Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor (kistaro) wrote,
Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

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Construction and art

Now that the final project for my Theatre Production class is nearly over, I'm starting to wish I'd taken it for a grade rather than pass/fail. This is turning out to be really cool.

The final project involves thumbnail sketches of all the costumes, full-size costume plates for four of the costumes, a full ground plan for the performance in Hotchner Studio Theatre, and either several perspective drawings or one scale model of the set. I finished the ground plan, and we spent the afternoon building the set. (I'm posting from home now- I went home for the weekend, since my suitemates have loud partying planned and I've got an exam on Monday with homework due Tuesday.) I took the ground plan draft (which I was doing in Adobe Illustrator, and tracing onto the paper by hand using the lighting grid as a frame of reference) and printed out two versions of it- one to act as a base plate, one to act as the platforms themselves (it's designed to be a very multi-level stage). Through careful use of the straight-line tool for reference, then rotation to bring it to vertical, then using hollow rectangles, I created a third sheet for all the walls. As a team, we split the costs (which came to all of $15, hardly an expensive project split three ways) of the foam-core board, the x-acto blade, the plasticene clay, and the hot glue gun- the only parts we didn't already have. I provided the Sharpie markers, and Mary had the regular glue, rulers, and colored pencils.

I knew the stage design seemed pretty neat as I thought about it and put the floor plan down, but I could only hope it would work out well. We glued the printouts to the board, then Caroline cut them out- the base just as a paper rectangle, the platform board into its individual platforms, and then the walls. I had some of the walls designed to curve inwards- those were done by slicing the back of the foam-core board through the curves into many strips, but leaving the front surface intact, allowing it to flex inwards, and it worked great. Mary decorated the set in colored pencil as I was tracing the ground plan and designing furniture out of the modeling clay; she also did the hot glue work, building supports to hold up the two raised stages (the set is bent like an L, taking up a corner of Hotchner Theatre like half a thrust stage; half the audience sees the show from an angle, the other half is looking perpendicular to the higher stage) and installing the walls, both upper and lower.

At the start, I thought I had a fairly neat design that would look reasonable- nothing stunning, but I was only taking the course pass/fail anyway and it was good enough for my team. After just three hours of work, all three of us were convinced that we have something seriously awesome going. The stage looked excellent, like a very reasonable little model of a theater set, and everything was coming together. We all feel like the work was distributed fairly (a miracle for a group project), and we're happy with the outcome. We stll have to complete a few pieces of furniture, but there's not much left.

On that note- I have a new idea for all those many artistic-type people on my Friends List. Try decorating white plasticene clay with multicolored Sharpie (or other brand) permanent markers. The pliability of the clay (it never sets) results in a very interesting surface. Colors blend effectively. Marbled effects can be made by coloring clay and then working it into a ball, then some other shape. Very different tones of color are made with different coloring strategies. If you're trying to shape something and color it, a light touch is required to avoid deforming it too much- but I think that a board just covered with about half an inch of the stuff would be a very interesting thing to color, for what could be done with it. If I had more artistic intuition or skill, I"d try it, but I'd very much love to see what anybody else would do with it.

I'm really happy about this, though- the project looks very good so far, and suddenly we're on track to do this very well. My teammates were less-than-enthusiastic about it at 3:00 PM and all smiles and "wow, this is working great and it's a lot easier than we expected" by 4:30. I guess this is how group projects are supposed to go- the pieces are coming together well, and we're all happy about it. They like my stage design, I like their costume design, they like the "build a stage" cut-out kit I created, we're all doing a great job assembling it. It's just cool to see it come together; I'll have photos of it after it's all done.

Actually, if anybody's curious, I can post PDFs of the stages, the base, and the wall cutouts so y'all can recreate it yourselves, if you've got the same tools and you feel like some sort of crafts project. It's a cool little model, and I think the biggest fight we're going to have as a team is who gets to keep it. (Actually, the answer to that is probably Dr. Chapman, but we'll all have the photos...) But yeah, I'm enjoying this project a lot more than I thought I would!

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