Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week of October 24th: I Could While Away The Hours ...

Yes, conferring with the flowers, unraveling every riddle, and being friends with the sparrows sounds perfectly lovely, but we have other things to do. More pressing things such as ... oh, I don't know ... maybe ... building a set for a show that opens in a little over two weeks? Yes, the sum what we have to do over the next two weeks may seem overwhelming, but with a concerted effort, we will achieve our Oz.

Two weeks. Yes, we're getting that close. But first, an announcement.

The winner of the "Name The Bullwinch Contest" is ...

(Cue the gameshow music:)

Cooper Shields for his suggestion of the name Eddie. 

(There's a long story behind that one that involves the nickname for a skeleton that we had in our prop shop for many years that finally left us this year ... so while it seems incongruous, it is fitting. And, it is the winner)

Thanks to all those who offered up a name and voted. (And it really was like a prohibition era Chicago election, except for all of the mafioso and the Sicilian thing.)

But I digress. Here is this week in a nutshell:

Week of October 24th:

Tuesday, October 25th: Light Rigging, 6:00 - 9:00 PM. Mainly rigging and focusing the acting areas on stage, and adding the accent lights.

Thursday, October 27th: Light Rigging, 6:00 - 9:00 PM. Our goal is to have all of the lights focused and gelled by the end of the work session.

Saturday, October 29th: Set Saturday #8, 9:30 - 4:30. We'll have to knock of an hour early today as the Iowa Caucus Debate Tournament will need to use the Auditorium for their awards at 5:00 PM. However, that means we'll need to ratchet up the effort to get all of the construction done by that time. That's the goal - get the builds completed. (Cue the driving, suspenseful action-movie soundtrack ...)

Which means that next week, the Week of October 31st, is TECH WEEK. (Cue the theme from Superman.) All crew members need to check their schedules and make sure that the rehearsal times are free and clear. It will be a big, big week. Prepare thyselves.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week of October 17th: Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain

OK, I know - I'm a day late. And a dollar short. I'm out of town at the Iowa Technology Education Connection (ITEC) in Des Moines Monday and Tuesday, learning more about the quickly changing landscape of technology in education, and spending some quality time with my UNI IT Masters cohorts. It's been good to get away from thinking and working on The Wizard of Oz - but I know I'll be raring to go when I get back. Once again I digress ...

What's Going On This Week:

A few changes to the week, but in a nutshell:

Tuesday, October 18th: Light rigging @ 6:00 PM. Ben Godwin will be leading the charge tonight. We'll concentrate on hanging and focusing the loft and the first electric (E1.) There will also be some maintenance and perhaps a quick lesson on bench focusing. 

Thursday, October 20th: NO LIGHT RIGGING. Somewhere in my exuberance, I neglected to see that this is Senior Night and the final home game at Kingston. So ... we'll all be a little busy that night ... so ... no light rigging tonight. 

Saturday, October 22nd: Set Saturday #7. 9:30 - 5:30 PM. We'll keep building on the Witch's Castle, the Gates to Emerald City, and the Kansas House hard-drop. There will be painting of said set pieces along with drops.  Plus, there will be props, lighting, and costumes to tend to. This will be a big day to get a lot done.

We'll only have two Set Saturdays to work on the show after this, so let's get busy. That man behind the curtain may be a very bad wizard, but we don't need no stinkin' wizard for what we have to do! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week of October 10th: Follow the Yellow Brick Pit-Path

Thanks to the dedicated few students and adult volunteers who ventured in on a gloriously beautiful October Saturday to get the ball rolling for the set of The Wizard of Oz. Our primary goal was achieved: the "pit-path" that was originally created for our 2009 musical Into The Woods is back up and rehearsal ready. We also got a a great start on two backdrops, the storm shelter, and the wagon from the early Kansas scenes in the show. A good start, but a long, long way to go

This picture gives you a look at the pit-path structure. Rumor has it that this will indeed become the yellow brick road. It'll need some careful painting, but this gives you the idea of what it's all about. (I just home Mr. Messenger can fit his all-star pit orchestra in the center part ...)

Looking ahead to this week:

Tuesday, 10/11/2011: 6:00 - 9:00 PM Light rigging. Actually, we'll be prepping our lighting for the move to the gym, but we will also give instruction regarding the safety and procedure behind hanging lighting instruments.

Wednesday, 10/12/2011: ITED Assembly set-up. If you haven't picked up the orange sheet for attendance, make sure you stop by on Monday and pick one up from me. We'll need most of our work in the morning (2nd-4th hours.)

Thursday, 10/13/2011: ITED Assembly and strike. If you are one of the recipients of recognition, you can still help out for the assembly. Talk to me before Thursday and we can work something out. After the assembly is done, I'll need many hands to get the stage platforms, choir risers, lighting and sound equipment back to the PA area. The gym must be returned to normal by 2:30 PM.

Thursday, 10/13/2011: 6:00 - 9:00 PM Light rigging. This session will be dedicated to focusing and maintenance, with some actual rigging for the pit-path lighting.

