STAGE TUBE: Behind-the-Scenes with Tennessee Rep's THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Guest Blogger: Tenessee Repertory Theatre
Tennessee Repertory Theatre continues its 2013-2014 season with Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, a Trivial Comedy for Serious People. The classic comedy opens October 12th with a scheduled run thru October 26th (previews October 10-11), but the crew here at Tennessee Rep has already been in the thick of Earnest for quite some time.
Have you ever sat down and wondered what it takes to bring Victorian England to modern day Nashville, besides H.G. Wells time machine? Well, if you haven't the simple answer is: a lot. A lot of really intelligent and dedicated professionals you never see doing a lot of research, putting in a lot of hours, completing quite a lot of very detailed work (because in case you didn't know Victorian does not exactly mean simplicity or minimalism). Along with the actors and the director these individuals are helping our chosen play make that important leap from page to stage and we at Tennessee Rep thought you should know a little about this behind the scenes process. So let's start with the show element that you see in the theatre first: the set.
The set for The Importance of Being Earnest was designed by Tennessee Rep's Resident Scenic Designer Gary C. Hoff. It is Gary's job to give you, the audience, a good first impression and if you saw our last production, Larries, or any of our other shows during Gary's reign as Head of Design here at Tennessee Rep since 1999 then you know he is very good at his job. Gary says he designed the set for The Importance of Being Earnest to be accurate to the Victorian period except in its colors. They are "brighter, bigger, and broader" he says than traditional Victorian colors which tend to be heavy and dark. He decided on these colors because they are "more fun" and lend themselves to the comedy and satire of the play.
Now the building of a set, especially a period one, can be almost like undertaking the building of a house. The details of such elements as flooring, molding, and even door jams all have to be considered and built. So the construction of one single set can encompass an endless array of individual little projects. Luckily, since this is the theatre our scene shop doesn't always have to use real world materials to create a real world look. After safety and functionality the three questions considered when building for the theatre are how cheap can we make it for, how fast can we make it, and how good will it look. So while you may look to Pinterest for the answers to these questions we look to people like Gary, a human Pinterest. Watch the following guide to see a few of the many projects in the build from start to finish and learn some of Gary's tricks to try yourself. Then come see Tennessee Rep's production of The Importance of Being Earnest to see how your work compares to the master's. However, if you do not have the time, energy, space, funds, and/or any reason whatsoever to attempt these projects just come see The Importance of Being Earnest to see the results. We'll do all the work for you.
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