From the Drawing to the Stage

By Charles T. Jackson

At this point in my development as a scenic designer, builder, and artist, I had build show specific models, and set piece specific models, but I had yet to draw out an entire set to make a proposal to a director. With the our local Youth Theatre’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” looming on the horizon, and a basic list of their setting needs, I went to work.
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I made a basic drawing to reflect some of the ideas that the directors had mentioned, as well as some ideas of my own, wrote questions that I needed to ask in th the margins of the drawing and presented it. I found that this was far simpler than just discussing it, or showing them pictures from the Internet. With the connection of the drawn ideas on our stage, it was much easier for the directors to envision, and as a result, much easier to to approve. Now, as always, I had to figure out how I was going to make so many huge flowers, but I had a pretty good idea about how I was going to do the mushrooms, trees, and rabbits house.
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After doing a drive for large scale cardboard, I cut out several different flower shapes, initially in luan so that I would have flower template forever, and then in cardboard. I figured that I was going to need several of each design to get the entire stage right proscenium covered. Fore a period of time, I had drying flowers every where in my garage and yard. It was actually quite a lot of fun.
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I made a lot of flowers, and found that I only made a few to many to be able to get this 16′ flower display set up. The 1″ x 3″ brace and jacks that I made to secure this, my first proscenium piece, would be the foundation of many similarly sized proscenium pieces to come. On the other side of the stage, were the mushrooms.
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I’ll cover how I built, painted, and secured these mushrooms, as well as the trees and the Rabbit’s house in my next post. Thanks for stopping by.

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