Coast of Utopia. set designs. Behind the. Raising the Curtain on Chain Hoists. Sceneography Gains Converts

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1 HOW COMMUNITY THEATRE OUTREACH IS CHANGING LIVES A MICHIGAN HIGH SCHOOL GETS AN EXTREME AUDIO MAKEOVER FENCING WITH THE PIRATE QUEEN F E B R U A R Y Raising the Curtain on Chain Hoists Sceneography Gains Converts Behind the set designs of Broadway s marathon Coast of Utopia




5 Table Of Contents F e b r u a r y Features 26 Putting the Community in Theatre By performing outreach, community theatres can help those in need as well as broaden their audience base. By John Crawford 28 Full Makeover A Michigan high school overhauls its sound system. By Keith Clark 32 A Pirate s Fight for Me Fight director J. Steven White arms The Pirate Queen to the teeth. By Lisa Arnett Special Section Sets, Scenery and Rigging 34 The Art of Seeing A scenographer s approach to theatrical design focuses on that little detail called everything. By Fiona Kirk 36 The Eyes of the Storm Scott Pask talks about what it s like splitting design duties between two people for one three-play cycle. By Iris Dorbian 38 In Chains Chain hoists are becoming more predominant as rigging systems in theatres. By Karl G. Ruling 40 Resource Roundup Designers provide the vision, but chain hoists provide the power. By Richard Cadena Spotlight Honolulu 20 Honolulu Theatre for Youth A new home, a milestone anniversary and changes behind the scenes for Hawaii s Honolulu Theatre for Youth. By Sue Kiyabu 22 Hawaii Pacific University A local performer forges a thriving theatre program at Hawaii Pacific University. By Sue Kiyabu COURTESY OF MANATEE PLAYERS SCOTT GROLLER 26 36

6 Departments 7 Editor s Note It s All a Dream. By Iris Dorbian 10 In the Green Room Two notable artistic directors, Nicholas Martin and Lynne Meadow change roles, and they re not the only artistic directors on the move, either. TCG gets a new executive director, DreamWorks helps schools dream big, and more. 14 Tools of the Trade A wintry stew of new goodies for the gear box. 16 Light on the Subject How to overcome the lack of power in non-traditional venues. By Brent Stainer 18 On Broadway The Fantasticks is revived, and a new monthly feature for SD debuts. By Bryan Reesman 24 Vital Stats Meet Peter E. Sargent. By Kevin Mitchell 45 Off the Shelf New books reveal the hidden side of getting it done in the theatrical world. By Stephen Peithman 46 The Play s the Thing Short, sweet and anything else you want them to be. One-acts take center stage this month. By Stephen Peithman 48 Answer Box Shakespeare Dallas rectifies a bridge problem. By Clare Floyd DeVries On our cover: (left to right) Martha Plimpton, David Harbour and Jennifer Ehle in a scene from Shipwreck, Part Two of Tom Stoppard s trilogy Coast of Utopia Photography by: Paul Kolnik PAUL KOLNIK 18 40



9 kimberly butler Editor s Note It s All a Dream In this month s Greenroom column, there s a news item about how DreamWorks, producer of Dreamgirls, the film adaptation of the stage musical, recently offered to pay all licensing costs for all noncommercial productions of the show, including high schools, colleges and community theatres, as a way to build word-of-mouth publicity for the movie. It made me think of MTI s Broadway Junior, a collection of musicals specifically adapted into 70-minute shows for middle school-aged performers. Music Theatre International (MTI), one of the industry s major licensing agencies, launched this program to forge stronger ties with the school community while introducing students (some of whom might become the Sondheims of tomorrow) to the joys of this art form from a perspective appropriate to young teens. Among the titles in the Broadway Junior catalogue are Annie, Into the Woods, Guys and Dolls, Godspell and Once on this Island. To learn more about Broadway Junior, visit the Web site at Some of you have ed me asking about SD s own Web site, which had not been updated for quite a while. It s my pleasure to announce that the newly redesigned, streamlined Stage Directions Web site (www. is now up and running! Included in the Web site are some articles from the current issue, Web-exclusive articles you won t find anywhere else and a constant stream of regularly updated industry news. Check out the Backstage Forums and let us know what you think of an issue, as well as any topics you feel we should be covering. Whether you start a new thread or respond to a running one, we want to know what s on your mind and how we can help you solve any production dilemmas you may be facing. Tell us! Since Timeless Communications acquisition of Stage Directions, we ve actively expanded our technical theatre coverage with more compelling features. Starting in this month s issue, Stage Directions is delighted to unveil its newest column, On Broadway. Written by Bryan Reesman, a prolific entertainment journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide array of publications, among them the New York Times, Spin and SD s sister publication FRONT of HOUSE (where this column originally ran), On Broadway explores in detail the sound design of a specific production, either on the Great White Way or, as in this case this month, off-broadway, with the current revival of The Fantasticks. We hope you ll enjoy this addition to our regular staples. Iris Dorbian Editor Stage Directions February 2007

10 Publisher Terry Lowe Editor Iris Dorbian Audio Editor Bill Evans Lighting & Staging Editor Richard Cadena Managing Editor Jacob Coakley Associate Editor David McGinnis Contributing Writers Lisa Arnett, Keith Clark, John Crawford, Clare Floyd DeVries, Sue Kibayu, Fiona Kirk, Kevin Mitchell, Bryan Reesman, Karl Ruling, Brent Stainer Consulting Editor Stephen Peithman ART Art Director Garret Petrov Graphic Designers Dana Pershyn, Michelle Sacca Production Production Manager Linda Evans WEB Web Designer Josh Harris ADVERTISING Advertising Director Greg Gallardo Eastern U.S. Account Mgr Warren Flood Western U.S. Account Mgr Holly O Hair Audio Advertising Manager Peggy Blaze OPERATIONS General Manager William Vanyo Office Manager Mindy LeFort CIRCULATION BUSINESS OFFICE Stark Services P.O. Box North Hollywood, CA South Eastern Ave. Suite 14-J Las Vegas, NV TEL FAX Stage Directions (ISSN: ) Volume 20, Number 02 Published monthly by Timeless Communications Corp South Eastern Ave., Suite 14J, Las Vegas, NV It is distributed free to qualified individuals in the lighting and staging industries in the United States and Canada. Periodical Postage paid at Las Vegas, NV office and additional offices. Postmaster please send address changes to: Stage Directions, PO Box North Hollywood, CA Editorial submissions are encouraged but must include a self-addressed stamped envelope to be returned. Stage Directions is a Registered Trademark. All Rights Reserved. Duplication, transmission by any method of this publication is strictly prohibited without permission of Stage Directions. Advisory Board Joshua Alemany Rosco Julie Angelo American Association of Community Theatre Robert Barber BMI Supply Ken Billington Lighting Designer Roger claman Rose Brand Patrick Finelli, PhD University of South Florida Gene Flaharty Mehron Inc. Cathy Hutchison Acoustic Dimensions Keith Kankovsky Apollo Design Becky Kaufman Period Corsets Todd Koeppl Chicago Spotlight Inc. Kimberly Messer Lillenas Drama Resources John Meyer Meyer Sound John Muszynski Theater Director Maine South High School Scott Parker Pace University/USITT-NY Ron Ranson Theatre Arts Video Library David Rosenberg I. Weiss & Sons Inc. Karen Rugerio Dr. Phillips High School Ann Sachs Sachs Morgan Studio Bill Sapsis Sapsis Rigging Richard Silvestro Franklin Pierce College OTHER TIMELESS COMMUNICATIONS PUBLICATIONS


12 By Iris Dorbian In The Greenroom theatre buzz M A R T I N T O F L Y T H E C O O P Nicholas Martin, artistic director of Boston s Huntington Theatre Company, will be stepping down from his post in June Though a successor has not yet been named, Martin will be stepping into a newly created position called artist emeritus with the Huntington. Boston has been a great artistic home for me, said Martin in a statement, and I expect that to continue for some time, even as I free my calendar from most administrative duties to spend more time in the rehearsal hall in New York and other parts of the country. Martin, who began his tenure as AD of Huntington Theatre Company in 2000, has directed 14 shows there. His production of Butley, starring Nathan Lane, is currently running on Broadway, and his Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme transferred to Lincoln Center. Nicholas Martin During his run as creative head, Huntington built two new theatres and launched a play development wing. He was also able to attract top talent and raise Huntington s profile on the national theatre scene. COURTESY OF HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY MTC s Meadow Takes a Break In a startling development for one of New York City s major resident non-profits, Manhattan Theatre Club artistic director Lynne Meadow has elected to take a yearlong sabbatical from her longtime post for the season. Daniel Sullivan, who has directed several MTC shows (Proof, Sight Unseen, Brooklyn Boy, Psychopathia Sexualis) and is the former artistic director of the Seattle Repertory Theatre, will serve as acting artistic COURTESY OF MTC Twin Cities Arts Leader Goes East Also set to depart from her post but permanently is Teresa Eyring, managing director of the Tony Award-winning Children s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. Starting in March, Eyring will become the executive director of the NYC-based Theatre Communications Group. She replaces Ben Cameron, who left the position in June TCG is a national organization that works to strengthen and nurture the professional not-for-profit American theatre. On her imminent job change, Eyring says, Taking on the leadership of TCG allows me to pursue my own lifelong mission of making theatre a central part of community life in this nation and beyond. TCG s programs are exemplary, and I am excited by the chance to move the organization and the field to a new phase of growth and development. At CTC, Eyring spearheaded a number of ambitious undertakings, which included overseeing both a $30 million capital campaign and the construction of CTC s new Michael Graves-designed facility for pre-schoolers and teens. She also negotiated the New York transfer of A Year with Frog and Toad and secured $5 million in bonding from the state of Minnesota. (left to right) CTC then-managing director Teresa Eyring, board chair Ken Piper and artistic director Peter Brosius after accepting the 2003 Regional Theatre Tony Award in New York City. Anita and Steve Shevett Lynne Meadow director, working alongside MTC s executive producer, Barry Grove. Meadow, who has been consulting with Grove on the planning of the season, is expected to return to her position for the season. Says Meadow on her extended break, After 34 years as artistic director, I welcome the opportunity for more time to travel and see the work of other theatres Knowing that Dan will be working with my closest artistic associates ensures my complete confidence in the continuity of our mission. I remain as committed as ever to MTC, and I look forward to coming back with new ideas and a greater vision for our next chapters. In spring 2007, Meadow will direct the world premiere of Charles Busch s Our Leading Lady at New York City Center Stage II. Meadow plans to begin her sabbatical in August February

13 theatre buzz Shirley Jones, who began her stage career after being discovered by legendary composer/lyricist duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II during replacement auditions for Broadway s South Pacific, has been tapped for a special honor the ninth Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theater. Presented by Pittsburgh CLO and in conjunction with the families of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, the award will be given to Jones on June 2, 2007, at the Pink Frolic Ball at the Hilton Hotel. Oscar Winner to Receive Honor Created in 1988, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theater recognizes the lifetime contributions of outstanding talent in that genre. Previous recipients have included Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim and Bernadette Peters. Jones, who starred in the film versions of two Rodgers and Hammerstein classics, Carousel and Oklahoma, is perhaps best known to a generation of TV viewers as the singing matriarch in the popular 1970s series, The Partridge Family. She is also an accomplished film actress and received Stage to Shore Up Oscar Hopes an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1960 movie Elmer Gantry. Shirley Jones Speaking of the Academy Awards, DreamWorks, producer of this year s Oscar hopeful Dreamgirls, the film adaptation of the stage musical, has been mounting a remarkable publicity campaign using noncommercial theatres nationwide as its linchpin. According to an article written by Mark Olsen that appeared in the December 12, 2006 edition of the Los Angeles Times, DreamWorks has been paying licensing costs for all high schools, colleges, community theatres and other organizations that want to present the musical. So far, more than 50 productions of the show have been performed across the country, in venues including Hackensack, New Jersey; Milwaukee, New Orleans and Boise, Idaho, reports Olsen. The marketing team of DreamWorks brainstormed the idea during the summer of 2005 after they viewed a videotape of the Broadway production of Dreamgirls at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Says Michael Vollman, executive vice president of marketing at Dreamworks, who saw the video, Watching the play, I realized that if people started mounting this, everybody who worked on it, everybody who saw it, everybody who was in it, would go see the movie. So I thought of it as a way to build word of mouth. Vollman contacted Tams-Witmark Music Library, which is in charge of licensing for Dreamgirls and arranged for DreamWorks to cover the noncommercial licensing fees for He then used Tams-Witmark s contacts, as well as the media, to publicize the offer. DreamWorks has allocated $250,000 for the project at the time the article appeared in print. The 2007 Academy Awards will be presented live on February 25, at Hollywood s Kodak Theatre. February

