Friday, January 19, 2018

Peter Pan Sets

Here is some of the work I did for Peter Pan. The show is at Porter High School and I discovered that Porter is the hidden jewel of Houston.  I'm sure they don't tell anyone how nice it is there so they can enjoy their beautiful little secret privately.

Anyway, when they hired me, they asked for specifics:

1 - Four silhouettes, three of the Darling kids and one of Nana, their dog.
2 - Paint the pirate ship
3 - Paint their fireplace to look like marble
4 - A landscape above the fireplace (actually, three landscapes, but we didn't have room.)
5 - Some other things that I can't remember right now...

Here we have the two portraits which I painted on the scrim.  The scrim is material you can see through from backstage.  We had to have scrim here because the guys working the ropes for the fliers had to be able to see the fliers and the entire stage as they worked.  Safety is really important when you have fliers.  You have no idea.

Anyway, here we have Wendy and Nana, in progress. Everything has to be pretty big, so it can be seen from the back row.  I do a lot of walking from the stage to all points in the auditorium to make sure everything looks good from all viewpoints and angles.  Back and forth. Up and down. Back and forth.  Up and down.  Who needs a gym anyway?

I made Nana look kind of scruffy.You can see that closeup nothing looks very good, and it looks a little wrinkly, but, as in everything in theatre, when you get out in the audience, it does.  That's what counts.

Here I am climbing... again.  When I came in to do the silhouettes, there they were, hanging with the bottom of the frame just about at my eye level.  Great.  More climbing.
On the doghouse roof you can see some newsprint.  The photos were taken of each character and they printed them out for me.  In theater, an artist has to get in and out really fast because for some reason unbeknownst to me, there are actors and stage hands everywhere building, moving things, practicing and doing their jobs.  To help with this, I used the photo and drew the silhouettes on a table somewhere else in the building.  That gave me a few moments of peace to be able to concentrate.  Armed with the newsprint silhouette, I was able to get in, transfer the image and get each one painted in probably 15 minutes. This turned out to be a good thing, because in this case, the fliers came in to practice some flying before the show.

In light of this, the artist has one other consideration... in what order to do the work.  The work upon which the actors will be walking and touching has to be done after a practice, or the very first thing, so it has a chance to dry before they come in.  Think of the ramifications!  The costume people would not like me if I did these things in the wrong order!

Oh, I also fixed the doghouse to look - I think - charming.  They hammered on the nice bric-a-brac roof which added ever so much.  I laid down some light turquoise paint to give some variance and relief to the entire room and make it look cute and kind of ginger-bready.  I like it! And I like being able to use the words 'ginger-bready!'

Here you can see the portraits I did of the boys on the other side of the room.  Doesn't it look... darling? :)  Curtains, beds, everything.  I did NOT do those.  The curtains were so pretty and nice and billowy, perfect for peoples to hide behind.

This picture reflects the kind of contortions artists have to go through in order to get the job done.  There was no way I could balance on the dog house, so we had to get a ladder up there so I could have two solid footholds!  One solid foothold be not enough!

You can see next to the doghouse there's a little bureau; this is the bureau in which Tinkerbell gets trapped.  They rigged it behind the scrim so they could shake it up and make the drawer wiggle to make it look like she was trying to escape.
I like the panel of lights behind the scrim.  Porter High School really has the most beautiful theatre!  Honestly, they have so much to offer.  Lucky students.
If you're able, go down to see the show this weekend only.  Tonight and tomorrow are the only two shows left.  They put together their actors, choir people and band people for this production, and only do one show a year.  With a - I think I counted - 35 piece orchestra, they sounded great and the show is a perfect delight.  We laughed all the way through it.  It was also a delight to paint for them.

Once again, as in any production like this, the final show is the result of the work of ever so many people.  The combined efforts of probably 200 people, onstage and offstage, and many that have nothing to do with the stage, all coming together for a beautiful moment in time. 
Get your tickets for Peter Pan and GO!  You will be enriched for your little moment in Neverland.

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