Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm Back from Wonka's Factory

Sorry for my little disappearing act. I joined Willy Wonka's Oompa Loompas and helped create a factory right here in Reno, NV. My girls both love musical theatre. Any theatre really, but musicals are so much fun. Since one of my core beliefs is supporting them in their endeavors, I offer up my talents every year to the middle school that my youngest is now a part of. Miss K did a couple of productions here and Miss H is following in her footsteps. This year's production was Willy Wonka Jr. Miss H had the honor of being selected to be Violet Beauregard, an unfortunate young lady that is so obsessed with her gum chewing that she fails to see the truly marvelous world that is being presented to her. Haley created a southern belle accent that was to "dye" for.

Here she is turning into a blueberry, a la a moo moo style dress with an inflatable pumpkin suit beneath all the layers of fabric.

Before the chewing gum dye took its full effect. I wish I had a good photo of her blue and fat, but alas I do not. Our photographer didn't capture it. BTW, the action shots are not my photography. One of our semi retired teachers did all of the pics for us. If you are interested you can see more here.

I did all of the set design, most of the painting and small detail work, as well as the light design and then actually ran the lights for all 8 shows. Hubby was in charge of all of the other technical stuff, including managing the students doing the spots, and the special effects. I was putting in 14 hour days there for a while. I'm happy to report I haven't really cleaned my house in the last few weeks and certainly haven't done anything remotely creative for the home. But, I can show you what I was up to... Join me on a tour of the factory and its surroundings, will you? 

The Bucket Shack

The candy store front. Below is the Candy Man with the cart I designed and built for him.

I did the factory front and gates behind them too. Isn't our Charlie the cutest little thing? He has the voice of an angel. He's only a sixth grader. I can't wait to see him as he gets older and his voice changes.

A generic outside wall.

The Shrinking Room. The effect of this little tunnel was stunning from the audience perspective. I had intended to add detailing on the ceiling and along the walls, but ran out of time. In the end simple really was better, it worked a great backdrop for the Fizzy Lifting Room Scene too. Too bad I can't find a single photo of that scene. Boo.

The chocolate smelter. The chocolate fabric is pulled out and Augustus fell into it and disappeared off the front of the stage.

We changed the blocking for this a little by the time we ran the public performances. There's that generic wall under the factory lighting scheme.

The Pink Candy Boat for the nightmare scene. We rigged the boat with an internal fog machine so that by the end of the scene fog was rolling off the stage and into the crowd. It looked so cool with the strobe and blue led lights!

The Inventing Room. The chalk board has different chemical formulas for blue dye. A slightly nerdy addition on my part. Why is there a bbq in this room? Well, we needed something for the three course dinner to go into and the gum ball to come out of...and ran out of time to make it into the glorified gumball machine I had envisioned. A short production run time was not in my favor.

The Nut hopper that Miss Veruca Salt finds herself falling into.

Good bye Veruca, hope the incinerator isn't lit today. Aren't the squirrels cute?

Mike Tevee's Choco Vision Room. We utilized fog from behind the gauge and strobe and a light chase to create the entire scene before lowering a mini Mike on the other side of the stage. For a scene that didn't get a whole lot of our attention early on, it turned out quite well.

Wonka with the mini Mike. I loved the Oompa Loompa costumes. 

Needed a wide angle lens to get the entire cast during bows. Oh well... I cannot begin to describe how much work this was. BUT. I also cannot begin to describe what an amazing experience these productions are every year. I know 90% of the 65 member student cast by first name. I will see them around school, around town and later in life and we will remember each other. That includes the principal's daughter and the superintendent's son. Priceless.

Now, back to cleaning my house, freshening up a bit for spring and completing a neglected project or twenty. I missed you guys!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Teresa, great post. I am in the last stages of building a set for a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for an International School in Bratislava, Slovakia. I like some of your ideas and wished I would have found this page much earlier.
    The long haul is over and the finishing touches are taking place but it has been fun so far. Look out for a blog post of our show after next week.