14 ART Loses AD Another major regional theatre will be experiencing a major loss in Robert Woodruff, artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. since 2001, will be stepping down from his post this June. Woodruff will return to New York City where he will teach and direct. Says Woodruff on his impending departure, It has been an honor and a privilege for me to work with this community of artists, students and supporters; the staff of the theatre, the actors, the visiting directors and designers, and the directors and actors in training here. I m proud of the work we did and of the art we created together. I want to thank everyone involved both in Cambridge and in the distant corners of the world for the opportunity to make such exciting and innovative theatre. Prior to joining ART, Woodruff founded the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco, as well as the Bay Area Play Festival. He has also worked at many of the country s top theatres, including Lincoln Center, the Mark Taper Forum, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Guthrie and the Goodman. theatre buzz Robert Woodruff Rudolph and Sletten Named Construction Mgr. for Green Music Center Rudolph and Sletten has been chosen as the construction manager at risk for the Donald and Maureen Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. The center is a $59 million public/private partnership and is acoustically designed to become a sought-after music and arts venue. The 101,250 square foot project is slated for completion in September The Green Music Center will be the new home of the Santa Rosa Symphony and the summertime Green Music Festival, as well as hundreds of guest artists. The Green Music Center will be one of the centerpieces for music and the arts in Northern California and in the world, said project executive Robert Stokes of Rudolph and Sletten s Roseville office, which is overseeing the construction. The concert hall is being built by a team of experts utilizing the latest technology. The result will be a world class facility that the community can be proud of for years to come. A preview of the Green Music Center The Center s concert hall seats 1,400 and is designed to replicate the acoustics and intimate setting of the Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood in Massachusetts (summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and the Grosser Musikvereinsaal in Vienna. The rear wall of the Concert Hall, like that of Ozawa Hall, slides open to an outdoor lawn accommodating up to 10,000 additional guests. Accompanying the concert hall is a 250-seat recital hall with high walls and the acoustics of a 17th century European cathedral, suited especially for choral music, recitals and chamber music. The center also includes two large rehearsal halls, practice rooms and ensemble rooms, a restaurant, hospitality center, three departmental suites, faculty offices and two instructional classrooms. Rudolph and Sletten is charged with self-performing the structural concrete on the project. One of the biggest challenges is the construction of the concert hall s cast-in-place concrete shell, reaching heights of more than 70 feet. Rudolph and Sletten was selected for the project because of its experience in building state-of-the-art and technologically complex facilities within the arts, including the Community School of Music and the Arts (CSMA) in Mountain View; the Fox Theatre in San Jose, new home to Opera San Jose; the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University; and COPIA, the Center for Food, Wine and the Arts in Napa. The off-broadway Woman s Theatre Project, a 28-year-old company that has nurtured the careers of playwrights on the scale of Emily Mann, Suzan Lori-Parks, Karen Hartman and Neena Barber, is currently without an artistic director, and according to a January 4, 2007 article by Kate Taylor in the New York Sun, that s likely to remain so for some time. The company, which recently opened Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen, by Kathryn Walat, lost its artistic director, Loretta Greco (who directed this play, her last for the Woman s Theatre Project) last summer after she resigned from her post following differences with the board. Julie Crosby, producing director of the Women s Theatre Project, says the company may fill this void by doing something a bit aberrant from the norm: We, like other theatres, are looking at expanding opportunities for N o O n e H o m e artists by having multiple outside directors come and get passionate about a particular project, while not being tied down to a five-year-contract. According to Taylor, shortly before Greco quit, the board froze the funds for a production of Melanie Marnich s Cradle of Man, which Greco postponed producing in 2005 for budgetary reasons. We couldn t find a way to bridge the gap between us, she says, referring to the rift between her and the board. Founded in 1978 by Julia Miles, then the associate artistic director of the off-broadway American Place Theatre, the Women s Theatre Project, unlike other NYC-based companies devoted to producing women s work exclusively, has its own theatre, a 199- seat venue named after its founder. It remains to be seen how this latest development will affect the future of this company. 12 February

15 industry news Architects Open Gotham Branch JCJ Architecture (formerly Jeter, Cook and Jepson), has announced that it will open a New York City office in the Empire State Building. With offices in Hartford, Conn. and San Diego and more than 180 employees, JCJ, which was founded more than 70 years ago, is excited about its company s geographic expansion. A noteworthy addition to its New York staff is Stewart Jones, formerly with Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, where he served as director of the firm s performing arts practice. At HHPA, Jones oversaw myriad high-profile theatre projects, which included the restoration of Radio City Music Hall, the New Amsterdam Theatre and the New Victory Theater. He was also the principal-in-charge of new theatre constructions, among them the Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey; the Arkansas Repertory Theatre; and Georgetown University s Davis Performing Arts Center. Says Jones on his joining JCJ Architecture, My decision to join [this firm] was driven by the company s wholehearted commitment to the New York marketplace, and to the development of a strong performing arts practice that leverages my particular area of expertise and interest. changing roles Strand Taps Gambino for Sales Post Strand Lighting has named Steve Gambino as its national sales manager. Gambino, who will be based in New York, will be working with Strand s regional sales managers Walt Dowling (southern U.S.), Randy Pybas (western region) and Richard Goode (midwest and Canada) in his new position. Gambino, who recently worked with Lightolier as its northeast regional sales manager, is excited about his new post: I love the challenges our customers present to us in their building designs and the satisfaction of being able to offer refreshing and intelligent products from Strand Lighting as solutions. February

16 Tools of the Trade Winter Hardware This month brings in a diverse array of new products for your review. Hy-Safe s Unirail Safety First Hy-Safe s Unirail system is a versatile, hands-free continuous fall protection system that facilitates worker safety and compliance. The system is capable of functioning in truss-mounted applications. It also locks onto the rail and can traverse corners. The extruded aluminum rigid rail eliminates deflection found in cable systems for low-clearance situations. Expansion plates allow the system rail to float and expand and contract in a variety of environmental conditions. For more information, visit Chauvet s COLORado 3 Wash Up The Chauvet COLORado 3 is a wash bank fitted with a total of 54 luminous one-watt LEDs and featuring RGB mixing with or without DMX control. With an ingress protection (IP) rating of 65, it is intended for either indoor or outdoor wash applications. Additional functions include chase, flash and strobing. Units are stackable. With multiple interlock points, COLORado 3 units can be attached to create a strip and a bank for use as a blinder light or as a wall. Each unit consists of three pods of 18 one-watt LEDS arranged in circles. Life expectancy of the diodes is estimated at 100,000 hours. Seven of the unit s 12 DMX channels allow individual control over the colors red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow and white. RGB mixing in each of the three pods is also controllable individually. Software features include DMX-512 selfaddressing. In addition, ID addressing allows for multiple units to utilize a single DMX address while maintaining control over individual units. An optional COLORado controller allows timed control of the fixture s onset and turnoff; accesses are built in programs as well. COLORado 3 feeds from a power source of either 110V or 230V interchangeably. Beam angle is 300. To find out more details, visit ETC s Congo jr The ETC Congo jr lighting control console is the compact version of the larger Congo console. With identical channel and output counts, as well as the same operating software, Congo jr is meant to handle lighting rigs with conventional lights, moving lights, LEDs, media servers and other DMX-controlled multiparameter devices. Congo jr also features an optional Master Playback Wing. Congo jr is intended for space-compromised venues such as touring applications, TV studios, black box theatres, worship-production and event lighting. An independent main console, Congo jr can also be used as a backup desk to the main console in a more complex system. Coinciding with the release of Congo jr is ETC s introduction of Congo software version 4.2.1, which serves as a patch, primarily supporting the new Congo jr hardware. This software also includes fixes for issues found in v ETC recommends Congo owners update their systems. The software, and more info, can be found at Elk River ResQue Cord System Congo Line Coming to the Rescue Sapsis Rigging, one of the industry s top rigging manufacturers, recently unveiled its Elk River ResQue Cord System, which is designed for self-rescue. It is a NoPac shock-absorbing lanyard with a built-in ladder ResQue system with Q Cord Activation line. It reduces hang time that can prevent additional injury, reduce discomfort, stress and even downtime. The price is $90. Other new products currently available from Sapsis Rigging include the Zorber Shock Absorbing Lanyard, the Single Leg Shock Absorbing Lanyard with Rebar Hook, the Double Leg Shock Absorbing Lanyard with Rebar Hook and the Ultra Stretch Shock Absorbing Lanyard. For more information, check out Da-Lite s S300 Lace and Grommet Frame System Frame It The Da-Lite Series 300 Lace and Grommet Frame System is constructed of three-inch diameter aluminum tubing; it includes lacing cord and positioned S hooks for attaching a Da-Lite Lace and Grommet projection screen surface. The Series 300 has a black powder-coated finish, or may be specified with the optional seven-inch-wide Pro-Trim masking cover that conceals the screen binding and lacing cord. The Series 300 is also available as a curved model with any degree of single axis curve. The frame is recommended for use with any of Da-Lite s vinyl front projection surfaces in sizes up to 90 feet wide and rear projection surfaces up to 40 feet wide. This frame is intended for use in auditoriums, theatres and other large venues. For more information visit 14 February


18 Light On The Subject By Brent Stainer Juicing Up How to overcome a lack of power in a non-traditional theatrical venue. Fishnet Theatre has wired inexpensive LED night-lites to each feeder line. This allows for rapid identification of any circuit that is lost. Dimmer packs will need to be prepared to receive the 120 volt power that is available in your facility. Lighting a show in a multi-purpose room is extremely challenging: There are usually no lighting positions and too many windows. Yet scores of performances around the world happen daily in less-than-ideal facilities. Often, the largest hurdle is the lack of available power. If the venue cannot support the power needs, the best light plot fails. Keep the size of your acting area proportionate to the amount of power available not to the amount of space available. A significant problem in improvised spaces is supplying adequate front-of-house lighting. By tightening the acting area, you will need less key lighting. This is a major problem in cafeteria theatres, when the stage spans 30 to 40 feet. Just because your proscenium doesn t limit your set doesn t mean you should have a large set. Coordinate your efforts with the set designer. So, the more power you have, the larger you can make your set. The secret is simply finding the power. You need to determine how many 110V circuits are available. Notice I didn t say outlets. A circuit is a pair of wires transmitting power from a breaker at the electrical panel. Electrical outlets are wired to the circuit. Having three outlets across your stage doesn t mean you can take a full load from each of them. They are likely on the same circuit, and therefore the same breaker. Determining which outlet is assigned to what breaker isn t too difficult. The easiest and simplest method is to simply plug a light in, and turn breakers off until you find the correct one. However, the custodian may not be excited about you randomly shutting off power to various parts of the building. The second method is a circuit checker available at most hardware or electrical stores. A plug transmitter is inserted into the outlet in question. The receiver is a sensor that is used at the breaker panel. Finding the breaker with the strongest signal determines the correct circuit. It takes a little practice, but it can provide valuable information and it doesn t require shutting off the circuit. Now document it. Draw a simple floor plan and insert the outlets with the correct breaker number. If there are duplicates, insert them as well! Knowing that two nearby outlets are on the same circuit is almost as valuable as finding two circuits. If you need more, you ll need to extend your search. Here s a point to consider: Whatever circuit you find, you will be running an extension cord from that outlet. Try to avoid high traffic areas and of course, tape or protect any cords that are across hallways or aisles. Some of the best places to find circuits are next to the breakers themselves there is often a sole, dedicated outlet near the panel. The kitchen uses a lot of electricity for cooking and theatre. Perhaps the electricians weren t thinking of us, but it certainly works well. Often several circuits can be found there. It is also a simple matter for an electrician to wire a box that can split 220V into usable 120V. You ll find these 220V outlets behind your oven, dryer and possibly by the church s baptistery heater. I have seen touring groups remove the circuit of an existing 220V or three-phase breaker in the panel, and replace it with their own feeder cord to the dimmers. Don t even consider this unless you are an electrician. It is also illegal in many jurisdictions without a permit. If you have an electrician in your organization, have him install a couple of dedicated outlets and save yourself some grief. So how many circuits do you really need? I cannot answer that for you. The touring group Fishnet Theatre in Washington State typically uses an acting area of about 12 feet wide and 10 feet deep, and they get four circuits for lighting. The size of your set and the needs of the light plot will determine how many circuits 16 February

