Educating Rita vs Sons of the Prophet

by:  Rebecca Bellan at 03/07/2011

Most of the shops on Huntington Ave are busy juggling two productions. With Educating Rita opening in two weeks and Sons of the Prophet beginning rehearsal next week, Props, Paints, and Sound have a lot on their hands.

Antique Morris chair

In the Props shop, Kris Holmes said that they are still not done with Educating Rita. “We have a chair to reupholster, and there are a bunch of paper props and documents that have to be made up that are specific to the show, and we have to get some period-looking packing boxes. Basically, we are sort of working on the finishing touches,” said Holmes. In addition to these finishing touches, all the props and furniture still need to be installed on the stage.

With Educating Rita mostly underway, Props has had the chance to begin work on Sons of the Prophet. “As a matter of fact,” said Kris, “I’m just now starting to pull the small hand props so they’ll have that stuff for rehearsal starting probably Tuesday or Wednesday next week.” They have begun work of some of the furniture. The ticket counter is almost built, and Andrew Deshazo is working on building the doctor’s exam table to be light weight. The bus station seats are coming in the mail, along with a few other materials.& “There’s a bunch of stuff that’s still in the works. We’ve just kind of hit the tip of the iceberg.”

Elevation for Portal #4

The paints shop is in good shape. They have finished working on the set of Educating Rita and are just waiting for it to go onstage. Currently, they are working on ‘portal number four’ for Sons of the Prophet. This portal is going to look like dark brick that fades into blackness.& “We’re making the brick with some thickness, so from far away it looks real. The idea of the designer is that the brick kind of just fades into blackness,” said Kristin Krause. The finished effect is stunning.

Paints isn’t working anything other than the portals this week, but next week they'll have notes for Rita onstage and begin working on a show scrim for Sons of the Prophet.

The Sound department is working on both shows, as well. “John Gromada, the designer/composer, is composing original music for Educating Rita,” said Ben Emerson. “It’s a fairly straightforward design, in that it’s transitional music. There are also a couple of practicals that we need to work on.”

By “practicals” Emerson was referring to a radio that will be onstage and play some music, along with a record player that plays a very specific piece of music. “We have to provide special speakers around the set to support the practicals,” he said.

As for Sons of the Prophet, Emerson is currently working on the microphones. “There are a couple of table top microphones that are used in the school board scene, and because the table has to track on and off, the mics need to be able to be struck separately. This means that we need wireless mics,” said Emerson.

The only problem is that they don’t own enough wireless mics. To solve the problem, they plan to use the small mics that are usually pinned to an actor’s hair or lapel. In this case, the mics will be tucked underneath the regular microphone and the transmitter is going to be hidden underneath the mic stand. Props dept is going to build something to help modify the mic stand to accomplish this task.

That’s all for this week. Looking forward to see what stays, what goes, and what progresses as the opening night for Educating Rita nears and rehearsal for Sons of the Prophet begins. For more photos visit our Facebook.

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About me

Todd Williams has contributed to the Huntington's blog since it was started in the fall of 2006, and he enjoys writing and sharing the Huntington's activities here whenever he can.

Todd started working at the Huntington in 1991 as light board operator, and then served as the Master Electrician for 10 seasons. Todd is now the Huntington Theatre Company's Production Mangager, the position he has held since 2002 .

Todd previously worked for the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, Trinity Repertory Company, and The Collins Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition to the many shows that Todd has worked on here, his favorite project has been working with the Huntington staff, architects, consultants and contractors to design and build out the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, which opened as the Huntington's second stage in 2004.

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