Standing the Mushrooms

By Charles T. Jackson

My last post covered how I made and displayed the full garden of flowers for the spring 2011 Youth Theatre production of “Alice in Wonderland Jr”. Having done that, I moved on to the mushrooms and Rabbits house.
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I made these 8′ wide x 6′ tall mushrooms much the same way that I made the pharaoh head for “Joseph”. Although it’s a lot of work, it’s certainly a sure way to have a set piece last for quite a lot longer than it would usually. Having worked quite hard to get the outer shape to be realistic, I went ahead and tried to get the paint to make them look like a place an enchanted cat, and pipe smoking caterpillar would like to settle down.
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These being early on in my painting with colors career, I thought I pretty close to the mark and was quite proud to put these on the stage. I then moved on to the Rabbit’s house.
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This cupcake shaped house is roughly the same size as the mushrooms, and is build the same way.
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With nice little sections of fencing, and a tree in the background, you almost expect a rabbit in a big hurry to appear at anytime!!. As the costume Mom’s had no idea what the house was going to look like until I brought it in, I had to make a “really large Alice” costume version of the house as well, modeled here by my eldest assistant and right hand man.
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He’ll be thrilled to see that there. I was not really sure how I was going to stand the mushrooms on the stage, so I decided that I would just lean them against the wall and strap them to the proscenium with 1″ x 3″ lumber. This was of course not the most efficient way to get this done, but I hadn’t made any little jacks yet  so it didn’t occur to me.
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Well, I had made a little jack, but didn’t realize it at the time. In the illustration I have it labeled “screw down arm”. I just screwed that to the wing wall behind the proscenium, and then secured a piece of scrap wood between the flats and screwed them to the end of the arm. While it wasn’t efficient

, it was stable enough that 70 children bumping into it for the run of the show wouldn’t knock it down. The Rabbit’s house I mounted to jacks on a 2′ x 4′ rolling platform/dolly and it was rolled on and off the stage when needed. IN my next post I’ll discuss how I handled the quick change of the doors from big to little

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, and then back again. Thanks for stopping by!!