19 An electrician can easily manufacture a heavy duty cord that brings 2 or more 120 volt circuits from an existing 220V source. you will need or the light plot will be limited by lack of them. Make sure the instruments you do have operate efficiently. If you use FEL lamps, switch to 575W FLKs. They provide comparable light at about half of the watts. Can you use 500W PAR 64s in lieu of the 1,000W variety? How about 500W BTL lamps instead of BTRs? Don t plan on getting more than 1,800W per circuit. Some breakers don t give you all 2,400W, and often circuits have unforeseen loads such as microwaves, houselights and coffeepots. If it is going to be tight, ask the custodian to unplug other appliances on your circuits. Make sure the coffee for intermission doesn t conflict with your plans. Be aware that some older or residential breakers may only be 15 amps (1,800W) instead of 20 amps (2,400W). Additionally, some old facilities may still use fuses. Have a replacement supply, and of course don t ever bypass a fuse by inserting a penny or other item. Let the fuses and breakers work like they are supposed to. Be creative with your dimmer assignments. Share key lighting loads between circuits. Try to have each light cue draw an equal amount of power from each circuit. Finally, don t be discouraged. Provide the best lighting possible with the available tools and don t feel bad if you have to make adaptations. You are providing lighting in a facility that wasn t designed for theatre, and I have learned that the audience is extremely appreciative when you bring quality to them and that may mean using four power circuits and 12 instruments. It is all about pre-planning, adaptability and flexibility. Know what equipment you have, know what power is available and plan to use them as efficiently as possible. Brent Stainer is a freelance lighting designer in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. He is also the house designer for both the PUD Auditorium and the touring troupe Fishnet Theatre. February

20 On Broadway By Bryan Reesman Tripping The Sound Fantastic SD talks to a low-profile veteran designer about the challenges of working on the revival of a beloved musical. After an historic 42-year run at the Sullivan Square Theatre in the West Village, The Fantasticks closed in But the beloved, simply staged show about a young couple whose widowed fathers try to keep them apart (or are they really?) has returned to the new Snapple Theatre near Times Square. The newly created venue was a challenge for sound designer Domonick Sack, a 20-year Broadway veteran who has designed shows like Little Shop of Horrors and The Rocky Horror Show, and worked with designers like Peter Fitzgerald through his Sound Associates company. He is also a lyric tenor and extra chorister for the Metropolitan Opera. After the Snapple Theatre was sound reinforced so street noise would not intrude on the show and the A/C system was quiet enough to not interfere as well Sack designed the sound system to be as surreptitious as possible; he succeeded admirably. In fact, he was so proud of the final show, with everyone s collaborative efforts, that he chose to conduct his first interview in 20 years about The Fantasticks. Left to right: Martin Vidnovic, Santino Fontana, Sara Jean Ford and Leo Burmester in The Fantasticks Stage Directions: I have to confess that I never saw the show in its original run! Domonic Sack: That was an interesting thing for me because I had never seen it when it was done downtown, and they had never used sound before. The biggest challenge was that, since we were playing in a thrust stage with an audience on three sides, it was difficult when the actors play to the off side, because their backs are to 50 to 60 percent of the audience. Even in a good thrust theatre it s hard to understand what the person is saying when they re not facing you. There s no intelligibility there. So that was compounded by the fact that they had never used sound on the show before, and the writers did not want to use sound again. They wanted to see what would happen. They wanted to start with no sound. But there was no address system or emergency paging system in there, so we had to put that in. So I said, Why don t we put in a tiny sound system and try to hide everything and see how it goes? I do a lot of opera reinforcements. My background is classical music. I developed a system where I used foot mics. I came up with an acoustical idea that basically put the correct time delay in for each speaker system. I took five clusters of speakers, a center, two lefts and two rights, that basically covered the audience area. There are three audience seating areas, the off left, the center and the right, and there are three rings of speakers, one that covers the first two rows, another that covers the next three rows and another that covers the back three rows. They re time delayed within themselves, so they have a zero point for each section. If you re standing and facing the section directly from center stage, that s my zero line. From that particular point, all the speakers in the room are exactly timelined. What I did was reinforce the acoustical sound from that particular point. I wanted to work with what I had in the room and not against it. But for the acoustical idea I had in the room I needed to do that because people were so used to not having any sound on the show that anything that resembled any kind of artificial type of reinforcement or something that was out of time with the acoustical side, people would pick up on it right away. So I used time delay to basically match the acoustic time for a single position in the center of the stage. all photography by Joan Marcus 18 February

21 Thomas Bruce in The Fantasticks I m assuming it has to be a pretty tiny delay? Yeah, it was very small, but there was some there. The time from the speaker matched the acoustic time. It s easy to do. Now if you re stage left or stage right, that point becomes untimed. If you go stage left, that means I need more time in the house right speakers and less time in the opposite side speakers. As soon as you leave that center position, you ve now left your timed position. I used a small digital console, the Yamaha DM1000. These digital consoles offer a lot of new features that analog consoles do not. One of the main features is that each input offers time delay, and the outputs do also. How many microphones are you running for the cast? There are six. They re pretty much hidden. The theatre only has an eight-foot ceiling. I thought it was horrible, but it ended up working out fine. I actually benefited more than anyone from it because where you would normally put foot mics on the floor, I put them on the ceiling, which you can never, ever do. It works because I was closer to the action with the ceiling mics than I ever would ve gotten on the floor. Plus everybody would have seen them, but here hardly anybody notices. In fact, the guy that recorded it from Lincoln Center wasn t even aware that there was a sound system in there, and this guy listens to musicals every week, which I thought was really a hoot. Do the microphones include the piano and harp players? There are six cardioid microphones to pick up the singers there s center, left, far left, right, far right and then there s one right in the center. It s this little head that peaks through the insulation up in the ceiling and that handles the rear. They re all AKG 391s with swivel heads. They re just a normal cardioid pattern. The harp has an AKG 391, and the piano has no miking at all. The sound seems very natural. I noticed that the actors are not miked when they go down the aisles. When they go on the aisle, we purposely didn t mic it. It s totally acoustic. It made it seem more authentic, and that s really continued on page 44 February

22 Brad Goda Theatre Spotlight By Sue Kiyabu New Beginnings Eddie Rell A new home, a milestone anniversary and changes behind the scenes mark a turning point for Hawaii s only professional theatre company. From DisTroy Achilles Honolulu Theatre for Youth is one of the oldest professional theatre companies for youth in the country. It turned 50 years old in 2005, the same year it took permanent residence at the Tenney Theatre and appointed Eric Johnson as its new artistic director. Previously, venues changed with each project, limiting not just play selection, but performance times and technical abilities. With its new artistic director and historical digs right in the heart of downtown Honolulu, the venerable company began a new era. The 300-seat Tenney Theatre, which is located on the grounds of St. Andrew s Cathedral (founded in 1867), was dedicated in October HTY made big changes to the historic theatre to accommodate its needs. The company hung blackout curtains along the Anglican style gothic windows. It also added a light board and multimedia board, upgraded the rigging and electrical systems, repainted the interior, added eight feet of stage and upgraded the sound system. Outside, they added a small box office. To contrast the staid exterior, they transformed the blacktop leading to the entrance into a Candyland-style, patchwork walkway. It s a long time coming, Johnson says. Having a permanent home helps us establish who we are and gives people a grounding. The new space also gives the company new creative freedom. Prior to its home at the Tenney, each show was created and carried on site. Sometimes they played outdoors, sometimes indoors. Sometimes there was air conditioning, sometimes not. Its new air-conditioned home allows the company to invest and upgrade its media and lighting equipment and also allows for a scene shop and permanent rehearsal space, says H. Bart McGeehan, production manager and resident designer. We had limitations with each space, he says. If we were performing outdoors, we obviously couldn t do video. There was no theatrical lighting. Now, we are able to do more. Cooler, faster, more interactive shows in keeping in time with the kids. Most children in Hawaii are familiar with HTY, Hawaii s only non-profit professional theatre company. For more than 20 years, HTY has made a mission ensuring all of Hawaii s children have access to live theatre. Despite its new home, actors, props and costumes regularly travel throughout the islands even to the small island of Lanai. Annually, the company gives 300 school performances in addition to the 80 public performances. That means shows are designed to be stripped down and quickly. Turnaround time between shows is sometimes less than 48 hours. Each traveling show must break down into standard, airline-regulation luggage sizes. And because smaller islands in the state can only be reached by smaller planes, that limits each piece to 40 pounds and 36 inches in length. Designers have to design shows according to different specs, From the HTY production of 1000 Cranes 20 February

23 Brad Goda Theatre Spotlight McGeehan says. Sometimes we play a 2,000-seat-theatre, sometimes it s the school gym, but it all has to break down to luggage size. And while its work in school gyms under flourescent bulbs isn t theatrically ideal, it s estimated that 85 percent of school-aged Hawaii children, who number more than children, see an HTY show annually. This year, HTY celebrated its five millionth audience member. HTY has an extensive program of outreach and education designed to facilitate original work. In-school workshops, artist residencies, playwriting workshops, developmental workshops for schools and teachers and organizational partnerships with agencies all contribute to new work. One-third of their performances are world premieres. Hawaii s large multicultural melting pot, while sharing many of the same values as mainland culture, dictates the plays tone and selection. Many of the hour-long plays are written in Hawaii s Creole English pidgin. Even though our work tours other places, what I think is really exciting is that our work really reflects our community in the Pacific, which is distinct and really specific, Johnson says. Theatre can reflect your backyard for all its complexities and still be of great interest to others. Last year, an HTY original work played the Seattle Children s Theatre for more than four months. The play, Nothing is the Same, focused on fifth graders on the day of the attacks at Pearl Harbor. Nothing is the Same grew out of a partnership with a school. Fifth graders interviewed students who were in the fifth grade at the time of the attacks. The oral history project was then turned into a play by the playwright-in-residence, Y York. Originally workshopped at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the play deals with racism and multicultural societies. And though the central characters speak pidgin and its issues are directed toward the Hawaii-based community, the Seattle show sold out before the run began. This season, HTY teamed with the department of health to promote public and environmental health through a series of six original works. Other collaborations include working with local ska and punk rock bands to create a teenaged focused play based on their music and working with a sexual abuse treatment center to create a play that will be performed only for teenaged males. The latter project is about how men treat women and about sexual violence toward women. It will have curricula for teachers. It s a different kind of partnership, but it s with a group that s interested in a social aspect of this community, Johnson says. It s a piece of theatre. It s not a docudrama or after-school special. Whether it s working with a local punk A scene from the HTY staging of Sport band or working with a health agency, those are the kinds of partnerships I want to explore. At 52, HTY s national reputation is solid. But with its new home at the Tenney comes the promise of more contemporary and dynamic work. Sue Kiyabu is a freelance writer living in Hawaii. February

