Now that I am being back to doing what I do best, I thought I would give you all a taste of some of what goes into making our shows happen. Since the up coming The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is opening in about 2 weeks, and it is our biggest show thus far when it come to props and costumes, I thought I would give you a brief preview.
First meet The Shea. Deb Shea to be exact. The Shea came on board for our first production of Robin Hood 2 years ago, when we were still TRiBE for CHiLDREN, and has designed , built, and/or purchased all the costumes and props for all of our shows ever since. Yes she is that amazing. She is a wonder and a miracle worker with the kind of budget she is given to work with. Also in the back is her mom, Ms. The Shea, who we always thank because she helps out and has helped deliver the goods to the theatre more than once. Thank you Ms. The Shea.
Since makeshift does not have a permanent theatre to call home we use Mr. Rhodes's house for temporary and permanent storage. This Saturday we begin the second run of Sleeping Beauty. In this picture we see all the props and costumes for the show in the stage cubes where they have been waiting in between runs in Mr. Rhodes's living room. Needless to say he has very understanding roommates. If you look closely you will see some of the props for (abridged) also put aside in this impromptu staging area. Speaking of (abridged)...
For those of you who are not familiar with the show it consists of 3 men performing all 37 of Shakespeare's plays in just under 2 hours. As you can imagine there are many costume changes and prop peaces, as I said earlier this is the largest show we have ever done. Our stage manager, Emily Brown, has been assisting The Shea in acquiring all the necessary items for this show. Lets take a look at some of these...
Here are some of the items we had to purchase. Pictured here is an asp for Anthony and Cleopatra, a sword for general swordy-goodness, and a few items for when the guys turn all of Shakespeare's comedies into one play. These are only a hand full of all the props that are starting to come together for the show
Also we have the Converse Chuck Taylor's which are iconic to the show. They are such a part of the show that they are pictured in the poster. These were bought and I believe each cast member is purchasing them from the company as keepsakes from the production. The Shea is busy working on the costumes she is building for (abridged), Purchasing material and getting patterns. Some of the costume peaces that are just used for one scene are being purchased from locations such as the local Salvation Army, Boston Costume, and the Garment District. Some items are being borrowed and will be dry cleaned and returned to their generous owners, and proper thanks printed in the program.
Most small independent theatre companies barrow a lot of what they need for shows, or have the actors be responsible for all of their own costumes. Mr. Rhodes never liked this idea to much, mostly because he never has much to choose from in his own closet. From the start he put aside a portion of the budget for each show for props and costumes. The idea being that things will be used over, and over, and over again, and the budget will go down for each show. So far this theory is winning out.
One of the challenges with this is storage space. Since we do not have a theatre of our own at this time, here is a picture of what I like to call the "HOLD". It's Mr. Rhodes's cellar where we store all of our stuff. The place is pretty damn creepy at night and looks like the hold of an old pirate ship. The house is some 90 years old, and has wooden slats every where and the cobwebs give it that certain "ich" effect. For those of you familiar with our shows, if you enlarge the picture you can see the Misdirected Trunk, a bow from Robin Hood, and some pillows from Aladdin, among other things.
I hope this gives you a brief idea of what goes into creating the craziness you see on stage. Some of these thing are finished and used for the first time the day of the performance. believe it or not. So, when you see an actor on stage looking pretty sweet in the fancy duds, take a look in the program and see who made it possible for them to strut their stuff and give them some high fives if you see them at the show.
Next week I should have some pictures form the Regent opening of Sleeping Beauty! See you then!