Friday, March 13, 2009

No Strings

Hey! Remember me?

Yeah, it's been a while. I was trapped in that time-warping black hole that is Theatre again.

On Tuesday, March 10 and Wednesday, March 11 Thickwood Heights Theatrix presented their 24th annual production. This year's show was No Strings Attached, a Pinocchio story with a singing and dancing cast of 58 children ranging from grades 4 to 8. And, of course, a stellar set design by yours truly.
We started about a month ago, with Steve and his crew building sets and me and my crew painting the backdrops...

...while the kids rehearsed in the music room and the gym....
...then we hit the big stage at Keyano Theatre.
Here are The Cricket and her bug chorus, giving Pinocchio what-for.
And there was mayhem when Pinocchio and his buddy Dipstick run off to the land of Hedonia and get turned into donkeys.

My favorite piece of the set, though, is the giant shark that swallows Gepetto. This guy was so much fun to design and build. He is a wooden boat with a copper tube frame covered in an amazing translucent silver fabric from the bargain corner in Fabricland. (I wanted to buy the whole bolt, but cooler heads prevailed.) Mr. Sharky opens his mouth to reveal Gepetto sitting in his boat inside. Too clever, by half, if I may say so myself.
Sadly, Mr. Sharky wound up in the dumpster on Wednesday night, which is the downside of set design. I all gets torn apart and thrown away when the actors are done. Which is sort of a downer for the designer, let me tell you. But, as my very wise husband told me once, " Nobody goes home from a musical humming the set."
I've been thinking about the old metaphor that making theatre is like having a baby, and I see it clearly now. The first few months, you're all excited, but a little nauseous. Then things start to grow, and you start anticipating the future. And when you get to your due date, you are pretty sure you don't want to go through with it. Then it happens, and you're thrilled and exhausted, and pretty sure that's the last time you'll ever do that! After a few months, though, the stretch marks fade and the memory of the pain becomes blurry, and you start talking about when the next one will come along. This is why I have 3 kids, and why I have done the Thickwood Heights Theatrix productions for 10 years now.
(The big difference is that you get into a lot of trouble when you throw your baby into the dumpster! Oh, my poor, beautiful Sharky!)
I also pitched in backstage as the make-up designer and artist, and to offer moral support to my Miss Julia, who played Pinocchio. I believe I may be taking the stage mother thing a little too far, but I have yet to yell "Sing out, Louise!" for real.
All in all, it's been an exhausting couple of weeks, and I have been away from my spinning wheels so long that there is dust on them!
So, to sum it up, I have spent the last 3 weeks making No Strings!
(Ba-dump-dump Ching!)

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