24 School Spotlight By Sue Kiyabu Training In Paradise A local performer forges a thriving theatre program. When Hawaii Loa College merged with Hawaii Pacific University in 1992, neither college had a theatre department. Hawaii Loa College offered classes they classified as theatre, such as interpersonal communication, but offered little options for those interested in all aspects of theatre. The fallout from the merger left a single, traditional theatre class producing a play. Not only did the three students who enrolled need a play, but they needed an instructor, instruction and a space to perform. Joyce Maltby, a well-known actor in the Honolulu theatre community and former professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, stepped up to the challenge, and with the trio of students put on The Heritage. The students worked on costumes and helped produce the show in what was then called the performing arts lab. Since that time, HPU s theatre department has grown into a critically lauded program and garnered many awards from the Hawaii State Theatre Council. The HPU program puts on two shows a season, though sometimes a third is included in the lineup. Productions routinely sell out. The liberal arts college now offers a full load of theatre courses, an individualized Bachelor of Arts degree and a minor in theatre. HPU offers a total of three production classes, which focus on lighting, props, costuming and stage management; one can be taken twice for a total of 12 units. By Production III, students are qualified to assist in lighting design for HPU productions. They also can take a laboratory class and a seminar. In addition to Maltby s full-time position, Karen Archibald works part-time as the theatre manager and Larry Bialock and Betty Burdick work part-time as adjunct professors. The program, while popular with students, has graduated about a handful of individualized theatre majors. The private, not-for-profit college provides small studentteacher ratios overall, but in theatre classes, those numbers range from two to 10 students per instructor. The Hawaii Pacific University is a young college, originally founded in There is not one campus but two, and they are split on opposite sides of Oahu. One campus is located in the center of Honolulu s business district and the other sits eight miles away, on the suburban side of the Ko olau mountain photo by Janine Myers range. The university recently announced it will construct a new performing arts center, which will include a new theatre, but specifics have yet to be determined. The current Paul and Vi Loo Theatre is located on the third floor of the main building on the suburban, or Hawaii Loa, campus. The 99-seat theatre occupies a wing across from the school s library. From the exterior, there s little difference between the theatre and traditional florescent-lit classrooms. But inside a thrust-style, one-foot-high stage juts halfway into the room and four tiers of seats take up the remaining space. Maltby struggled for the first two years, not only trying to drum up interest in the program, but to attract committed students for twice-yearly productions. In 1995 she decided the only way to grow the program was to open the audition process to the community. Students can enroll in any course or work on any show without an audition and receive academic theatre credits, but to perform in the twice-yearly shows, students must audition; often, they are up against seasoned professionals. Some of Hawaii s more popular performers, like Don Pomes, worked in New York before landing in Hawaii. Pomes performed in the longest-running off-broadway show, The Fantasticks, dur- From the Hawaii Pacific University production of The Miser 22 February

25 photo by Karen Archibald Colorful characters and production elements formed two key elements in the HPU production of Aloha Rosie s. Another scene from The Miser photo by Janine Myers ing its original incarnation. He has been featured in several of HPU s productions. People end up here in Hawaii, who have done a lot of professional theatre, Maltby says. Actors they want to act. So even if they ve had it as their vocation, now they have it as their avocation. The community/student process allows mentorship within the community, and it also produces a competitive drive. No productions are technically off limits, though the size of the theatre does limit play selection. The intimate stage has no wing space, so there is no place to store props or change scenery. Everything that needs to be onstage is onstage, says Archibald. Maltby makes a point to perform classics worthy of a university. Successful HPU productions include Molière s The Miser, James Goldman s The Lion in Winter, Anton Chekov s The Cherry Orchard and James Joyce s The Dead. In addition, Maltby has written and performed in three original musicals. For her first community-driven show, she and her husband, Norm Boroughs, wrote a musical called Rosie s Place. That fall show was so successful they performed the show again in the spring. Another theatre company asked them to perform it again in the summer. During her first years, Maltby donned a number of hats. In addition to directing, she designed the sets and costumes, called on actors in the community and even took reservations on her cell phone. When I look back, it s been a daunting task, Maltby says. But it s like if you climb a mountain, when you get to the top, you can say Look how far I ve come. But as you are going, you look to see how far you have to go. For more information on Hawaii Pacific University s theatre program, check out the Web site at February

26 Vital Stats By Kevin Mitchell Missouri Breaks Meet Peter E. Sargent, an educator who does more than just teach. Current Home: St. Louis Repertory Theatre, St. Louis, Missouri About the Organization: Founded in 1966; Sargent has been there from the beginning. Connected to Webster University, he is also dean of The Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. Schooling: He received his BFA from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1959 and his MFA from Yale in Productions of Note: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Moonlights For: Playhouse in the Park in Cincinnati. Most Recent Work: Urinetown. What is Changing: The exciting thing is we re getting better lighting instruments and sources, and more control. We have a greater variety of tools to do our art. On Regional Theatre: With regional theatre you can focus a lot on enhancing story telling, while with commercial theatre, you sometimes get incredible productions that tend to get technology larger than life, to its detriment. Concerns: The lack of time. It s a luxury to get three days, 30 hours, of tech time. It gets down to how fast you can get it to work. Why He Bothers: I think it s important to do the professional work while I m teaching. I don t know what value is in teaching if you can t show off your work good, bad or indifferent. Peter E. Sargent photo BY Bruce J. Summers From The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre 24 February


28 Feature By John Crawford The Kindness Of Strangers courtesy of Manatee Players From the Manatee Players Summer Theatre Camp By performing outreach, community theatres can help those in need as well as broaden their audience base. When Sandy Davisson thinks of all the good work that Venice Little Theatre performs, she doesn t just think of their productions. She thinks beyond the stage, to their outreach programs and efforts to better the community. Those efforts include the Silver Foxes, a group of senior performers who travel to hospitals, nursing homes and civic organizations. Those efforts include Troupe in a Trunk, a volunteer group of actors whose performances at area schools are often students first exposure to live theatre. And those efforts include the Venice, Fla. theatre s collaboration with a local center for adults with developmental disabilities. That program involves theatre instruction and culminates in an annual performance, with participants typically making great strides. One young man was autistic and extremely introverted, but after a year or two in the program he was singing by himself on stage. I think community outreach is one of the most important things Venice Little Theatre does, says Davisson, who is the theatre s director of education and outreach. If we did nothing else, we would be doing a great job. Many community theatres perform some sort of community service. Schools and children are often a major focus of these efforts, as are people with disabilities, the poor and populations neglected by the arts. Providing community outreach can be a challenge, but many see it as an obligation. A community theatre is dependent on the community around it, says Cynthia Kent, managing director of Lawton Community Theatre in Lawton, Okla. That being the case, a community theatre should return the favor and offer its services. To be a true member of the community, a theatre needs to be there to help it. When a local library burned down, the Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette immediately thought of how it could help. It decided to participate in a book drive. A box was placed in its lobby, and the program was announced in its newsletter, according to Steven Koehler, managing director of the Lafayette, Ind. community theatre. To help community members who have trouble paying for tickets, the theatre also has pay-what-you-can performances at final dress rehearsals. Besides filling the house with an audience, this program also combats the notion that theatre is expensive and elitist. We don t want to close our doors to anyone because of money, says Koehler. Theatre is for everyone. While outreach is the right thing to do, the motives for performing it go beyond the altruistic. It s self-serving, admits Kent. Outreach presents an opportunity to expand a theatre s audience. Introduce young people to the magic of theatre, for instance, and you may inspire in them a lifelong love of live performance. You 26 February

29 can create future volunteers, audience members and sponsors. As part of its outreach, the Lawton Community Theatre opens the first performance of each mainstage production to basic trainees at the town s military base. The young soldiers may be tired from a long day of training, but they re frequently the theatre s best audience. This is our way of saying thank you to them, says Kent. The theatre also presents a production that teaches school children, pre-k through second grade, about fairy tales. The show was initiated last year after the area reading council, alarmed that parents are no longer reading fairy tales to children, asked for the theatre s help. Paying close attention to the community when it needs help is important to do, says Kent. Theatres should talk to residents. They should search for segments of the population that could use outreach. You have to find where the need is, he explains. That s exactly what Manatee Players, Inc. did. Looking at its community in Bradenton, Fla., the theatre realized the area had a growing Hispanic population. To reach this group, the Manatee Players decided to present a show this past summer in Spanish with English subtitles. At first, the theatre was worried about whether they would be able to cast the show and whether people would even come to see it, according to Rick Kerby, Manatee s managing artistic director. But once word got out about the production, the Hispanic community, underserved by the arts, came to them. Suddenly, the Manatee Players, which has been around for 58 years, found itself engaging a whole new audience. The show, Bodas de Sangre, was a success. Among its various other outreach efforts, the theatre also lets local musicians use its stage for their performances. Additionally, it has a job-training partnership with a local high school where mentally handicapped students and their teacher come to Manatee to assist in the daily running of a theatre. They are a huge help to us, says Kerby. Collaborating with other community organizations is a smart idea for theatres doing outreach. We have limited resources, says Jeff Casey, managing director of the Towle Community Theater in Hammond, Ind. It s silly to do everything yourself. In collaborating, a theatre and its partner can each bring their strengths to the table. For instance, Towle Community Theater partnered with a deaf services agency to provide sign language for its performances. The agency also publicizes the shows to the deaf community. For community theatres thinking of performing outreach, they should keep in mind several issues. First, there s funding. Grants are available, but they re usually meant for building programs. It can be a challenge to find grant money for maintaining programs, says Davisson. Be creative in what outreach programs you offer. A theatre wanting to provide a show for young performers needs to compete with all the other activities available to children, such as soccer, church activities or video games. So instead of just offering a chance to act and sing, maybe a program can also allow participants to work on sets and lights. It has to be an overall sensory experience, says Casey. We have to vie for their attention. Realize that starting an outreach program can take lots of work. This fall, Towle Community Theater began a program, called the TCT Quality of Life Conservatory, for mentally and physically challenged youth. It will allow the participants, who have conditions such as Down s syndrome, autism and bipolar disorder, to explore the wonders and joys of theatre. To get the program off the ground, though, required nine From the Venice Little Theatre s Silver Foxes Showcase months of work, says Casey. Funding had to be acquired. An evaluation process had to be developed. The safety of a working stage that is changing through the year had to be examined. For safety and communication, a physical therapist, speech therapist, audiologist and registered nurse all had to be found. And given that theatre staff cannot plan how participants will react to exercises, the program needed to be flexible in its content from week to week. Finally, for any outreach program, people are needed to make it happen. Unfortunately, many community theatres have little or no paid staff, which means volunteers are needed to carry the load. You have to be able to depend on them, says Davisson. You have to have somebody who will get the job done. For new outreach volunteers, Davisson suggests theatres should start them off slowly to test their commitment. Venice Little Theatre is lucky in that it has a number of committed volunteers who give many hours of their time. They are the heart of the theatre, says Davisson. John Crawford is a freelance writer living in the Boston area. courtesy of Venice Little Theatre Courtesy of Manatee Players courtesy of Venice Little Theatre A moment from Bodas de Sangre, which was the first production from Manatee Players Teatro Latino series presented last summer. Venice Little Theatre s outreach programs include introducing the community to theatre, as evidenced by this production Loveland Follies Wizard of Oz. February

