Friday, February 06, 2015

Planking the Pinafore

I've been busy working on the set for the latest production of Tacoma Opera--Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. It's been a year since I painted for them and I was thrilled to be back. It's been a bit hectic but it all turned out great. (Picture from Evan's phone--I, with my 50mm lens, cannot get the whole set in the frame even if I go all the way to the back of the balcony. )

Evan Ritter was the set designer and lighting tech guy for the show. He made this fabulous model (out of illustration board). I love the forced perspective with the diagonal walls.

For this show I got to paint lots and lots of flooring. We decided to recreate a polished wood deck on the ship, so I got some high-gloss paint, marked off eight-inch boards, and painted all the wood grain by hand. The opera now has a big space on the bottom floor of the old Armory building (for rehearsals and set preparation), and I spent many long days holed up there with my audiobooks and my snacks.

I did about two dozen of these things. I got faster at the wood grain, but probably still ended up spending longer than I should have. Re-doing all the seams after finishing up the boards did get a bit tedious. (The last couple of days, all I was doing was seams. I developed a system.)

Tony loading up the boards to go to the theater.

"Just like laying flooring!" says Tony. "But less rewarding," I say.

A little floor touch-up. My painting clothes have become excessively more painty.

Our comp tickets were for dress rehearsal rather than opening night this time.  I took along my friend Wendy and her daughter Melanie, who were both in our multi-stake Pirates of Penzance, and we enjoyed finding all the similarities between the two shows.  (Sir Joseph was particularly fabulous, in a mincey-poncey-Scarlet-Pimpernel kind of way.)  I also got to stare at the stage for two hours and compare notes with the rest of the production crew, which was good.  We ended up darkening the interior walls (seen through the doorways), painting the door frames red, which was not in the original plan, and changing some of the gold trim to red.  It made things pop!

We new buddy Johann. I had a couple of helpers as we were finishing up for opening night--holding my ladder, handing me stuff, and washing out brushes for me. And when I was done they helped me carry everything out to my car. It was awesome.  (Though I neglected to check the paint cans to make sure all the lids were on securely, which turned out to be a problem later!  Oops.)

Swabbing the deck. We really cut it close--patrons were congregating out in the lobby as we were cleaning up. Whew!

I get to help out with the next show too--Roméo et Juliette, in April. I'm excited already.  It's all great fun. 

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