This week we finally got underway with the fall play. Rehearsals began on Monday night with the cast read-through of the first act. The second act was read on Tuesday and the cast began working on the stage Wednesday night. The report from the stage manager Karina is that things are working out pretty well so far. Costumes, Scenery and Lighting got a jump-start on Tuesday and made great strides on Thursday! Here is a report of their work for the week:
Tuesday, September 13
A small crew jumped in to the college Paint Van to head to Kansas City to KC Repertory Theatre’s costume storage. Some of you might imagine a room in the basement of the theater building at UMKC, but the truth is the storage is located several miles from the theater UNDERGROUND in a cave! Tina Campbell our guest artist costumer for the semester is a graduate of the UMKC MFA Costume Design program and with her connections we were able to spend a few hours looking around the cave for clothing for the characters for A Man For All Seasons. The end result was finding and renting about 2/3s of the costumes we need for the show.
That afternoon, back at the costume shop, the crew began to organize the costumes by character and even had a few fittings (with cast members who happened to be in the building). Once the costumes were in the shop Tina and the crew began to see what they had (and what they didn’t have!) They also could see the actual condition of the items; lots of them need repairs before they can be worn again on stage. Tina was able to assemble a few pieces that we pulled into a costume for Henry VIII.
The scenery crew went shopping for the afternoon, and I’m not talking grocery shopping! Since we still had the paint van, we took it to Lowe’s to gather lumber supplies for the show. Nate, Rachel, and Drew were great assistants gathering 3 sheets of 3/4″ plywood, 28- 1×4,10- 2×4, and 18 sheets of lauan. We picked up some small hand tools to begin to build up our tool stock (little wrenches, screwdrivers, and the like seem to disappear from year to year!) I toured them around the whole store so they could be familiar with where to find the various materials and supplies available to them (especially the clearance racks!)
After all of the supplies were unloaded at the theater, the crew set up some stock platforms in the configuration of the ramp so the cast would know where it goes in rehearsal.
Thursday, September 15
The costume crew had fittings with three of the actors from the show. They spent a lot of the time working on the rented costumes which were in great disrepair. Trim was pulled off of some costumes, while others had to be pulled apart so that they could be reassembled correctly. Rachel and Rachel are Tina’s main helpers for the show, but other volunteer crew have popped in from time to time to lend a hand. Tina ordered some shoes for one of our actors which should arrive next week for his fitting.
The scenery crew really moved forward. Once we had supplies we were able to begin laying out the sheet goods to begin the process of cutting out the arches for the set. Laura, Rachel, Nate, Drew, and Caleb were the main crew on this task. They used the table saw to cut some pieces, and for other, finer details, the circular saw and jig saw were used. Only a few sheets are left to be cut next week and we’re ready to begin framing out the arch units. The team worked very well together which is fantastic for a half new and half returning crew!
The lighting crew also made great strides this week. After doing some reading about stage lighting equipment and light plots, Whitney and Annette began to consider the lighting areas for the stage and learned about the different lenses used for different lighting positions. Whitney and Annette headed up a crew to move the cyclorama drop from a downstage batten to the furthest upstage one and then also move the black scrim drop to a position downstage of the third electric. This will allow us to create a variety of background colors for the show and then also make it black when no light is used on the cyc. Five cyc-light units were tested and moved into position to create those color washes on the third electric batten. I think they really enjoyed using the Remote Focus Unit to test the lamps on each unit. Whitney will compile a list of circuit numbers for each gel color to be programmed into sub-master sliders on the light board for easy color mixing.
Overall it was a fantastic and productive work week for the technical staff! Let’s keep up the good work. We still have a long way to go to get this show ready for opening night in November!