Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Pirates of Penzance on Treasure Island

It was a busy season at the ACTSA Summer camps this year. We had our usual camp classes and small shows but this year we took on The Pirates of Penzance as our musical which is no easy task for children under the age of 14. Our Tour took us out and about with an adaptation of Treasure Island with music added by our wonderful director, Laura Minadeo. Needless to say, we had a bit of a pirate theme. When everything was finished, we had done Pirates, Treasure Island, Macbeth, When the Mountain Meets the Moon, Rats, and a few junior classes as well.

For Pirates, we really needed a universal style set because it was going to serve as set for every other camp production. Normally that's not a big deal but we also had a rock musical called Rats, written composed and directed by David Tessier. Luckily it fit his needs as well. Stage right was just a 4x8 tower with stairs which was supposed to be cave like. Given my lack of time and help I decided to create a rock face with some 2x4 scraps and a drop cloth stapled onto it all and then painted. Certainly not perfect but I think it looked alright.

Stage left was a bunch of 4x4 platforms and scrap pieces from the shop combined to make ruins. I didn't spend much time on this at all since I still had some foam bricks and half walls sitting around. Throw a couple of painted flags into the mix and a silhouette of the Queen of England and I was just about done.

We also had just replaced all the cyc gel, which made for some awesome color, though after doing the math, to replace all 3 colors for all the fixtures cost $140. ouch. But oh boy was it worth it

Our Tour had to pack into a short school bus and we decided on keeping the layout the same as our last tour since the support pieces were all there already. I swapped out for a new backdrop, which I'm pretty happy with, but as always wish I had a bit more time for, framed by palm trees. The disaster piece that I hated and didn't have time to do anything about was the side tall landing boat flat, it was just done quick and ugly and I was less than pleased with how it turned out.

Balancing the stage out we had a magic treasure chest which I built from the ground up, far larger than I had intended. I got going and about half way up I realized how huge it was going to be, but it was all made from scrap material and I didn't have enough to start over so I went on with it. The chest turned out pretty well though and I was definitely happy with the end results. The chest stayed on stage the whole show and contained all the props that were needed. It clearly held no treasure, but that's where the magic came from.The lid had a built in shelf that was was held in place by two handles so when it was time for the big reveal, they closed the lid, pulled the pins, and when it opened had a pile of treasure sitting on top which was worth all the hassle if only for the crowd reactions when it happened.
Here's how the chest worked. This was my test run
Projection speeds things up greatly. I took my rough sketch, 
made a transparency and went to work. 
Drop in progress
 Almost finished
 Pirates tower, in process
 Before painting SL, some of it was usable without any work
A dowel rod, piece of linen and some paint and I've got a flag.

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