In The Wings - On A Prayer

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Anthony Bailey

Monday, July 24, 2017

Last weekend us ‘amdram’ folk – the back stage crew that is - met up on the stage in our deserted village hall to try and sort out the scenery stacked at the back of what is a wide but rather shallow stage area. The aim was to reduce the amount of scenery and move two of the six big tower structures that I made some years ago, to a rather small scenery storage building not far from the hall. These towers have history, they were first made for a play set on three continents – London, New York and Sydney, called ‘Ladies Who Lunch’. The towers were fixed and scenery changed in between them, between acts along with the actors who also swapped over, interesting and complex to do, as you might imagine. The towers have been used repeatedly since then in every play, perhaps notably lying down and used as platforms for the actors in ‘Jane Eyre’, my eldest daughter taking the part of Jane. However six towers is a crowd, so two were taken in turn using a trolley and some muscle, hauling them to the remote scenery store.

The next job be started and hopefully finished in last Saturday’s session, was to install hardboard above the stage above where the wing curtains used to hang. Working at height in hot, sweaty conditions is never fun but I was the one up the ladder being fed large pieces of hardboard from below, which I had already cut to fit. This included cutting a hole for a one of the roof reinforcement rods and doing various ‘blind’ cuts in the middle of the sheets without a jigsaw or holesaw in sight. It’s amazing what you can do on site with only a sharp hardpoint saw! Anyway, working off steps and climbing on top of secured scenery flats, praying nothing would start sliding away underneath me, I managed to get all the board up and away, screwed in position ready for the painting team to paint out in matt black, thus reducing the need for black curtaining, which tends to get in the way of the set when built. The next job will be when the professional stage suppliers come in and hang new ‘tabs’ – front curtains. We are gradually getting the stage area upgraded and it should all be ready for our winter production!

This weekend I’m going to make a water trough for soaking ‘withies’ (willow stems) so my daughter can make willow sculptures and also make a start on our new bathroom vanity and storage unit – it never stops…

Until next time,

Anthony

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