30 Feature By Keith Clark Audio Makeover A Michigan high school overhauls its sound system. A perspective of the completely renovated Fine Arts Auditorium of East Kentwood High School. A g r o u n d up renov a t i o n was completed just in time for the start of the 2006 school year Photos by Keith Clark at the 1,600-seat Fine Arts Auditorium at East Kentwood High School in Kentwood, Mich. Acoustics By Design, a Michigan-based independent consulting firm specializing in acoustics and technical design, provided the sound system design, in addition to lighting system and video infrastructure designs (see sidebar). Tim Hamilton took the lead in designing these systems, with Kenric Van Wyk and Mandy Kachur responsible for the acoustics and mechanical noise control facets of the project. Hamilton also worked closely with Rick Westers, a veteran of more than 20 years in teaching production at the school in addition to serving as a regional freelance sound engineer. Local contracting firm Central Interconnect provided expert system installation. The Fine Arts Auditorium, originally built in the late 1960s, hosts a busy slate of national and regional performances of every stripe, such as touring productions of Carmen along with popular music, orchestral and jazz groups and just about everything in between. The facility also serves school functions such as band, choir and theatrical performances, as well as providing students with an invaluable fully-functioning live production learning environment. In 2003, an $85.5 million dollar bond was passed for several construction projects on the high school campus, which included renovation of the outdated and decayed Fine Arts Auditorium. The school district decided to completely remake the auditorium in a process that saw the room stripped down to the shell of its four defining walls and then completely rebuilt from floor to ceiling. According to Hamilton, GMB Architects & Engineers of Holland, Mich., lead architect on the project, proved very agreeable in accommodating clearly expressed acoustical and system goals. Acoustics were the first priority, with the design team seeking a balanced acoustical signature for both acoustical and reinforced performances not too live or dead. In their design GMB decided to treat the ceiling with acoustical clouds suspended above the stage and audience area, and let the side walls extending from the stage provide valuable early reflections to the seating area. They also specified padded seats and carpeted aisles to provide additional absorption, helping to keep stray audio energy from bouncing around too much. The acoustical design worked out just the way we had planned, says Hamilton. Energy moves nicely throughout the entire space without the room becoming too energized. There s a fine balance retained across the frequency spectrum as well. Extensive EASE ( Enhanced Acoustic Simulator for Engineers, a program that helps architects, engineers, consultants and contractors discover sonic characteristics before a building is finished) modeling aided the sound design process, which came in handy both during a general system coverage evaluation phase and then later as the house loudspeaker search honed in on a line array approach. Westers favored line arrays from EAW to provide all sound reinforcement to the space, and after much discussion backed up by modeling, the 28 February

31 A view from the stage. system design took this direction. I ve always been a big EAW fan in general, and really like the sound quality and coverage provided by the company s KF760 line arrays, explains Westers. But those larger arrays would be a bit too much for this room, so I was thrilled when the KF730 was introduced. The KF730 is a small line array module measuring just 28.5 inches wide by 13 inches high (and only 17.6 inches deep), but with a six-driver, horn-loaded threeway design. A full-sized mid/high horn fills the entire face of the enclosure, providing broadband 110-degree horizontal coverage that s tightly controlled, enhanced by proprietary Phase Aligned technology that extends horizontal pattern control into the low-frequency spectrum. Hamilton recommended three KF730 line arrays in a left-center-right configuration, with left and right providing stereo music programming and the center array primarily assigned vocal and spoken word signals. All three arrays are made up of six modules in a gentle J configuration, with left and right arrays angled inward to provide effective coverage over the entire seating area. Two additional EAW MK2364 compact two-way loudspeakers augment coverage on the extreme sides of the auditorium. Left and right arrays are both joined by dual EAW SB730 compact subwoofers flown adjacently in side-by-side configuration. Offering enclosure size and rigging compatible with the KF730 modules, they extend response down to 35 Hz, providing an extra low-end punch for productions desiring it. The project marks Westers first experience with the SB730 subs. I m pleased, he admits. These subs are perfect for this application, doing a great job while also being up off the floor and out of the way. The line arrays and subs are able to provide complete full-range coverage from the front row to the back without need for additional delay loudspeakers that can sometimes overcomplicate systems of this nature, while also adding to the cost. There s definitely no need for delay lines with this system, maintains Hamilton. Westers adds that preliminary evaluations he s performed with an SPL meter have shown only a 1 db to 2 db difference in system level from the front row of seating to the back row. All loudspeakers are driven by QSC Audio power amplifiers, rack-mounted in a system control room behind the back wall, with CX Series amps handling the full-range modules and PowerLight Series models on the subwoofers. Joining the amps in the rack is a digital signal processing combo: Biamp Audia provides overall system processing and Ashly Protea handles guest engineer and stage monitor equalization. A bit of prime real estate in the auditorium is dedicated to the house mix position, located at the dead-center point of the seating area. The position is large enough to comfortably accommodate February

32 Bright Lights Big Auditorium Behind the lighting installations at East Kentwood High School. The lighting system at the East Kentwood High School Fine Arts Auditorium matches its audio partner in terms of dramatically upgraded performance. The biggest issue: the house catwalk position was located too close to the stage, presenting a very steep angle to the front of the stage that made it virtually impossible to light anything on the floor in front of the stage. The project team looked at these problems and determined that removal of the room ceiling and existing catwalk were necessary. A new catwalk system, with access from both sides of the room along with a front lighting position, side light positions and follow spot locations, was designed to provide a wide variety of lighting locations. The previous lighting system consisted of a single house lighting position and several stage electrics, with many of the lighting fixtures run down and the dimming system outdated. When the time came to select the dimming system manufacturer, all parties agreed that it should be from Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC), including two 96-circuit sensor dimming racks. With 192 circuits of lighting control available, dimmer per circuit distribution was laid out over the catwalks and stage electrics. Control of the lighting system is accomplished over ETC s proprietary Net2 wiring protocol, utilizing Cat5 cabling to distribute control signals throughout the facility. DMX nodes at the racks, electrics, catwalk and booth provide the ability for DMX equipment to easily interface with the system. Another significant portion of the equation is the addition of new fixtures, including automated lights. ETC Revolutions were selected, allowing plenty of flexibility in lighting, colors and patterns to virtually anywhere on stage. Meanwhile, an ETC Emphasis system provides complete control of all fixtures and the house lights. ETC entry station panels are located around the room at entrances and exits to allow for basic lights to be turned on by non-technical personnel. A rack-mounted LCD panel located in the stage manager s panel backstage allows for a variety of preset looks to be easily recalled while a radio remote focus unit offers the ability to turn lights on and off from anywhere on the catwalks or stage. Video is not as widely used as audio and lighting systems. At the start of the project, the school district made the decision to utilize some of the existing video projection equipment, including the existing screen and projector. The rest of the video equipment would be new. The heart of this system is an Extron System 7 switcher, scaler and controller. Computer input for presenters on stage is available via an Extron WM input distribution amplifier. A DVD/VCR player is located in the control booth along with a second computer to allow for presentations to be run from either the stage or from the booth. An Extron SPC200 remote control is mounted in the house mix position to provide for the basic system controls for an operator who is mixing on the floor. EKHS wanted to install a complete camera system as part of the renovation, but budget constraints dictated that for now only the infrastructure (power and conduit) be installed to allow for three PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) cameras to be mounted in locations around the auditorium in the future to meet recording and broadcast applications. Additionally, video connections are available on wall plates around the facility to allow for additional camera inputs or video monitor outputs. All video connections terminate on a patch panel in the main equipment racks. 30 February

33 Feature A closer look at the positioning of the EAW KF730 line arrays and SB730 subwoofer sets that are suspended above the stage lip. several system operators and technicians in addition to another house console if needed to join or supplement the current Yamaha 02R digital model. Hamilton and his colleagues specified a solid and reliable copper snake system with direct and transformer isolated outputs for the reinforcement and recording consoles. Future compatibility is also built into the system with Cat5 cabling at wall plates, the house mix position and the production room so that a digital snake can be easily implemented. Stage monitoring is handled by two EAW SM109z stage wedges as well as several EAW SM122 wedges retained from the previous system. Monitor capabilities also can be easily expanded and supplemented if needed, with plenty of connectivity points provided in boxes around the stage. Several additional Shure wireless systems and antennae distribution amplifiers were added to the previously owned 18 systems, allowing Westers to outfit every performer in virtually every production with their own system. After more than two decades of working with sub-par equipment in the previous room, Westers is beyond pleased with both the new facility and its high-end sound reinforcement capabilities. This system fits the essence of exactly what is needed for every production that appears on this stage, he says. The sound quality, fidelity and coverage are at the highest level, and the system is very well designed now and for the future. Keith Clark is a writer, photographer and editor who has worked in the professional audio industry for almost two decades. February

34 A Pirate s Fight for Me Behind The Pirate Queen s broadswords, rapiers and sea battles with fight director J. Steven White By Lisa Arnett Wh e n Riverdance producers Moya Doherty and John McColgan paired with the famed duo Alan Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (Les Misérables) to create The Pirate Queen, an original musical based on the legend of Irish sea chief Grania O Malley, two things were to be expected: great dance and some spectacular fighting. J. Steven White is the man behind the moves not the soaring leaps and high-energy jigs (that s choreographer Mark Dendy), but the swift and slicing swordfights that make The Pirate Queen the battle story that it is. With Broadway previews slated to start March 6 with an April 5 opening, we talked stage combat with White, an Illinois native, as the show neared the end of its fall 2006 pre-run in Chicago. Coming Aboard White first got wind of The Pirate Queen while working with set designer Eugene Lee on A Moon for the Misbegotten at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J. When Lee mentioned that they were looking for a fight director, White called up Galati and was brought on board in February Rehearsals kicked off in late July in NYC s The Duke on 42nd Street; the first days the creative team worked with the ensemble on dance rehearsals, music and basic fight lessons from White, which included safety, technique and the simulation of strategy. Like a choreographer adjusting a dance for different spaces, much of White s attention went toward moving his fight scenes from the NYC rehearsal hall to the stage at Chicago s Cadillac Palace Theatre, where scenery was introduced. With the majority of the artistic material already taken care of, White assumed the role of master adjuster. When you re moving it from a rehearsal hall into a theatre, there are always changes, he explains. In the first sea battle, Grady McLeod Bowman, right, with J. Steven White in a rehearsal for The Pirate Queen. we have a net upstage, and then you have the orchestra pit; you have to keep their feet a certain distance from that. There are huge safety considerations: there are 10 people in front of the net fighting and they all need their space. White has been designing fight scenes for more than 30 years (including more than 30 productions of Romeo and Juliet), but in contrast with many of the plays he s worked on, Pirate Queen had one caveat: all motions must fit within the musical structure. This isn t like Romeo and Juliet, where Tybalt and Mercutio can take their time, talk and take some pauses here and there. You can only do that if the music accommodates it, says White. The sword engagements are actually structured to the music. Actors are either fighting to the music so they re staying on count or they are fighting in counterpoint. The moves and numbers of moves I give them have to conclude as the music concludes. Wonders of Weaponry For most, the word pirate conjures up visions of a gritty Johnny Depp wielding that iconic curved sword. However, that s one weapon you won t see in Pirate Queen. The reason why? It didn t exist in the late 1500s in Europe, and this show sticks with what s historically accurate. The cutlass, this heavy military cutting instrument with just the one edge it did exist in Arabic countries. Of course in Japan, you have the samurai sword, which is curved, notes White. It s also not period for Shakespeare s time the swords were straight, especially in England and in Ireland. We re using what s called a flat sword, a traditional English broadsword. It can be sharpened down by the tip and on both sides. It s not sharpened down by the forte the strong part that joins the handle. The more sophisticated rapier longer, thinner and lighter 32 February

35 Stephanie J. Block (on rock) addresses a group of women in The Pirate Queen. than the broadsword was also coming into play across Europe at the time of Pirate Queen. There were fencing salons opening up in England, and young men could come there and study this new stabbing, piercing weapon, with a very long blade and a very sharp tip, called the rapier, says White. It was lighter than the broadsword and you could use it in a more strategic way. Some people have compared the broadsword to a typewriter and the rapier to a computer. Much like a computer in its early days, rapiers were expensive and therefore usually owned by English officers, or the Irish pirates who recovered them in a fight. Both the broadswords and rapiers used in Pirate Queen were crafted by Lewis Shaw of Baltimore the best sword maker in America, according to White. Battles of Three Pirate Queen is anchored by three major fight scenes. The first clash comes just minutes after the curtain rises, when Grania stows away on her father s ship and joins in a skirmish when the crew is attacked. White worked with aerial designer Paul Rubin to choreograph the actors climbing, rapelling and fighting on a giant net, which hung upstage and reached from the rafters to the floor. Even with all the upstage action, it was their goal to keep the audience s focus on Grania (played by Stephanie Block, the original Elphaba in the national tour of Wicked), who is engaged in a swordfight center stage. We had to make sure that Stephanie has the primary focus there, emphasizes White, since that s the part of the story when continued on page 43 February

