. They got a little more work from here but this was the basic frame.
This is something I learned how to do when BG did Winter's Tale and I love the end result. So this material on the face of the wall is homasote, for those who don't know what it is, essentially it's recycled paper (cellulose) that is compressed and formed into a sheet primarily for sound proofing. So to make the nice stone and mortar look I used a V shaped bit and a router and just cut in a "mortar" trough wherever I wanted. After that to give it a little more texture and to harden the outside you use a scenic dope which hardens and gives it a tough durable shell. At BG we used a product called Jaxsan, I mixed up my own variety from a recipe. The great thing about mixing your own is you can tint it since one of the ingredients is paint so it gives you a nice base close to what you'll be painting, or in theory if you liked the color you could be done and not have to paint it after applying the dope.
So here's the whole thing a couple of nights ago. We've got a "tower" just like a fort might, the slide and some great levels on both sides of the stage. Down the center I've got the start of a river. As if the area sort of rests on a delta. This has a bunch of purposes. It's a sort of demarcation line between the two areas of the stage, the good and the bad if you will. Also you can treat it as individual tiny little brooks, or view the whole thing as if it's a scaled down map of the area in which the story takes place.
 There are a lot of different ways to look at it.

Here we are a day later. The monkey bars came in today and they are great, not only do they work for this, but in the future I could mount them vertically and I have a nice metal rung ladder on a set. Awesome. I played with a bunch of placements until I ended up with them here. This was better than I ever could have imagined because with it tied into both sides of the set it doesn't need a whole lot of extra bracing, (it will still get a bit more, but I swung all over it testing it out and if it can handle me.... it can handle most anything). So it's got the strength AND it physically ties the two sides of the stage together and bridges the river that separates them. Another advantage is the legs have a built in step so that you can use it to climb on top of the tunnel to stand, plus it doesn't block any views or get in the way, it ended up perfect.

Lastly, here is where I ended my night, I commented on facebook that it felt like I was painting a map and I kind of am (in either case its fun doing it). The river is going to stay pretty crisp but it will get some lighter blue and white "flow" lines in it to give it some texture and bring it to life better. The grass and sands will all get softened with some sponging and maybe some rag rolling and the lighter green will serve as a base for some light touches of the dark green paint. With all said and done I'm really happy with how this is turning out and after my tech class attacks it with paint tomorrow it should be nearly finished. Still a lot to do, but it's all going to be pretty fast stuff that should get checked off the list in no time.

Keep checking in and hopefully there will be some more good stuff once this show is over and I've got some more time to post.


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    2. Gah! the comment section attacked me!

      Try this again...Is Jaxsan an elastomeric coating (which is a little flexible)? Or is it more like Rosco foam coat (which is rock-freaking hard)?

      Either way...I've been spending a lot of time working with 'goop' mixtures. Flexible, hard, stuff with aggregate in it. What was your mix for the stone?

      And I love sets with playgrounds! It's what I did for James and The Giant Peach in Steve's class. It's just so much fun. Yours is lookin really good!

    3. Jaxsan is an elastomeric. It still ends up fairly hard but it has that rubbery give. I don't know if you ever touched the stones on the burning patience set or when we were setting it up for the opera and over there for painting with kelly but they were also jaxsan.

      The stuff I used actually ended up great, it's a lot more liquidy in consistancy where as the jaxsan was powdery when it dried on your hands. But it ended up just about as solid and way cheaper. The short name for it is VSSSD (Van's Super Secret Scenic Dope)

      I used this:

      about 1 quart of latex paint (this can be pre-tinted, neutral base, or a "waste" paint, as long as it's latex).

      About 4 tubes of Latex caulk. Do not use Silicone caulk. Some Latex caulk are called 'siliconized' and those are ok to use as they are still latex based.

      About 2 cups of drywall mud/joint compound. Adds thickness and aids in setup time and helps leave a harder finish when dope is cured.

      He's got other variations for stone and wood,

      Also you should really get on controlbooth, it's a great forum and I've learned a ton from it, even just to read stuff is helpful.