Saturday, 10/15/2011: 9:30 - 5:30 Set Saturday #6. We will have the plans for the Witch's castle by then, along with the hard-surface drop pieces that we'll be flying in. (Could this be the day we get to use the bullwinch for the first time?)  Plus we should have a finalized props lists for the cast members to track-down/create.

And speaking of bullwinches ...

Here are the nominations from the "Name the Bullwinch" contest. Vote for the one you think is best, and by next Friday, we'll know what we're calling the critter. (And yes, I'm well aware of the fact that you can vote as many times as you like. If you can live with yourself by pretending you're in Chicago circa 1930, voting three times and registering dead folks as active voters and such, well then, you just go right ahead.)

Names are arranged alphabetically. Click on the one you think is best and then submit. Thanks to our nominators for their efforts.

UPDATE: The election is over. Winner to be announced soon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Week of October 3rd: Oz Crew, schedules, and Bullwinch Contest, oh my!

"Hey, Auntie Em - I'm tired of big talking plants, so I'm heading off to Oz this week. See you on November 10th!"

Well done, cast, crew and pit of Little Shop of Horrors! You did well to continue the legacy of quality theater productions here at WHS. But, as they say in the theater biz, "you're only as good as your next show." So ...
Here's what's happening this week in and around the scene shop:

Wednesday, 10/5/2011, 2:55 PM: IMPORTANT TECHIE MEETING. If you are on the crew, you need to be there. Schedules will be handed out, so make every effort to be there!

Saturday, 10/8/2011 - 9:30 - 5:30 PM: Set Saturday. If you aren't marching or playing volleyball, you should be at the scene shop help get the pit path up and perhaps even help paint a backdrop. 

Here is the crew list for The Wizard of Oz:

Stage Managers
Cooper Shields (Tech Assistant)
Talia White (Crew Head)

Light Board Operators

Holly Christiansen
Hanna Schroeder

Sound Operators

Teddy Townsend
Bryan Cline

Fly Master

Ted Welch

Fly Crew

Baily Ziehr
Noah Vander Vaart

Props Master

Kassie Kittredge

Follow Spot Operators

Sarah Endicott
Bryan Christiansen

Running Crew

Clara Tosi
Jack Krebs
Sammy Nading
Tyler Biernbaum
Megan Rivera
Sally Timko
Tony Schmidt
Cassie Ward
Eli Wolter
Emma Bridges

Props Crew

Katie Pease
Makenzie Wallace

Costumers (See Mrs. Sulzer for schedule)

Gabby Hughes
Kaley Graves
Anne Seifert
Siera Roth
Shekinah Brooks
Kat Cross

Monday, October 3, 2011

UPDATE: WHS Auditorium Fly System Renovation: IT'S DONE!

Today, the final piece of the new fly system was installed - the control box for the rail lights.


Last Friday, Randy Groves, the installation supervisor from Tiffin Scenic Studios provided the final training for the technical staff here at Wash. We've been waiting a long time for this.

(Blogger's note: It's not quite done. There are still some wires, and a knob or something, and then the electrician ... sigh ...)

Aside from the equipment that was directly replaced with industry standard pieces and parts, we received the following improvements:

  • five battens that are raised and lowered by electrical winches
  • a fire curtain that can be reset automatically on its own winch
  • an illuminated rail ID system that can be read clearly during the run of a show
  • dimmable rail lighting so 
  • rope locks with safety catches that would prevent a runaway arbor or batten (a situation that would send scenery or stage weights crashing down uncontrollably)
  • keyed access to all automated systems
  • keyed locks to fly rail rope locks to prevent unauthorized curtain pulling
  • an automated bull winch that allows us to raise battens loaded with lighting or scenery safely to a position where it can be counterweighted

And it's that last piece of equipment that we would like to focus upon. Observe the "bull winch:" an electrical winch that locks into the fly rail and is capable of raising and lowering a batten that is up to 1,100 lbs. out of balance. It's not something we will use every day, but when we need it, it will save us a lot of worrying and unnecessary exertion. It will become a very important piece of equipment - very useful.

Seems like it should have a name, right?

Oh, sure, it already has a name: the "Tiffin Scene Studios HW-1000 Mobile Winch." But c'mon - that's like me calling you "Humanoid 4,538,499,326." It's new home is our theater, and we can't let something like this go without a suitable nickname now, can we?

If you said "no," then you would be correct.

So, here's the deal. Submit your idea in the form below. You can enter more than one name, but they have to be entered individually. At the end of the nomination period - Friday, October 7th - we will post the suggestions (if the list is extensive, the directors will pare the list down for simplicity) and open it to voting. The name that gets the most votes wins. In the event of a tie, the people responsible for the suggested names will square off in a cage-match in the gym on October 15th using poison darts. (Kidding - we'll just conduct a very brief run-off election.)

The winner will receive a choice of fine prizes yet to be determined. Let's not rule out some tools, free tickets, or food somewhere in the WHS area. But it will be worth your effort.

So, take a look at the picture below, and put on your thinking touques. Names should be simple and snappy; ironic and iconic; theatrical and didactical; and most importantly, small enough to actually fit on the device. Good luck!