36 Special Sets/Scenery/Rigging Section The Art of Seeing A scenographer s approach to theatrical design By Fiona Kirk Scott Groller From the CalArts 2002 production of King Lear, staged at the Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles; Set design by Christopher Barreca. In the U.S., theatre designers fall into neat categories: lighting, sets, costumes. But in Europe and many places around the world, a scenographer covers the whole shebang. According to scenographer Pamela Howard, scenography includes everything visual that you see on stage. The projections, the sets, the costumes, the props all spring from the vision of the scenographer, who works in collaboration with the director. Howard has worked around the globe as a director, writer, educator and producer and is the author of What is Scenography? published by Routledge. Recently, Howard completed a residency for international artists at Carnegie Mellon s School of Drama. I started off being what you might call a stage designer, says Howard. But as my work has evolved, I ve developed a holistic view of how the whole thing is created, how the whole thing looks. Not, as you do in America, of separating the costumes (which, I have to say, is often the women), and sets (which is often the men), but more about how the whole space is used in relationship with the text. Howard believes the American approach of employing a team of design specialists is like cutting a tree in half. Why the different methods? Economic considerations are one reason why most U.S. productions have separate lighting, costume and set designers. While many European theatres enjoy generous government subsidies, American producers are often faced with limited funds and short rehearsal periods, leaving no time for one person to accomplish so much. Unions also make it difficult for designers to explore multiple roles. With scenography, an extensive research period is crucial. In 2005, Howard directed and did the scenography for an opera called The Greek Passion, a production by the National Theatre of North Greece, which was mounted at an ancient Greek fortress. Howard began by asking specific questions about the characters. I start to think, Who are these people and what do they have for breakfast? says Howard. And that takes me to travel and take photos and draw in my sketch book. They might be quite ordinary, domestic details: if they sit in a chair, how old is the chair? How can I create that world? But some American designers are embracing the idea of scenography. Howard was impressed by a CalArts pro- 34 February

37 From the Canadian Opera Company s production of Das Rheingold, featuring production design and direction by Michael Levine Gary Beechey duction of King Lear she saw staged at the Brewery Arts Complex in L.A. in It was full of the most potent visual images that told the story behind the text, says Howard. That s what scenography s about: How you use the visual image so your eyes see what your ears do not hear. The set designer for King Lear was Christopher Barreca, the head of design at CalArts. I m a scenographer in the sense that I consider the whole design the space, the characters and how it s revealed through light and the aural landscape, he says. Lear was, in fact, a collaboration of several different designers. Barreca enjoys working with a group of designers, adding that the technical demands of commercial theatre are typically too great for one person to do everything. But he encourages his students to explore a multi-faceted approach to their work. For the last 10 years, I ve been teaching something beyond the scenographic concept, says Barreca. The idea of the individual artist conceiving and executing their own vision. Award-winning Canadian scenographer Michael Levine is a former student of Howard s, and recently directed and designed Das Rheingold at Canadian Opera Company. Levine credits Howard for helping him understand that all research begins with a close study of the text. She taught us that we had to be our own dramaturg, he says. Levine s extensive study of the history, music and symbolism of Das Rheingold led him to set the opera during the industrial revolution. From there, design ideas for the costumes and sets quickly fell into place. Having the luxury to research and study a play or opera for months or even years before it s mounted may not be possible in American theatre at this time. But as more directors and designers seek out non-traditional theatre spaces and holistic approaches to production, the traditional division of labor may one day be replaced by the unique and unified vision of scenography. Fiona Kirk is the former managing editor of Stage Directions. February

38 Special Sets/Scenery/Rigging Section Whirlwind U t o p i a All photography by Paul Kolnik (Left to right) Jason Butler Harner, Ethan Hawke and Adam Dannheisser in a scene from Shipwreck, part two of The Coast of Utopia. For Scott Pask, designing a Stoppard trilogy not only requires extra transfusions of energy, but a harmonious partnership with another formidable artisan. F By Iris Dorbian or any set designer, working on a new show always presents a set of challenges. They can exponentially increase when you re dealing with a world-famous playwright, a play that s really a trilogy, a large cast, a panoramic canvas covering 30 years and... another set designer. Such was the scenario Scott Pask faced when he agreed to be one of the two main set designers (the other being Tony Award winner Bob Crowley) for Tom Stoppard s sprawling The Coast of Utopia, whose first and second installments Voyage and Shipwreck recently debuted at Lincoln Center Theater s Vivian Beaumont Theater. And following up on the heels of these two shows, which are currently being performed in repertory, will be the final part of the trilogy Salvage, which is scheduled to run through the spring and will wrap up the interweaving story arcs of the main characters. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jack O Brien (Hairspray, Henry IV), The Coast of Utopia tracks the lives of a group of Russian friends and relatives from youth to middle age in the mid-19 th century. As each play shifts in time and location, while the cast of characters expands or contracts depending on who s the main focus and who is still alive, the work has an intoxicating epic quality to it à la War and Peace or Dr. Zhivago. Real-life figures, such as anarchist Michael Bakunin (played by Ethan Hawke), literary critic Vissarion Belinsky (Billy Crudup), writer Alexander Herzen (Brian O Byrne) and novelist Ivan Turgenev (Jason Butler Harner) populate the landscape during a period when the seeds of the Russian Revolution were being sown in parlor room discourse and in the rising discontent of the downtrodden serfs. Paradoxically, the set is surprisingly spare but evocative, as a turntable device is frequently used to move furniture to and fro. Serfs are represented onstage in Voyage as two rows of anonymous faceless statues behind a gossamer scrim that is the transparent backdrop for the principal action, revolving mostly around members of the Russian gentry on their exclusive estate. It s a haunting juxtaposition that lingers throughout Voyage and continues with Shipwreck (although this time actors hold trees and stand motionless next to the statues), indirectly foretelling the circumstances leading to the overthrow of Czar Nicholas II in 1917 and the birth of the Soviet Union. Recently, Scott Pask took a breather from working on the final installment of Coast of Utopia to discuss his involvement with this mammoth project. Stage Directions: How and when did you get involved? Scott Pask: I was asked by Jack O Brien after he and Bob Crowley had talked about it over a year ago whether I d be interested in designing one part of the trilogy; Bob was going to do another part, and then we would do one together. Bob and I are dear friends and have a great respect for each other s work. I m an American designer and he s British, so it felt like a nice kind of collaboration, especially because our work is so autonomous. 36 February

39 (Left to right) Amy Irving and Jennifer Ehle in Shipwreck, part two of The Coast of Utopia. Did you work on Voyage or Shipwreck? Well, we both came together and designed the space and the mechanics using those scrims. But overall, the look of the room, the floor and those big black walls remain for the trilogy. How about the revolve? That idea was both Bob s and mine. The revolve is part of the stage machinery we developed together when we attacked the show as a whole. We knew that there needed to be something to move the play, and between Jack, Bob and myself, that s what we decided to do. Then it felt like we needed to go back and divvy up the pieces because we were starting to figure out the little internal bits. We then decided to address the individual plays on our own. Bob concentrated on Voyage, while I concentrated on Shipwreck. For Salvage, we re collaborating together. But we re in such close consort with all of it where one picks up and the other leaves off it s pretty seamless. We re both there for the tech rehearsals, for all the meetings and presentations. We re working through it all together. It never gets problematic working with someone else? It s been fun, actually. Coming from this scale, we ve had a good time. When you got the assignment, what was the first thing you did? Bob and I met with Jack and started thinking about what the big topics are here. What we came up with was the idea of serfdom, which is repeated throughout the play the idea of the number of souls that was supporting this Russian nobility. Why do the actors playing serfs hold trees next to the statues in Shipwreck? Why that slight change from Voyage where they just stand next to the statues? It goes back to the rise and fall of the Russian estate, one of the main themes throughout the play. The vocabulary for each play in the trilogy is different, and because we re on our way to Paris in the second part, we decided to use less of the serf statues, just put them on a diagonal and make them part of the landscape. continued on page 42 What about the scrim? That s a very striking stage image. There were so many moments we wanted to obscure it, so that just seemed like a natural choice. Using the scrim, with its delicate layers and detail, helped with the storytelling. It also helps get a tighter focus on the two-person scenes. February

40 Special Sets/Scenery/Rigging Section CIn hains A By Karl G. Ruling courtesy of Theatre Projects Consultants, Inc. The Verlinde StageMaker chain hoists at UCLA s Kaufman Hall hang from dollies that are supported by the roof structure. Control circuit outlets are mounted on the galleries at the side. The chain hoists are mounted motordown at the ends of the box trusses. We had a chain hoist in the theatre where I had my first full-time job. We used it to pull orchestra shell pieces out of the basement storage. We never used it on stage. Chain hoists were machines for factories. That was then and this is now. Chain hoists are still machines for factories, but they also are widely used on stage in theatres; in some cases, they are the theatre s rigging system. The differences between then and now include people in the entertainment industry having more experience using industrial hoists on arena productions, but also include the development of hoists with features adapted to the needs of the entertainment industry: quieter operation, higher speeds, variable speeds, positional feedback, redundant braking systems and higher design factors. Not all these features are needed for every application, but chain hoists can be right for many applications. The most interesting applications of chain hoists in theatres are those few where they are essentially the entire rigging system. Hofstra University had a problematic rigging system in its John Cranford Adams Playhouse. The original system had been an Izenour synchronous winch system, which was beyond state-of-the-art when it was installed half a century ago. When it failed, a rigging system was improvised. That became a hazard, explains Alan Pittman, director of theatre facilities at Hofstra, because the sandbags came offstage. You had scenery moving offstage, actors moving offstage and sandbags coming down. The biggest problem was that they built a stage house, but there is no wing space, explains Steve Walker of Steve A. Walker & Associates, who provided engineering services for the new rigging system at Hofstra. There is no space for counterweight equipment. Nor was there room for a standard motorized system with winches. This was before Vortek and the J.R. Clancy PowerLift, says Walker, and even they would have been a tight squeeze. Nor would the building support the weight of an array of lineshafts. The only system that would work there were chain hoists. The hoists chosen were Chain Master units, which are designed to meet the requirements of the BGV C1 German occupational safety regulation, with double brakes and high design staple in rock concerts, chain hoists are becoming more predominant as rigging systems in theatres. factors. It s a reasonably safe system with redundancy, says Walker. The system uses 56 fixed-speed and 32 variable-speed hoists, and 6 by 12 aluminum box trusses to span the stage with only two support points per truss. Stone Pro Rigging tore out the old system and installed the new one in only three weeks. The hoists hang from the same holes in the structural steel that supported the Izenour loft blocks in The conversion of Kaufman Hall on the University of California, Los Angeles campus into a flexible-space dance theatre also presented a rigging challenge. Michael Nishball, director of technical production for Theatre Projects Consultants, Inc. (TPC), as well as its in-house rigging and stage equipment specialist, explains that it was impractical to do any counterweight rigging, and it was impractical to do any serious motorization due to the peak of the roof. For this application, as soon as I heard chain motors were getting dual braking and were running quieter than ever I said, Why not? TPC s solution was to run two trolley beams the length of the hall, supported by the low points of the roof system. Forty-two fixed-speed Verlinde StageMaker chain hoists with positional feedback hang from trolleys that roll along those beams and support 12-inch box trusses that span the room, roughly 50 feet with two hoists per truss, one on each end. The idea is that if they reconfigure the room, they can slide these trolleys and chain motors to different locations, says Nishball. Control of the chain hoists is via 48 hard-wired control outlets at a raised gallery or high on the roof steel. These connect to a control system consisting of a rack of six control modules with eight channels in a module. TPC has found chain hoists to be good adjuncts to more conventional rigging systems in theatres. Our practice for modern stagehouses is to use a lot of chain motors in the side tab positions, says Nishball. Rather than dedicate a counterweight set for a side tab, a bit of upstage-downstage masking or light ladders, we re creating gridwells so that you can use a chain motor on a trolley above the grid and roll it onstage or offstage to wherever you need it. Hard-wired motor control systems are also going into the roadhouses and bigger theatres designed by TPC. At various locations the users have a dedicated dual receptacle, with the power and control in one place. The control goes back to a main station where a simple control pickle can be used for small systems. We ve done some touch-screen pickles when the systems get big, says Nishball. Older theatres are also seeing more chain hoists being used with shows, particularly touring ones. Just as touring shows will travel with a show deck, some are also traveling with what could 38 February

