Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Built For The Imagination

Seussical's set, built by the fantastic volunteers Mrs. Teresa Case and her husband, will feature many HCSMT 'firsts' as our productions continue to expand.

Authors Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty took a "less is more" approach when eliminating some of Seussical's physical aspects prior to its first national tour. The famous duo, known for their broadway classic Ragtime and Disney favorite Anastasia, recognized the show was driven by the audience's imagination - connecting the show's scenery and theme.

Void of space and time, our set will follow this artistic choice. With a show that entangles over six Seuss stories, our stage must easily transform from the Jungle of Nool, to Whoville, to the Circus McGurkus... You can see how Ahrens and Flaherty struggled with Seussical on Broadway.

HCSMT's creative team is constructing a set that maximizes the vertical and horizontal planes on the tiny, music-hall stage in Brodbeck. Two 12-foot long catwalks on opposite sides of the stage allow performers to be amongst the audience, eliminating the need for scenery during Seussical's narrative-driven numbers. With a single, compact spotlight on characters 12 feet from the stage's apron, the audience's imagination will create the scenery, aided by expressive performers.

Vertically, the set features a faux proscenium, masking the famous columns flanking Brodbeck's stage. Acting as the binding of a book, this set piece spring fourth the performance's plot.

Nearly 30 feet behind the proscenium will be an 8-foot black wall, featuring silhouettes of Dr. Seuss' famous drawings, including Truffula trees, staircases, and who-homes. Extending the length of the stage, these flats will be placed similarly to Avenue Q's dwellings.

Behind this wall is a giant scrim, or white screen, reflecting LED colored lights, intended to direct a scene's mood. Illuminating from holes and crevices, this light will effectively contrast the black silhouette flats directly between the scrim and the audience. Patterns and moving lights will produce a "northern lights" effect behind the performers.

Lastly, three circular flats, with diameters of 8, 6, and 4 feet (stacked) will create a giant wedding-cake style moving flat. With a variety of roles, including the Who's dust speck and Horton's nest, this flat will create three different vertical planes during the performance. Expect this piece to move throughout the performance and be equipped with patterned lights moving to the beat of the music!

Our set will allow the audience to imagine, create, and explore the world of Seuss through the lenses of their imagination. Lighting and special effects from Parlights, INC with flashy, expressive costumes on our performers will easily transform the music hall into a vortex of possibilities. Like a Dr. Seuss book, each audience member will have their own, unique visual reaction. It's truly a set built for the imagination.

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