Well, we had a productive weekend in the shop. I had committed to spending Friday evening and Saturday designing, focusing and programming lights for a friend who is directing a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at Looking Glass Playhouse. So, I didn’t get into the shop to work on Atomic until Sunday.
On Thursday, Sharon painted the big wall. So, the first thing that Kate and I did on Sunday morning was to stick the windows and doors back in for a quick photo and then take it apart and store it until load in next week.
The last big piece(s) to build are the front an back bars. There is also a table to build that can hold the weight of an actor, but that is easy…
The back bar really is the portion of the bar with the most detail and I knew that it would be the most difficult to construct, so we started with it. I had to detail in to come apart so that we could easily get it into the theater. There is a dock at the Marcelle, but using it is a pain in the ass, so I had to design it to come apart in pieces that I am confident that we can get through the front door. Originally, I was going to make the back bar just as a base cabinet and then the upper portion with the shelves ad mirror, but I started getting a bit cautious as it went together. For “Heathers” I had two large pieces that really were hard to get into the building. They ultimately came in thru the dance studio, but that pissed off the dance people, so…
I decided that I could make the center mirror portion and then the two shelf units on either sides that could be added after it is in the room. Hopefully, the base cabinet and front bar can go in whole, but those are a lot easier to take apart if necessary.
My first task was to detail the back bar and know how big I would make each piece. I do this for most set pieces just because it saves a ton of time and frustration when we get into the shop. It also forces me to think thru how I will actually make each component, choose a material, etc. This may sound simple and sensible, but in my 40 years of theater, I have known many more people who just start assembling and figure things out as they go…These of course are amateurs and it shows in their end result.
We began by laying out the center section on a full sheet of luan. It is 4-feet wide and 6-feet tall at the center of the mirror trim. The 4-foot width fall behind the two pilasters that the lamps sit on, so that made an excellent place to marry the two side shelf units once this is moved. The whole thing is made from luan and 1×4 lumber, mostly recycled from previous shows.
The biggest question and one that I was the most apprehensive about was the fluted face of each pilaster. Buying 8″ wide fluted trim was ridiculously expensive. An 8-foot piece was $200 plus shipping…not happening on our budget. So, I opted to make my own. It can be done with a router into 3/4″ plywood, but I have never been as good with a router as I would need to be to make this happen. So, my trusted fall-back is styrofoam. I cut some nice, straight guide strips out of luan, taped them to the foam and then used a v-groove blade in the hot knife to cut my flutes…worked acceptably.
Tuesday and/or Wednesday evenings, we will tackle the base cabinet and the front bar and they will all be ready for paint…