Love and Information

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Love and Information
Love and Information.jpg
Summary
Performance Dates
15th -19th May 2020
Performance Course
BA Acting
Location
Chandler Studio Theatre
Creative Team
Director
Guy Hollands
Set and Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Production Team
Production Manager
Colin Bell
Stage Manager
Deputy Stage Manager
Production Electrician
Stage Supervisor

Overview


Technical Stage Department

The technical stage department had three main scenic elements that were the bulk of prep, fit-up and production consideration. These elements were: A large BP screen, four light boxes hung at an angle, and a cloth hung from a steel box frame down onto the floor which thrust into the playing space.

The BP Screen

A priority of the design was for the venue to be entirely white. Initially, white masking on the Chandler tab system had been requested in order to produce that effect. The stage department immediately recognised that using the white masking in stock would not be adequate. As such, a plan collaborating the LX design, design, and stage departments needs manifested into a discussion about back-projecting onto a screen hung at tab track height behind and around the scenery. This way, the colour of the set would be manipulatable by the LX department and provide a wider scope of colour to the set.

The RCS already had a 15Mx8M BP screen that had a defect in its conduit pocket and had been stored away having never been used. In contact with the BP Screen Company, Harkness, we arranged for this BP screen to be sent to their shop and cut in two at the dimension of 15Mx3.8M, the height of the Chandler Tab Track. This way, the department cut a large sum of money from the cost of a new BP screen and added two BP screens to the Chandler stock.

The BP screen would have hung from a 6M scaff bar joined to two 3M curved scaff bars with scaff joiners. This bar configuration would be hung on drifts that went to cross bars directly above. Floods would be placed behind the screen and back-light onto it.

Light Boxes

The light boxes were four hung steel boxes with white muslin stretched across their face. The scenic effect intended to have light diffuse through the screens.

Originally, the light boxes were one large box. After raising concerns about rigging points and the build of the structure, the design was changed to four separate trapezoid boxes, one large one in the back, for smaller ones in-front. The boxes would hang from an angle that ascended towards the ceiling.

With flying irons built into the frame of the boxes, nylon cord would be tied to the boxes and suspend them from cross bars overhead. Nylon cord was decided upon because the number of points needed was more than we could supplement from stock, the boxes would need to be regularly accessed and shifted in order to focus lights above it, and the angles of the boxes would be easier to manipulate using cord. A concern with using cord was its susceptibility to melting under heat. With lights in close proximity to the cord, discussions were had as to how to avoid direct heat from hitting the lines. We decided that the cords would be far enough from heat exposure cast from lights that they would be safe to use.

Photography Screen.jpg

Photography Cloth

The cloth that was both hung and on the playing space would have been hung from a steel box frame with ties and curve onto the floor. The cloth would have been a bespoke cut as it became wider as it became longer. In order to produce a sufficient curve in the cloth as it transitioned from air to floor, a considerable amount of tension would have to have been pulled into the cloth. This, as well as actor movement on the cloth, meant that staples were unlikely to be sufficient and a plan to screw strips of wood into the floor that would overlay the sides of the cloth was devised. Cast would also have been instructed as to the limit of their movement on the cloth. The frame would have been screwed into the floor at base plates.


Further Considerations

In order to best achieve the look of an entirely white set, the venue would have had to be painted white. A sacrificial floor would have been lain in order to transition to the next show in as little time as possible. The walls and other parts of the venue would have still needed painting and would have been done before the fit-up date.

12 pieces of steel deck would have been placed side on in the venue serving as a seating bank, and had a centre aisle in the middle for audience egress. The deck went from 200MM to 400MM high and would have had a tread access and handrails to prevent falls and aid in egress and descent from the platform. A seating capacity of 88 was reached with this configuration.

The turn-around time from this show into the next show, Enron, was very short and required the set from Love and Information to be stricken in a morning. With the sacrificial floor, a cleared out dedicated space for stricken scenery to be stored, and equipment being used across both shows, it was theoretically possible.

Camera Render

Using the camera render tool in Vectorworks, we can get an approximate idea of sightlines and what audiences will be looking at from specific places in the venue.

Stage Management

LX Department

The lighting for this show was to resemble a photography studio, which opened up interesting avenues to go down in terms of design. Large flooding photography umbrellas, photography strobes as well as some generic fresnels were added into the plan as movable fixtures that actors could manipulate on set. This would help differentiate and shape each scene as well as giving it that photography studio look. An OHP projector was going to be used to highlight certain scenes and add an extra element for actors to play with and manipulate.

A giant light-box was to be suspended in the air above the actors. This was supposed to imitate the large diffusion screens you would see above models in photography. This proposed a challenge as it cuts off a lot of space for overhead and backlighting. This meant most of the fixtures were placed front of house and with many at steep angles around the light-box, cutting into as many areas as I could reach. There are some fixtures that are placed lower than the usual catwalk height and hover just above the tab track. This was to give myself as much throw as possible as the light-box was such a huge obstacle.

The light-box itself was difficult to light. The structure was a steel frame with muslin stretched over it. At first we settled on LED tape but the brightness would have been a problem and getting a smooth look would have been difficult. The simple construction meant we had little space to fix onto and to hide extra wiring and transformers. In the end we settled with flood lights to ensure it covered the entire box with few harsh lines and hotspots. Fitting these in between the catwalks and light-box was challenging as space was limited as well as considering the optimal angle and throw of the fixture. Rigging them above catwalk height would have given a more even and softer look to the box. However the downstage left box would have been entirely unreachable, so instead we decided to underig them just above the light-box.

There was also a row of floods behind the BP screen that could colour mix and light the cyc in various colours to suit each chapter.




During quarantine it became difficult to communicate and unfortunately the show could not be physically realised. I took this chance to create the set and put it into a visualiser - Capture. Doing this allowed me to experiment with different lighting angles and see whether or not there was enough space etc. Helpfully, this became an effective online alternative to communicate ideas to the director and designer. The renders were shared and they became almost like a virtual plotting session.

Also the small props are very cute. The wine glass is my favourite.

Sound Department

AV Department

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