Dead Man Walking

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Dead Man Walking
Summary
Location
New Athenaeum Theatre
Creative Team
Director
Carolione Clegg
Set & costume `Desginer
Adrian Linford
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Production Team
Production Manager
Kevin Murray
Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Managers
[[]], [[]], [[]]
Production Electrician
Lighting Programmer
Stage Supervisor
Head of Automation and Flys
Assistant Stage Supervisors

Overview

This particular production was a special one for the Conservatoire as it was the UK Premier of the opera. Designed by Adrian Linford and Directed by Caroline Clegg, the production opens with a gruesome rape/murder scene which sets the overall dark theme of the production. The prelude ends and the entire feel of the production is transformed from a cold prison into a summery, Sunday school with a cast of child performers. The opera develops the story of Joseph De Rocher and the connection he has with Sister Helen Prejean. Act one erupts into an impressively powerful display of vocals from the large cast and the decision to sentence Joseph to death is made.

Act 2 develops the feelings between Sister Helen and Jo and allows the audience to overlook the horrific crime he committed with his brother in the prelude, only to drench it all back towards the end of the act with another display of operatic power during the 'dead man walking' death march to the execution chamber. The production ends on the death of Jo and the heartfelt hymn by a solo Sister Helen.

Stage Management

Stage Manager - Poppy Apter Deputy Stage Manager - Rachel Matthews Assistant Stage Managers - Conor Brown, Hannah Henderson, Noah Dates and Stuart Henderson

This was a complicated show with a large cast of roughly 60 performers, plus the orchestra. It also included various prop elements which required time and thought, including; blood, weapons, fire and manacles.

Below is a document detailing how Opera 2 works at the RCS, with a specific focus on the role of an ASM as it is the role which strays furthest from a traditional opera ASM's role. This may be useful for future Opera 2 stage managers when managing their team of 4 ASMs.

Opera 2 at RCS.png

The Technical Stage Department

Stage supervisor - Regan Kelly Head of Automation and Flys - Daryl Campbell

The production design was fairly simplistic, yet beautiful and very effective in setting the environment for every scene. There were no large set changes or major flown items; A three dimensional cloth, painted in the form of three large red geraniums was the brunt of the productions flown pieces - along with a small frame of gauze painted eyes.

The set itself consisted of steel deck balconies with steel support structure and an array of aesthetic 3m tall panels of wood cladding and prison bars attached to the front section of the decks. The balconies were running US/DS, tapering towards the US to meet a large vac-formed rear wall. Please see image below for more detail:

DMW Cloth and Walls.jpeg

DMW Steel Structure.jpeg


In this production there weren't any major technical effects being produced, it was simply a case of installing steel deck and getting the right formation of masking to hide the upper balconies.

Automation was used to lift to truss lengths behind each balcony section on which lighting ladders were hung.


An interesting technical feature is the USL balcony section that protrudes out from the rest of the SL balcony. This section is a custom altered piece of steel deck. The structure of the corner of the deck was severed and welded into a chamfered edge. The deck was also cantilevered - meaning from the auditorium it appeared to be a structural overlook balcony. The TSD department assisted the workshop department in performer preliminary CAD structural tests on the design to ensure the design proposed would be suitable for cantilevering. Below are images of the structural tests with a force of 4200N (the weight of a 500kg mass on the balcony end):

DMW - Cantileaver.png

DMW - Cantileaver Stress 1.png DMW - Cantileaver Stress 2.png

As expected the offstage side of the webbing on the steel deck structure is experiencing the most structural stress however the deck itself is experiencing minimal deflection. A practical test can now be done safely.

Flys and Automation

Paper Work

File:Dead_man_walking_fly_cue_sheet_.pdf
File:Fly_Rail_Label_K.pdf
File:Flys_check_list.pdf

Lighting Department

Lighting Designer - Craig Stevenson

Production Electrician - Adlai Faigen

Lighting Programmer - Matthew Craigen

Lighting Crew - Nicholas Ruebenacker Lea Meloee

Lighting Plans