Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hammers, nail, and puppy dog tails!

If you build it they will come....and Kevin Costner isn't even a part of this. How exciting!

Chop saws and the smell of 2x4's and getting sawdust in my hair reminds me of my dad building things in the basement while I was growing up. and of Saturdays in high school...when all of us Drama Club Nerds would wake up early, head to the theatre, and work all day at set construction, creating this whole new world for us to play in....and on and under and around. I can't tell you how fortunate I feel having this constructive background in the pockets of my life-experience-tool-belt (whoa! cheese!) really, though....being adept at hammer-swinging has come in handy over and over again in my life as an actor.

And such was the case at Red Tape last week.

Since joining the ensemble back in June, I've helped out striking two different shows, but working on Bill Anderson's set for Obscura marked my first real construction with the company. And this, I love. Strike is always fun, seeing as how you get to just tear stuff apart and break things and generally show off your destructive prowess. . .

But building. building is a whole different beast.

When you're building a set you have to be specific, thoughtful, and patient. Luckily for me (and the actors in Obscura) our TD, Kyle Land is all of those things. Because, if the steps aren't all exactly the same height, the actors are going to trip every time they walk upstairs. If the platform you're putting ten feet in the air isn't secure, the actors could plummet to their DEATHS in the middle of act two! Well. probably not, but you get the idea. Kyle is a master builder, and it was loads of fun working with him. He kept me in line....mostly... It's just that there is a precision that comes with building an entire set that is simply exhilarating. If you put this riiiight here, and that riiiiight there, you suddenly stand back to see a looming monstrosity that you created with your own hands. It's part of the art of theatre that, as an actor, I think we tend to forget about. The set can often tell a story by itself. We actors, that are stomping around on it every night are just extras. With voices....

But the set.
The set creates a world for us to play in. It tells us so much about where we are, and who are and why we are. Even though I'm not acting in this production, being a creator of that world--knowing that the story wouldn't be the same without me. . . well, that is a pretty cool feeling.

soooooooooo. come see Obscura! It's like shake 'n bake...and I helped! but. with wood. and no chicken.

Amanda Reader
Ensemble Member

Obscura runs Sep 23- Oct 23.
Tickets are available through our website!

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