41 courtesy oftheatre Projects Consultants, Inc. Richard Cadena The Chain Master hoists at Hofstra University are hung from the same holes in the structural steel that were put in to support the swivel loft blocks in Izenour s synchronous winch system 50 years ago. courtesy of Columbus McKinnon Corp. The dual brake use in the CM Lodestar BGV-C1 hoist has a 50 millisecond delay between the first and second brakes, which reduces stress. The DC dual-brake also is quieter than the AC single-brake used on standard industrial hoists. The Verlinde StageMaker chain hoists at UCLA s Kaufman Hall hang from dollies that are supported by the roof structure. Control circuit outlets are mounted on the galleries at the side. be called a show ceiling, a superstructure of aluminum trussing that is supported from the theatre s grid and from which all the show-specific scenery and lighting is hung. It is so much easier to come in and spot a minimal number of points, raise up their mother grid, and away they go! says Shawn Nolan, division coordinator for the Entertainment Structures Group of Steven Schaefer Associates. Nolan s company is frequently called upon to evaluate older theatres to see if they will support these superstructures for traveling shows. Nolan recommends that support points where chain hoists might be used be considered whenever a new building is planned. It s no big deal to design it in when you re designing the space. It s just one more load combination, he says. As chain hoist technology gets better and better, we re going to see more of it. Like the Clancy PowerLift or the Vortek, it s another tool in the bag of tricks. Karl G. Ruling is the technical standards manager for the Entertainment Services and Technology Association, for which he administers the ANSI-accredited Technical Standards Program. February

42 Verlinde Stagemaker Compact Resource Roundup [As you can see, we ve moved Resource Roundup deeper into the book this month. Once Richard Cadena, editor of SD s new sister publication Projection, Lights and Staging News, learned we were doing an article about chain hoists for this month s section focus on Sets, Scenery and Rigging, he offered to share the results of PLSN s Product Gallery on chain hoists, completed just last month. This is not a permanent move or style change for the By Richard Cadena Chain Hoists Resource Roundup section, but it does reflect the new library of information and depth of knowledge available to SD from PLSN and audio magazine FRONT of HOUSE. While this won t happen every month, you will see this format more often as the topic warrants. Drop us a line to let us know if this was helpful, or go online and talk about it in the new forums on the redesigned SD Web site, ed.] As productions become progressively more complex, technology is increasingly called upon to help deliver the goods. Even technology as basic as chain motors, which have remained relatively unchanged until recently, have become high-tech. New features such as variable speeds, precision accuracy, smoother acceleration curves, less noise and computer control have broadened their acceptance in the theatre. What s in store for the future? Advancements in wireless technology, battery technology, control and stepper motors are likely to fuel a growing interest in automating everything from set pieces to entire stages. In the meanwhile, chain motors are on the forefront of advancing technology in the theatre. Here s a sample of the latest offerings. The NEW patented Serapid LinkLift 30 Lifting Column provides impressive lifting capabilities in a compact p a c k a g e. The LL30 allows shut heights to reach as low as 7.5! The links align and lock together to form a rigid bar. The resulting column provides quiet telescopic movement that offers high stability and accurate positioning. OUR INVENTORY CONSISTS OF backdrops comprised of full-sized painted drops Full-sized specialty curtains (rain curtains and lamés) Full-sized solid curtains (velours, twills, cycloramas) Various legs, borders, and tabs (painted and solids) Mile Road Sterling Heights, MI Ph: Fax: February

43 Manufacturer North American Distributor Product Name Description What it s for Specs Retail Price (or P.O.A.) Comments Chain Master Show Distribution www. VarioLift Fixed speed Hoists Variable-speed chain hoist Fixed-speed chain hoist Human rig, live movements of truss, scenery, stage, etc. Rigging Double brakes, quiet, friction clutch, load cell, 1 to 150 /min, BGV-D8, D8+ or C1 rated, 1mm accuracy, from 125Kg to 12500Kg Jam-free plate, small body size, lightweight, quiet, friction clutch, optional double brake, BGV-D8, D8+, C1 rated 1/2 ton = $12,026 US 1-ton single brake = $2,542 US Used for tours and permanent installations like Metallica, U2, Pentagon Auditorium, etc. Coffing Hoists Coffing UJC Electric chain hoist Lifting loads on stage 1/2- to 2-ton capacities; speeds to 32 fpm; CE-type controls; oil bath xmission; 5-pocket load sheave; lifetime warranty Columbus McKinnon CM Lodestar BGV C1 CM Lodestar Electric chain hoist Lifting loads on stage 1/4- to 1-ton capacities; 16 fpm; double DC brake; hires encoder; integral load monitoring components; lifetime warranty 1- to 3-ton capacities; speeds up to 64 fpm; cast aluminum housing; black power-coat finish; lifetime warranty P.O.A. Meets German standard for entertainment rigging Manufacturer Prolyte Products Group PLE-11, PLE- 12, PLE kg, 4 m/min chain hoist; 1000 kg, 4 m/min chain hoist; 2000 kg, 2 m/min chain hoist, respectively. Lifting loads on a stage Direct/low voltage, power outlet top side, five-pocket chain wheel, multiple disk brake, internal one-piece chain guide, grade 80 chain (FEM 3m, FEM 1Am for the PLE-13), standard swivel hook, free rotating hand grips, FEM 3m, CE, BGV-C1 Single-phase version, double brake (D8+), limit switches, encoder, lifetime warranty with regular service; each hoist equipped with electronic tag to track history C-one, PLE kg, 4 m/min chain hoist; 1000 kg, 4 m/min chain hoist; 2000 kg, 2 m/min chain hoist, respectively Direct control, electronic under/overload protection, dual limit switch with LED indicator, double brake system, slack chain detection, 10:1 design factor, lower swivel hook, BGV-C1, CE Verlinde R&M Materials Handling, Inc. www. Stagemaker SM1, SM5, SM10 Stagemaker Cyberhoist SM1: 60 kg kg, 8-16 m/min chain hoist; SM5: 250 kg & 500 kg, 4, 8, & 16 m/min chain hoists; SM10: 500 kg, 1000 kg, 2000 kg, 2, 4, 8 & 16 m/min chain hoists 250 kg, 500 kg, 1000 kg, 0-10, 0-20, & 0-40 m/min chain hoists Lifting loads on a stage Direct or low voltage control, overload limiter, limit switches, CEE as standard Low-voltage control P.O.A. Options include dual brakes, 10:1 saftey factor, programmable control, variable speed and singlephase units Options include dual brakes, 10:1 saftey factor, programmable control, variable speed and singlephase units. VBG C1 as option February

44 (Left to right) Richard Easton, Martha Plimpton and Ethan Hawke from the Lincoln Center Theater production of Voyage, part one of Tom Stoppard s trilogy, The Coast of Utopia. Note the faint background silhouette of statues meant to represent the anonymous downtrodden underclass. Kellie Overbey and Richard Easton in Voyage, part one of The Coast of Utopia. continued from page 37 How much did the work of the lighting designers (Brian MacDevitt for Voyage, Kenneth Posner for Shipwreck and Natasha Katz for Salvage) inform what you were doing? We were in conversation with them as we were developing the set design. We talked about the atmosphere and the feeling of the first one and what the second one could be like, and the third as well. That was part of the conversation, but we were really showing them what we were doing. The set is very panoramic, and some of the set pieces are very arresting, especially the crystalline white palace chandelier that appears in Voyage, but there s a spareness to this set it s very clean. Our approach was to keep it free for the rehearsal period for Jack and then keep the images poetic because there are so many locations to cover. We re going from one place to another that spareness, the reduction of images to the poetic essentials was what we aimed for. Did you work with a shop on this? Many. Hudson Scenic Studio, Showman Fabricators and PRG Scenic Technologies (a division of Production Resource Group) the three of them did aspects of the play. What are some of the challenges you faced working on the set design? Making sure we re clearly telling a story in a play that is shifting location, time and space back and forth, and we re being clear about that with poetic minimalism but not overdesigning it. Are you and Bob working on the final part right now? Yes. We developed a vocabulary for it but we re still developing a few aspects of it. And you re creating models, sketches? We developed it from sketch form and then developed it into models. Then the construction documents were made from the models and then drawn for the shops. What s your favorite piece in the show? For me, I love the Paris set that s in Shipwreck. It s just a very personal look with the row of white statues. There s an exaggerated perspective leading up to the obelisk that appears upstage it looks like it s going for miles. That s an image I love. 42 February

45 Jeff McCarthy (center) and company in The Pirate Queen continued from page 33 she steps out and shows the men that she can fight equally as gracefully and as strong as they can. The second major battle erupts in the second scene when Queen Elizabeth sends her fleet, led by officer Bingham (played by William Youmans), to defeat Grania and her pirates at Rock Fleet. The unexpected twist? The men are incapacitated, drunkenly cavorting in the town bar, leaving the Irish women in charge of defending their land, led by Grania. We wanted to get away from a more traditional sword fight and get into something that was unusual, says White. So we have the women come out and act somewhat seductively to the English soldiers and then draw daggers, stab them and fight with them. Grania goes head to head with Bingham (they both draw rapiers) and defeats him. The women of this clan are tough they know how to fight, says White. They can throw their man a right cross when he s drunk. Maybe they haven t had traditional sword training classes, but they can work all day in the field and then at night, they can haul their men out of the tavern. They re strong. That s what we wanted to show that the women behind Grania could follow her lead, too. It wasn t just the men. The last major battle of the show is perhaps the most dramatic and also the most likely to change in the months before Broadway. Critics have ridiculed the sequence in which Grania gives birth to her son, and seconds later, struggles to her feet and joins in the fight while her husband, Donal, cowers. There s a kind of almost biblical metaphor of the woman working in the wheat field, stopping and giving birth and going back to work, comments White. Now, is our modern sensibility really able to handle that? I don t know. Far more pressing for White is the crowd of actors onstage in this scene. This was the hardest fight scene to do because there s so many people onstage, he says. There s a birthing tent in the middle of the stage, a wheel, and we have 10 fighting couples onstage. Your arm is three feet, and you put another three feet of steel in it you re taking up six feet. And if there s another person across from you, we re now taking up 12 feet. We re essentially doing stationary fighting. And if White called the shots? He d put less people on stage and bring in the guns. Ten fighting couples that s a lot of steel flying. How would I change it? I d like to see some more gunfight in the scene, says White. The English were using firearms at that time. Queen Elizabeth was one of the first English rulers to equip her army with firearms. Such changes, though, are up to the producers and the director before the NYC opening. White, after all, is the fight director working to help bring their vision to life. Lisa Arnett is an arts journalist living in Chicago. Her writing has been published in Time Out Chicago, Chicago SHOPS magazine and Chicago Tribune s February

