By Laura Oing, Assistant Technical Director
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this semester, it’s that building a set takes a lot of Hard Work. Hard Work includes but is not limited to designing the set, gathering materials, assembling build crew and a lot of sawing, drilling, and painting. Here are my favorite aspects of this year’s set:
1. Not once in the history of the whole world (or since 1919, when The Barnstormers came into being) have we built a thrust stage! Basically, a thrust stage is a stage that has the audience seated on three of the sides of the stage. It’s more work to put together all the audience platforms and design the set so that everyone can see it, but it’s totally worth it. Besides bringing the actors closer to the audience, a thrust stage offers better all-around views for everyone in the audience and is just overall really awesome.
2. We did so much painting and staining for this show, I swear my right arm muscles are no longer proportional to my left arm muscles. But sometimes you gotta take one for the team. In this case, it was totally worth it. All the stained luan came out really nicely, especially the chalkboard platforms. We were even able to borrow an old eraser to make it look more realistic (almost as if some students were actually using it to study outside of the classroom—go figure).
3. The most difficult challenge that we faced in the building of this set was making the four individual triangle platforms. These set pieces are really cool because they can be put together to build even bigger and more complicated things (which is especially helpful because of the quick transitions in this musical). There were a few bumps in the road while trying to make the triangles more stable. But after much planning and worrying and adjusting, we finally solved the problem. On the bright side, Isabel (our Set Designer and Technical Director) probably only lost 10 to 20 hours of sleep fixing the darn things.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this semester, it’s that building a set takes a lot of Hard Work, but all the things you have to do can also fly by quickly if you’ve got good people surrounding you. Plus, dance parties in the shop also don’t hurt. Thank you to everyone who helped build this set and bring this musical to life, and for making my first musical at Hopkins one I definitely won’t forget!