THEATRE DESIGN (10-12TH)
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Spring 2009
All Theater Design student built sets
mattress painting crew
"princess & the pea" mattress
Painting Egyptian Canvas for Death on the Nile, 2010, murder mystery, Egypt Tour
Stage depicting exterior & interior of Nile Riverboat, Death on the Nile, 2010
Evening, Poirot accusing murder suspect.
Taming of the Shrew, set: Victorian 1912
Theatre Design General Course Description: Theater Design is primarily a "hands on" course exploring the organizational demands, creative ingenuity, and collaborative methods essential for good theater production. Students will design and create models, produce in-scale drawings and renderings, and build sets for various drama productions or in-class theater simulations. All students will receive training in set design, scenic art design prop construction, set construction, light rigging and operation, sewing and costume design, make-up design and application, theater business management, graphic art, and sound design and operation. This class is also the main caretaker of our theater, built in 2000 which cost 3.5 million to design, construct and outfit.
Can We Build It? Yes, We Can!
Educational Course Description: Theater Design and Technology focuses on the organizational demands, creative ingenuity, and collaborative methods essential for good theater production.
All Students MUST have an INCREDIBLE WORK ETHIC!
Ever seen Bob the Builder?
GOOD WORK ETHIC, not a course for students who just want to casually draw and do a bunch of socializing. Need to be able to be SILENT during direct instruction: learning safety and proper handling of expensive equipment (involving heights and power tools) is extremely important. A person who cannot take these things seriously is a danger to themselves, equipment and others.
Theater Design consists of four main components:
(1) learning all the backstage crew positions and mastering various theater technologies [from light board operation to texture set painting]
(2) working collaboratively to plan, design, prioritize and set deadlines in crews or lead positions to meet directorial goals for each play production
(3) study the history of theater technologies through research and viewing/reading play productions
(4) utilizing aesthetic judgment and/or problem-solving skills in the troupe’s projects or evaluating the effectiveness of other formal or in-formal productions, films, or videos depicting theater.
Some student take the course only 1 year as a unique elective experience, others take the course 3 years or more, finding that they LOVE the speed and exhilaration of LIVE THEATER, and spend time being crew leaders, peer instructors, either excelling at one aspect of theater design (finding your niche) or trying various different crew positions.
Outside class lab work:
All students will be required and graded on the extent and quality of their participation in designer or crew positions for Jaguar Troupe Productions and many other performing arts events involving our theatre. In other words, 40% of the semester grade is based on a student's participation in over a dozen evening and weekend rehearsals and performances for Windsor Jaguar Troupe and possibly other presentations in the theater; the number of hours depends upon type of crew position. I know it seems like a lot, but there is rarely "homework" in the class, so the lab are hours are a concentration of school work.
TIME COMMITMENT?approximately 2-4 nights/afteroons in Fall semester
(Beg. Drama Recital or Mr. Jaguar Night, sometimesa student directed play)approximately 9-10 nights and Sat/Sun Tech weekendduring the Spring Semester
(Jaguar Troupe main production)
more if you are a Backstage Manager
noun (usu. props): a portable object other than furniture or costumes used on the set of a play or movie. ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: abbreviation of property
"Flood of 2009" Prop room of 10 years had to be emptied.
Old-Fashioned Work Ethic -- several months out of the year are spent building sets, props and costumes for the Troupe's productions and many hours are also spent cleaning, organizing and up keeping the theatre and our many work areas:
- tool room
- prop room
- dressing room
- green room
- make-up rooms
- costume room
- control booth
- ticket booth
- paint area
- lighting grid & catwalk
- storage areas of the tech ring and loading dock
- flat storage
- dimmer room & electric supply closet
- household drapery & houselight storage
- wood bin
- stage floors & draperies
Outstanding "A" range Production Time "Work Ethic" Rubric:
- high attendance
- quickly volunteers for work
- works independently, yet always checks in daily
- cleans up area, safely, thoroughly, completely
- works pleasantly, yet does not socialize too much
- follows instructions carefully and asks for clarification without victimizing tone
- always with crew or assignment
The Pink Panther Strikes Again! 2006, Entire Tech Crew
Below: sample of FALL FINAL project, in-scale models for spring production 2010 of Death on the Nile.
Player Piano for Death on the Nile (aka. 1929)
Group creating in scale model and in-scale graph paper (top, side, front views). Electric Piano will be built into LIFE SIZE cabinet in spring BUILD semester. Model helps determine exact details of project.
Completed Project, Spring Semester
* after 10 years of instructing this course, I find that the AVERAGE 9th grader (14 year old) is not quite mature enough to handle the out-of-your-seat nature of the course nor the discipline of safety (heights, $$ equipment, power tools, etc.)