Sunday, April 12, 2015

Painting Roméo et Juliette

The latest set! I've been super busy painting for Tacoma Opera's production of Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.  Set design by Director Noel Koran, built and assembled by the fabulous and hard-working Tony Hall, painted by me (in various locations!)  We took some details from this building in Verona which is supposedly Juliette's house.  The curvy-pointy shapes along the top are from there.  (I'm not sure what they are.  Chimneys?)  

The pieces were too big to fit in the rehearsal space at the Armory, so I did most of the painting in a warehouse in Lakewood. (The opera has a storage trailer down there, and Mountain Moving had some space that we could use.)

It was probably a bit closer than driving downtown, which worked out well for me, but it was also pretty cold in there, and on gray rainy days it was a little harder to find the motivation to go paint. (My coat has a lot more paint on it now. I guess I have a painting coat.)  This was also my first time doing two shows back-to-back, which proved to be a little harder than I was anticipating.  There's a lot of running-on-adrenaline, especially at the end, and it's not easy to pick up immediately and start doing it all over again.

(Taken with the timer on my camera, which I hardly ever use.)

This was my first show at the Pantages theater. It's a lot nicer to work in than the Rialto. For one thing there's actually a backstage entrance, so you don't have to carry everything in through the front. And there's a nice big shop area right behind the stage. (I understand they did some remodeling recently and changed things around--I hadn't been in there before.)

It turned out my stucco effect was a bit too subtle, so I got to add a bunch of splattery shading to everything. And some of the seams were too visible, so we gaff taped those and then I had to blend them in, too.

We had work call every day at 2:00, but I was able to go in early and work on my own stuff (as long as it didn't involve ladders) by myself. (Which made for some very long days. Doug got to pick up all the slack at home.)

Wolfgang (Pantages dog). The stage crew there is just awesome. They have a great relationship with the opera people.

During rehearsal.

Director Noel staples up some greenery. The balcony is the same one that we used for The Barber of Seville. Tony made that front panel out of pink insulation foam.  (The tall brown columns were already painted from a previous show--I didn't do those.)

I painted the bricks while everything was down at the warehouse, but it turned out that the panel was upside-down, so once they got it set up the shading on the bricks was wrong. (Aargh!) They were pretty near the bottom of the priority list, but I did manage  to get them touched up before the performance. (Also added  more contrast and color, as they were rather muted. In this picture I had done the bottom set of bricks but not the top one yet.)

The doors were a fun touch.  They're just regular panel doors, and we faced them with luan that I painted to look like wood, and we added the big black strap hinges.  I drew a pattern for those and Tony cut them out of luan.

The painting paraphernalia.  

My comp tickets were originally for the dress rehearsal on Wednesday. (Anne Marie was going to go with me, but got sick.) I ended up not going, as I was there painting till 5:45, rushed home to eat dinner and change, and decided it just wasn't going to happen. I stayed home and crashed. Friday I went back in for a few hours and finished up some of the shading on the upper walls, and that other patch of bricks.  I got everything cleaned up and hauled back over to the Armory, and had a few hours before the evening's performance.

(Photo by Peter Serko, from dress rehearsal).

I went to opening night with Erin Guinup.  It was lovely.  (And sad--we all know how it ends!)  The costumes were amazing and the whole performance was just really well done.  It's cool to see how to look of the set changes with the different lighting.  

This was a definitely a challenge (and not just because my kids kept getting sick!) but very rewarding.  I hope I get to keep working with Tacoma Opera in the future.  It's really is a fabulous experience. 


Heather T. said...

Wow, that's really impressive, Helena! I do hope you got more remuneration than just a ticket. Well done!

Helena said...

Yep, I get paid for reals. Awesome. ;)

Anne Marie Corey said...

Everything turned out so lovely. I'm so sad I missed it.

Helen in Australia said...

It looks fantastic. Glad to hear that you're getting both work and pleasure from it, and I hope the opportunities keep coming.

nylene said...

Totally amazing. They are lucky to have you.