Friday, March 23, 2007

Hansel and Gretel

The last of the major non-fibre commitments has been completed...Thickwood Heights School's production of Hansel and Gretel has been an enormous success. I designed the set, Steve built it, Lexi did make-up and Julia played Gretel. The principal referred to us as the "first family of theatre" at Thickwood Heights. Aww, shucks.
The building of the set is always an enormous undertaking with five or six really great volunteers and whatever borrowed shop space we can find. I deliberately designed things to be modular and portable this time around because we did not have a shop available to us, so I figured we'd be building in garages and basements. Fortunately, the acting principal of the high school right next to the theatre happens to be married to the costume designer for the production and, voila! a shop was at our disposal.

I did not get a lot of pictures of the set because I spent a great deal more time than expected backstage helping with frazzled nerves. We have a wonderful teacher who each year serves as BOTWA (Bridge Over Troubled WAter), but she wound up needing to focus on one particular student who had a spectacular attack of stage fright, so I stepped in as assistant BOTWA. Not much to it, but it gave chief BOTWA the peace of mind so she could focus on our nervous Nellie. It's pretty scary when I become the voice of reason.....
This is a wide shot of the gingerbread house. It is a fly, constructed of masonite with a spruce frame. The embellishments include cinnamon hearts (styrofoam), hard candies (styro balls in cellophane), and gumdrops (plastic Easter egg halves with glitter). There is actually a boatload of glitter on the whole thing, but it doesn't show well with this lighting.

Full cast shot. There were 54 students ranging from grade 4-8 in the cast. And they were great kids, for the most part. For just a few minutes, they each got to be a star and have their moment in the spotlight. Children's theatre is a special experience--go watch it, volunteer to help, or support it with donations. It'll do your heart good!

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