Friday, April 6, 2012

IntoThe Woods

Once Upon a time...
Dear Readers, the show "Into The Woods" is a musical based on the Brothers Grim Fairy tales. It directly touches on Cinderella, Jack and The Bean Stalk,Little Red Riding-hood & Rapunzel in her tower, all tied together in a neat little bow by the main characters The Baker and his Wife trying to life a curse on their house so they can have a child. For this show I took inspiration from a friend who had just finished reading the original stories. You see, the story's told in these tales were of a fantastic and terrifying nature not so much told to entertain children, but to make them listen and behave. I feel with this productions sets that I have evoked both the fantastic and scary nature of the woods.
Our story beings three weeks from opening...
During the producers meeting we selected our projects, friend Joe took on the project of the "tree of life" (which he desinged at my kitchen table at the Casablanca) that Cinderellas mother speaks to her through, as well as several others. I took the projects of the "The woods" and the interiors of the houses. 
With countless help, Joe created the form and Paper Mached the tree.
(Jordan, Russ & Joe working on the massive willow branches)
Also lining it with lights so that the tree would glow from within when the spirit of Cinderellas mother sang. It took nearly two weeks to complete the tree as well as paint it but the end result is just, wow.
 (Its one of the most amazing effects I've seen on stage at the Wichita Theatre!)
My story starts here-
(Courtney, Chloe & Abbie in the ruins of the Madison Public Library.)
 (My concept sketch)
For the forest, I started with a base coat of black. Then drew the trunks of the trees out with chalk and painted them a base coat of orange.
Now most of you are provably screaming at your computers thinking TREES ARE NOT ORANGE, AND THEY DON'T HAVE BLUE BARK! In order to get the final effect and pick up light, the base coats of the trees needed to be bright colored. Next came two glazes of brown one light and one dark with finishing touches to teal to make the bark pop. Meanwhile friend Chloe and myself traced out the tree tops, while friend Zack cut them out with a roto-zip. We set up and assembly line and the whole cast helped paint!
(Friends Zack, Courtney, Amy, Melissa & Abbie)
In not time at all we had made enough "tree tops" for our woods!
Next friends Russ and Joe built a rail on top of the second stage level so we could attach the "tops" to the "bottoms" and with a little help of friend Lynn-
(The finished product!)
Now remember what I was saying about the paint colors picking up light?
(Friend Joe as the Wolf)
(Trying to eat (friend Amy) as Little Red Riding-hood)
(The Baker (friend Zack) & His wife (friend Courtney) Lost in the Woods)
(The Bakers Wife meets Cinderella (friend Terrace) running through the woods)
(The Princes (friends Joe & Spencer) Chasing after Cinderella)
 (In hot pursuit by Stepmother (Melissa) and Step-sisters (Lara & Chloe) )
(Jack (friend Cameron) crosses paths with the Baker)
As you can see the entire mood of the forest is changed by lighting and I believe this to be spectacular. This is some of my best work, but it would NEVER of been possible with out all the friends and volunteers helping me! I THANK ALL OF YOU!

The next thing on my list was the interiors of the three houses, Cinderella's, Jack's, and the Bakers and his wife. 
(Little Red has come for a loaf of bread for her Granny in the Woods, Please. Just a Loaf of Bread.)
During the beginning of Act II of the show an Angry Giant starts terrorizing the forest. We are first clued into this when an earth shattering crash rattles the Bakers house into a mess.

I rather enjoy the awful amount of noise this makes startling everyone actors included!

 (Cameron and "Milky White's" head.)
I would like to give thanks to Friend Cameron who took on the task of building "Milky White" Jack's starving cow and best friend.  On Broadway  "Milky white" was a professionally made fiberglass form cow. Cameron developed a way to create a functioning "Milky White" without breaking the bank.
 Our cow Cameron put together using a PVC pip frame, covered in chicken wire, with black plungers as the feet (these hide the wheels Milky White rolls on). The working jaw was made for us by the Davidson family, it is attached with a door spring so the jaw really opens and shuts.
(Like so...)
Cameron then covered the chicken wire with the help of Kimberly & Patricia in a combo of paper mache on the head, and using a white fabric that was sewn and glues onto the body's frame.
( Jack and Milky White, looks pretty good!)

I owe praise and thanks to everyone, the Director, the Set Team, Wane, Larry, Bryson,  I cant forget to mention Costuming Cheryl and Lisa, to all the Volunteers this show could not have been pulled off with out you all! 

 I always love getting to create and plan how things are going to look, its always a journey from paper to stage and although it has its ups and downs its a journey I never regret taking.  We've been into the woods, and out of the woods, and it came to pass, all that seemed wrong was now right, and those who deserved to were certain to live a long and happy life...



Dana@Mid2Mod said...

It looks FANTASTIC!!! The trees are killer!!! As soon as we get this weekend's festival behind us, I'll start trying to figure out who can come with me next weekend.

Jim said...

As you will too Mick making more wonderful sets such as this one! Amazing how the light will change everything! I always learn something here. Thanks for this! Must be great to be doing something you like to do.

Amber Von Felts said...

The trees look fabulous! I think Milky White steals the show though, lols!

Jennifer said...

This was one of my favorite shows at Wichita. The special effects were so cool! And the set looked awesome!