Nels Anderson This is getting a bit embarrassing, but this photo does present a slightly different point of view. This photo is of the pre-set of the lighting which is seen by the audience when it enters the theatre. Since most productions today do not use a front curtain (main drape), a lighting cue is developed to create a mood representative of the show, and to give a pleasing picture for the audience to view the world of the play before it begins. A play contains a lot of exposition in the opening moments, information that is necessary to understand the world in which the play exsists. Sets and lights cab help. We can obviously discern that the setting is a diner owned by a lady named Grace. It's a rather unsophisticated room, with simple furnishings, including a scramble of mismatched tables and chairs. Grace did not call up her local restaurant supply and order new furnishings when she opened her cafe. She assembled them from what she could readily find locally. There are several signs that indicate the diner serves as a bus stop, just in case the audience member hasn't noticed the name on the porgram. I'm being a bit silly here. Of course they know it's a bus stop.....that's the name of the play! But, the posters are for the Continental Trailways Bus Company, which was formed just prior to the time in which the play is set. The buses on the posters are from a recognizable period of bus design....1940s and 1950s. That gives a hint of the period of the story. Also, a glance at the prices on the menu board let's you know that the play is definitely not contemporary. 40 or 50 cents for a hamburger or cheeseburger? When the last time you saw that. The windows of the diner are heavily frosted, and it looks like someone has been wiping off the interior condensation. That gives us an idea of the weather conditions which ultimately cause this story to play out. The roads are closed. The passengers are caught in a kind of travel purgatory. You get the idea. We've all been there at some point. There is a great deal of information to be gleened from sets and lights even before the play begins. I'll be talking to the audience tonight just before the show begins, and will explain a lot more about the world in which this play exists.
As you read in the prior post after the working drawings are delivered the Technical Director makes build drawings. I will only post a few here.
The design is a go, then the designer makes what we call working drawings. Here are the seven plates that make up the working drawings for Bus Stop.
Nels and I have many conversations on the phone. We talk about where the play is set, what year, what season, etc. After we feel we understand each other, Nels sends a sketch of how he sees the playing space.
People often ask how a show comes to be. This is not as easy a question as you might think. First of all the choice of the play is made by Keith and myself a year in advance sometimes more. After that we talk about designers for the show. Who do we think will help us tell the story of the show best. Who is the set designer, the person that will create the space the actors will walk in. Who will work well with that set designer to light the show with just the right feeling and texture to create the mood and feeling of the play. Then who will costume the characters just the way you would imagine they would dress and who will create the soundscape that will surround the play and you in exactly the right place, mood and feeling.