Coming from a computer science and theater background my perspective of the design process is multifaceted. I see the descriptive metadata of the set's components alongside its process details and artistry. Wielding a camera instead of a keyboard for a few days, I saw firsthand how attentively A.C.T. works with its set designers and scene shop.
December 10, 2013 (scene shop: a few days into build)
January 2, 2014 (tech week: focus)
While walking among seats of the orchestra and sitting awkwardly on steps and rails on upper tiers for photos, I notice stage hands and run crew flying in new scenery, quickly zipping them back up to the grid as operators finish lighting them—causing me to have awkward lighting and blurs galore in most of my shots. I count about seven different linesets being used to hang faux weaponry, gilded frames, the now fully painted emblem I had seen half-constructed, and a peculiarly shaped chandelier.
January 3, 2014 (tech week: placing scenery and director's notes)
I notice the Scenic Charge Jennifer Bennes examining the set for paint touch-ups from the wing. It is not always the case that a set is complete when installed, some parts of a set design (like the balusters) have to be done in situ because of the transportation and install process. Noticing the intricacy of the finished rug, she explains to me the process of creating it. The rug used four hand-mixed silk dye hues (cranberry, gold, olive, and peacock), eighteen stencils, and a slurry of cutout petals—about fifty hours of work with two other scenic artists (B.J. Fredrickson and Letty Samonte).
January 7, 2014 (in office while rehearsals take place in theater)
With three-hundred photos accumulated to sift through and process, I double back to confirm the details of what I had seen onstage and in the shop. A.C.T. is a fairly small company for the quality of theater it produces, which leads to one of its best qualities—accessibility. Soon I'm emailing across departments to confirm deatils of the set, painting and lineset schedule. Because some photos were taken during focus (a stage in the tech process), most of the phrases were occluded by the foreground of the set and lighting. After piecing together parts of images I discovered they are actually notable lines spoken by Undershaft in Act III Scene II of Major Barbara. The lines reveal how the governing perspectives of the previous Undershaft owners of the munitions factory, changed with time. Pay attention and you will notice the lines are actually out of sequence! I also discovered that my lineset count was slightly off. From the house I had seen seven linesets used, when in fact there are around ten. These details are just some of the few, one would not notice during the timespan of the show.
Click here to buy tickets and learn more about Major Barbara.
Click here to see more photos from tech week.
Click here to see more photos from build in the scene shop.