46 On Broadway Martin Vidnovic, Douglas Ullman, Jr. and Leo Burmester in The Fantasticks continued from page 19 what the director wanted. He said when they get onto the stage, let s play the show; but when they re supposed to be somewhere else, they need to be somewhere else. It seems to be okay. The real design concept here is that when each microphone comes into the digital console, it is copied to three channels. I took each microphone and assigned them to my three areas in the theatre. For example, microphone one is fed to area one, area two, and area three. All I did was take my zero time that I already had set up with the system, and that microphone to area one was zero. That microphone to area two had an additional three to four millisecond delay on it, then to area three it had an additional 10 to 12 milliseconds. So what happened was and it worked extremely well when you re standing in that area, the time to the far area is much more in line with the acoustic. So it works out acoustically in all three areas the way it would naturally work. The key was to reinforce the person where they re standing in the other parts of the room with the time being correct, and having it in time instead of out of time. The dead giveaway when it s not in time is when you hear the amplified sound before the acoustic sound, and that s where it starts to sound unnatural. So you have three separate channels on the consoles for each of your seven microphones for a total of twenty-one inputs, correct? That s correct. Each microphone feeds its respective area with as close to the right time as I could make it. It worked well. Say you re standing in the center, like Luisa does and she sings to the left or to the right. If that microphone happens to pick her up, then it s more in phase and in time with the whole theatre. Say you were getting a reflection from the other side of the room, which happens all the time in theatres. If you re facing the off side, that microphone now would still be in the correct acoustical time with the reflection back to the other side of the room. What happens in this musical is that somebody is usually way offstage left or right and turns to the audience on the near side and then the far side, so they re being picked up by the near microphone and then by the far microphone. The far microphone still picks the sound up from the other side of the room and amplifies it correctly to the short side and the far side. As long as the delay is correct to the physical position of the microphone, it doesn t matter when the sound gets to the microphone. It s a physical thing, and something you can only do with foot mics, by the way. Did you have any processing on the mics at all? There actually is some reverb there, but it s very, very light. Are you running any outboard gear at all? No, it s all in the console. The console offers everything. I did use some XTA. I set my system to zero through XTA DP224s. They sound fantastic. The sound system is made up of Meyer UPM-1Ps, and they re spectacular speakers. The New York Times gave me one of the best sound reviews I ve ever gotten. They said it was nice to see a show on Broadway that wasn t amplified [laughs]. It was perfect. What else should we know about the show? There s no operator. They re just turning on, and that s the way it goes. Bryan Reesman is a freelance entertainment writer and avid theatregoer based in New York whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Premiere, Playboy and Billboard. He can be reached at 44 February

47 Off The Shelf By Stephen Peithman How It s Done New books with answers to tough questions There s never a shortage of how-to books, but this month s roundup includes some unusual ones either because of the subject matter, or the way in which it s handled. Author (and frequent SD contributor) Lisa Mulcahy, for example, believes that actors do not have to suffer financially or any other way for their art. In The Actor s Other Career Book: Using Your Chops to Survive and Thrive, she suggests that you expand your thinking and use the many skills you ve developed vocal, physical, social, mental for work that s more rewarding than waiting tables and pouring drinks. To prove her point, she interviews more than 50 actors who have found satisfying second careers that have paid their bills, broadened their understanding and sharpened their acting skills. In some cases, these were temporary positions, while others turned out to be so rewarding that they became long-term commitments. (Some of those jobs include communications consultant, commercial spokesmodel, acting teacher, corporate product demonstrator, voiceover artist, fitness instructor, casting director, cruise ship performer, DJ, dialog coach, publicist and outreach coordinator, among others.) Mulcahy provides a fresh viewpoint on a subject near and dear to all working actors: working. [ISBN , $19.95, Allworth Press] The Handbook of Set Design, by Colin Winslow, is a compact but comprehensive guide to designing scenery for a wide variety of stages, large and small. Winslow takes the reader through the process of turning initial ideas and sketches into final sets that enhance the audience s understanding of the play. He addresses both traditional and current digital techniques involved in stage design, as well as drafting, painting and model making. Photographs of Winslow s own stage designs are included, together with explanatory illustrations, stage plans, technical drawings, models and color renderings. The result will appeal not only to budding designers, but to those who want to expand their understanding of the art of set design. [ISBN , $45, Crowood Press] As any performing arts marketer knows, today s audiences are more likely to purchase tickets at the last minute; many also prefer attending specific performances as opposed to a subscription series. As a result, audience development strategies that worked in the past often sputter, and theatres face stiff challenges in their efforts to build and retain their patrons. In Arts Marketing Insights: The Dynamics of Building and Retaining Performing Arts Audiences, Joanne Scheff Bernstein offers a number of ways to keep marketing efforts relevant to the changing lifestyles, needs, interests and preferences of both current and potential audiences. After an in-depth discussion of the nature of today s performing arts audiences, Bernstein explains how to conduct marketing research, expand the meaning of valuable customer to include single-ticket buyers and provide the kind of customer service that keep audiences coming back. A number of case studies are included, focusing on both large and small organizations. [ISBN , $27.95, Jossey-Bass] In recent years, nonprofits have been challenged to assess the impact of their work, to prove that what they think is good actually is good, and that what they claim as results are indeed results. To do that well requires evaluation, but to many, that connotes a judgment coming at the end of a long stretch of independent, completed work. Nonprofit organizations need to think of evaluation in a different way, write Marcia Festen and Marianne Philbin in Level Best: How Small and Grassroots Nonprofits Can Tackle Evaluation and Talk Results. Evaluation, they explain, is part of a larger process that provides useful information to help your organization learn more, plan better and operate more efficiently. It also helps anticipate the kinds of questions you might receive from funders, board members, colleagues and constituents. Level Best provides a useful framework for thinking about evaluation, plus tools for measuring and sharing results. Nicely done on all counts. [ISBN , $24.95, Jossey-Bass] February

48 The Play s The Thing By Stephen Peithman Keep It Short A celebration of one-act plays The beauty of one-act plays is in how much flexibility they offer in performance. You can do two or three one-acts in a single evening. As this month s selection of recentlyreleased plays proves, you can balance comedy with drama, contrast locale and subject matter, and provide an opportunity for actors to portray a wide variety of characters. Certainly the most unusual of our one-acts is the 400- year-old Theatre of Neptune in New France, by Canadian lawyer, poet and historian Marc Lescarbot, arguably the first North American play. It has also been described as racist against native peoples, and as a significant entry-point of Western cultural hegemony. That said, this short piece is enlightening on many fronts, not the least as a reminder of the colonizing mentality that overtook North America, and of its effects on the native population. (Any modern production would need to deal with this context carefully.) A new commemorative edition includes the original French script and long out-of-print English translations by Harriette Taber Richardson and Eugene and Renate Benson. Scholar Jerry Wasserman provides the extensive historical and critical introduction and bibliography. [ISBN , $21.95, Talonbooks] The setting for The God Committee, by Mark St. Germain, is St. Patrick s Hospital, where a committee is meeting to select the patient who will receive a newly available heart. Except for a chalkboard with the names of those whose lives depend on the committee s decision, this could be any corporate meeting room. By the time all seven committee members are seated, we have some understanding of the personal issues that each brings to the table. Some of this personal business is perhaps a bit predictable, but St. Germain provides an absorbing ethical dilemma by way of a wealthy father who dangles the promise of a multi-million dollar donation to the hospital s transplant program if the heart goes to his son. How the seven characters deal with that offer brings the play to a satisfying conclusion. Four males, three females. [Samuel French] It s not a corporate meeting room in Purgatorio by Ariel Dorfman. In fact, we re not sure what sort of room it is. We see a small bed, two chairs and a table. Is it prison? An asylum? An interrogation room? Then a Man and a Woman enter, and Dorfman s tale soon evolves into a No Exit-style retelling of the Greek tragedy of Jason and Medea. But Purgatorio is not simply the story of a jilted wife s outrage at being traded in for a newer model by her callous husband. Dorfman focuses on large questions of justice and forgiveness. As in No Exit, the door to the room turns out to be unlocked, and the Man and/or Woman could leave at any time but never do. They realize that the forgiveness they need can only be found in each other. One male, one female. [Samuel French] Light years away in style and substance is The Swine of Avon, by Thomas Hischak, the story of Shankspeare, the greatest playwright in all Swinedom, as told by two tour guides at his birthplace and enacted by a cast of pigs. Any combination of males and females can be used to present the comic adventures of the author of Loins Labors Lost, King Porkrind the Third, A Midsummer Night s Pig Roast and MacBoar (and creator of such unforgettable characters as Julius Razorback, Brute Chops, Katherina Pigiron, Swineo and Drooliet and Hamhock, Prince of Denmark). The Swine of Avon can be combined with the author s other Shakespeare comedy for young audiences, Curst Be He Who Moves My Bones, to create a full-evening program. Cast of women or men. [Baker s Plays] 46 February

49 THEATRICAL index of advertisers MARKETPLACE For more information about the companies advertising in Stage Directions and serving the theatre profession, go to and click on the advertiser index link. Classified Advertising Advertiser Website Page American Musical & Dramatic Academy - AMDA 33 Apollo Design C4 Atlanta Rigging 39 Audio-Technica 1 Barbizon 23 BMI Supply 7 Bulbtronics 13 Charles H. Stewart & Co. 2, 40 City Theatrical 11 CM Rigging Products 17 Contemporary Lights & Staging 19 Demand Products 44 DeSales University 19 Dove Systems 33 Jauchem & Meeh 30 JR Clancy 5 Kenmark, Inc. 15 Light Source, The C2 Limelight Productions 43 Look Solutions 21 New York Film Academy 6 Northwestern University - NHSI Production Advantage 31 Pro-Tapes & Specialties 35 Rose Brand C3 Schuler Shook 37 Sculptural Arts Coating 13 Serapid 40 USITT 9 ZFX Flying 31 29

50 Answer Box By Clare Floyd DeVries Walk the Plank How Shakespeare Dallas rectified its bridge problems. Creating the bridges for the Shakespeare Dallas production of Twelfth Night Dave Tenney Dave Tenney A view of the detail of the rope bridge for the Shakespeare Dallas production of Much Ado About Nothing B E F O R E B E F O R E A scene from Twelfth Night A F T E R courtesy of Shakespeare Dallas A F T E R Gary DeVries A scene from Much Ado About Nothing 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. Twelfth Night s set needed to be easy to transport and erect. It had to fit two stages: one wide and shallow, the other narrow and deep. But the toughest design problem was that at mid stage Addison had a 4-foot drop and an 11-foot-wide moat. Bridges were required. For the main span between downstage and backstage, technical director Dave Tenney and I (as the set designer) decided to dress scaffolding with pipes and conduits like an industrial bridge. We counted on scaffolding really standing on the moat bottom. This faux bridge had an upper deck for dramatic entrances and a hidden lower one for surprise entrances. Secondary bridges were of steel grating with airline cable and 2-by-4 mid-span spacers that created light, elegant cable trusses. Heavy-duty brick flats from the summer productions became fall s graffiti-tagged warehouse. On the day before the show opened, the bottom of the moat was declared fragile. The mock bridge had to become a clear-span, double-decker bridge. Because curbs on each side of the moat were also delicate, the span grew to 16 feet. And the change in ground level on each side of the moat meant that both levels of the bridge had to be supported at the high end upstage and the low end downstage. Quickly, Dave redesigned and rebuilt the span as nested wooden truss bridges: an upside down U and an upright U. That season s big lesson was to beware design assumptions based on information provided by a venue. It might change. And next year, could it please be lighter to move? So for Shakespeare Dallas 2006 production of Much Ado about Nothing, Dave and I created lightweight scenery and a smorgasbord of bridges. Much Ado s central span was built of standard wood platforms braced by angled 2-by members below, skinned with lauan, and painted like the stone arch bridge of a baroque Italian garden. It crossed at upstage height to a belvedere with symmetrical curving stairs that brought actors to downstage level. The second span was a sloping rope bridge with 2-by-12 planks. During rehearsal this was stiffened for running entrances by adding a steel angle and cable truss like those used the year before. The third span reached by ship s ladder was a floating pontoon bridge made from a standard platform with blocks of expanded polystyrene glued underneath. This time the hedge walls of the set were the lightest possible: 1-by lumber, burlap and camouflage netting. If practice makes perfect, next season s bridges will be even more varied, set walls will be even lighter to carry and they will pack tighter into the truck too. 48 February