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Answer Box

  • Best Little Followspot Op in Texas

    Richard Cadena | Answer Box | June 6, 2007I’m a pretty good followspot operator but I’m not a very good mind reader. During a production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in Austin, Texas the stage manager was calling followspots in rapid-fire succession as the girls descended the matching grand stairways stage left and stage right at the top of the show. We had a second or two to locate our target on a very busy stage, pick her up, and fade up on cue. Read More...
  • Revisiting Tragedy

    Jason Reberski | Answer Box | May 1, 2007 How a lighting designer for a college production created a dramatic fog effect that didn’t steal focus. As both a theatrical design student and a freelance lighting designer, I’ve come across my fair share of difficult situations. The challenge posed in Deborah Brevoort’s play The Women of Lockerbie, at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., was no exception.  Read More...
  • Moving the Marfa Lights

    John Landon | Answer Box | April 2, 2007 The world premier production of Marfa Lights, by Octavio Solis, opened our brand new $32 million Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex on the West Texas A&M University campus in the Happy State Bank Studio Theatre. The director, Royal R. Brantley, desired a set for the production that reflected the wide-open, rugged environment of the West Texas landscape near Marfa, Texas. The plot revolves around college students and their fraternity activities. They experience real and strange activity during their overnight adventures. The light design by Brandon Mitchell led us in and out of reality with natural and supernatural lighting. The scenic design by James Kemmerling achieved the director’s vision with eight large overlapping platforms resembling the flat, arid land of that area, as well as two large vertical shapes to break the space depicting the geological elements of West Texas. Read More...
  • Walk the Plank

    Clare Floyd DeVries | Answer Box | February 6, 2007  How Shakespeare Dallas rectified its “bridge” problems   When Shakespeare Dallas expanded their season into the fall, they expanded territory, too. Their 2005 production of Twelfth Night started at their home amphitheatre in Samuel Grand Park, Dallas, then transferred to a fountain-filled park in Addison, Texas. Read More...
  • A Tree Disappears in Ohio

    Dave Williams | Answer Box | December 28, 2006 A college production faces a unique arboreal predicament. Bryony Lavery’s 1983 play Witchcraze presents an unusual challenge to the set designer. Following the entrance of St. George in Act I, an entire landscape, including a small tree specified in the script, is supposed to burst into flowers. The tree is required to transform in full view, and the script specifies that it has to disappear completely for the second act. For the American premiere of this play at the Newark branch of the Ohio State University in March, 2005, solving this problem presented a considerable challenge to the design team. Read More...
  • Creating a Diversion

    Erik Viker | Answer Box | December 12, 2006Having many rigging linesets to choose from can sometimes become a curse when the battens are too close together to accommodate that extra-wide piece of scenery. If your counterweight rigging system pick-up lines pass through an accessible steel grid, you can use roller diverters to slightly change the vertical positions of each line and move an entire batten upstage or downstage several inches. The devices pictured here are suitable for a channel-steel grid and are modified from a design used at the Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas.The rollers are two-inch diameter conveyer rollers made of 12-gauge steel with steel ball bearings. Most industrial supply companies, such as McMaster-Carr, can provide rollers of this type, and a 300-pound capacity roller with a retractable 7/16” hex axle is used in this model. The retractable axle allows you to easily install the roller to the assembled frame. Read More...
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