By Charles T. Jackson
For our Youth Theatre’s Spring production of “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” I had gotten the Cheshire Cat’s/Catterpillar’s house done, as well as the Rabbit’s, I needed to move on to the big door/little door scene. For these doors, that would be being handled by Youth Theatre helpers, I wanted to try and use very light weight foam core insulation.
I painted the little door on one panel, and the large door on another, and I bet I have inspired you to ask me why I didn’t just paint the little door on the other side of the large door panel. Well, the knob on the little door is a character in the show, and as a result a large hole needed to be cut into my carefully painted wood grained little door. The character had to have room to speak through the hole, so they couldn’t even be on the same dolly. So here’s what I did to solve this.
We couldn’t attach them together due to the fact that we would have had a real problem storing them off to the side of the stage, so we just stacked them face to face when off stage, and then when on stage, just set them next to each other with the first to appear visible in a gap in the mid curtain. When Alice drank the shrinking juice or bit the grow cake the kids just slid the doors back and forth. It worked great. I also built the “Hole” Alice initially falls through out of the foam core insulation…
…as well as the Queen’s podium…
…and some fence pieces.
The material was actually very easy to work with as far as getting it into the shapes that I wanted it to be. The glue on the “hole” too forever to dry I assume due to the non porous nature of the coating. Paint on either side of the panels is temporary at best. If the surface of the panels are scratched even a little bit, the paint come right off. In a show that I used it on well after this one, the paint came off in large latex sheets due to the number of coats I had to use to hide the writing. So, would I use it again? Yes, but not to the degree that I did in this show. All of those set pieces have had to be pitched due to the frailty of the painted surfaces, and at strike, and in transport, the took a beating. I just don’t like not having the option to reuse a set piece, so I’d use this material sparingly in the future. In my next post I’ll probably finish up my most colorful set to date, or get started on one of my least colorful sets. I’m just not sure. Thanks as always, for stopping by.