Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Other Art

Mushnik's Skid Row Florist, Little Shop of Horrors, 2012
 When I'm not painting, which is pretty often, I'm a high school teacher.  Part of what that job has become over the years is being in charge of our drama program.  I'm not a naturally gifted director, but over the years I've developed some skills (if I do say so myself.)

However, being the visual guy that I am, I took pretty naturally to theatrical design.  I'm okay at costumes, but sets are really where  my bread is buttered.  I think I was so drawn to it because I  like the idea of creating a world.  To conjure up a place that the audience will let their minds live in for a little while as we tell them a story is a special kind of creativity in action.


Skid Row, Little Shop of Horrors, 2012
Most recently, I designed and directed LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. It fast became one of my favorite shows, and faster became my favorite set design of any that I have created before now.

Here are two sketches.  One for the interior of Mushnik's.  The other, for Skid Row in general.  I wanted to go past the grit and grime that was required to communicate the play's pre-determined setting and find more.  I like the idea that something beautiful can be found in unlikely places, and since this was a theme of the show, my plan was to let some of that come through the design.

Later on, I'll post some completed production photos with the finished product.  I  had to eliminate a few elements as it all progressed, to reduce clutter and open the composition a little, but in a lot of ways, this design is still my most complete to date.  I didn't run out of time and have to compromise my vision.  My Theatre Arts class and I got it all done, and to be honest, it ended up working out better as the finished product than it did as the original design.  That's a nice change of pace for the producing/directing/designing/ building one-man theater department - let's hope it's the start of a trend.

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