Friday, February 27, 2009

Meet the cast of The Furniture of Home

Here's a new video interview with the cast of The Furniture of Home where the actors talk about the show, their characters, bringing a new play to the stage, and their trip to Mobile, Alabama for Mardi Gras!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Set of The Furniture of Home Pt. 1

Ask any actor and they'll tell you that any set they work on really affects how they connect with the character who belongs to that created world. The environment changes how a person interacts with other actors and even changes how they perceive their own character.

So, how then, do you interact with the home that you've grown old (or grown up) in when all that's left is the floor and one wall?

If you saw any of the photos or news coverage from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina then you'll understand the challenge of bringing this devastation to our Octagon Theatre and make it so the actors could still connect with the set. The house and trinkets that would have made it a home are all missing from this set, the only things left being a washed up large blue chair and refrigerator. This added challenge for the actors could be a challenge or opportunity but it definitly made for an interesting time down in the scene shop.

I've been paying regular visits to the scene and prop shops to find out how they've brought the Bayou to the stage and here's a photo tour of the past few weeks.

Here's the set designer's painted version of the set design. Used as information, copies are always kept on the board so that the artists can check their work.

Always building walls! I believe this will form the longer wall with the doorway.

This is view from the end of the 100's section of seats.

It's all slowly coming together.

The dreaded red "X" to mark your house for demolition.

Now that the set for Bear Country is out of the theatre there's room for the new set.

The next installment will follow the finishing touches and set decorating. Keep a look out for the entry on the two chairs being built for the show, the blue arm-chair and a special steel version of a folding chair!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Furniture of Home Broadcasts

Catch the new publicity for Furniture of Home on radio and tv this week! Tune in to:

Tuesday 2/24 – WAKA CBS 8 AM show around 6:30 – 7AM – Anne Letscher and Alexis Camins
Mix 103.3 FM JT & Leanne – between 7:30 – 8 AM - Anne Letscher and Alexis Camins
WSFA NBC 12 Noon show – between 12-12:30 PM – Greta Lambert and Philip Clark

Wednesday 2/25 – WTSU 89.9 FM Troy Public Radio – 12:12 - 12:20PM – Greta Lambert and Meg Lewis


A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

Everything is so exciting around the theatre these days! We just finished the run of our incredibly popular show Bear Country and now have a two week window to carefully remove and store that set while moving in the pieces of our next show, The Furniture of Home.

Key to this upcoming play are the pull of memories and their physical embodiment, family photographs. Our props department could have just printed copies of photos from the web but they wanted the candid and haunting quality of damaged real family photographs to be strung around the set. A few days after a building wide email calling for photos, the props department had a good start on the number of photos that they'd need for the set. The photos of different employees and their friends/families, pets, homes, landscapes,etc. featured their varied lives and brings a great sense of community to the set and adds another layer of emotion for the actors.

Getting the photos was the first step but the next was to distress them so they looked as if they had been through a hurricane and the resulting flood. Shanley from props first tried to soak them in water to see how the water affected the pigment in the photos. The effect that the plain water had was a few water marks, but not the type of distressing that would result from days of soaking after the storm.

So Shanley and I went on a field trip around the outside of the building to find organic material to soak the photos in and hopefully cause more damage to the color and images. We found a great patch of Alabama Clay which I didn't get a picture of because I couldn't resist playing in the mud. Once I had cleaned up as best I could I snapped a few pictures of the rest of the distressing recipe:

One cup dark top soil. I hope Karen the master gardener doesn't mind!

One cup mulch. Probably from the guys cleaning up the extra growth out in the park.

One cup gravel for that extra banged up look. I bet this pile was intended to help fill in the gravel parking lot. I doubt they'll miss a cup or so.

Optional: Add leaves and moss for that authentic look.

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a large bucket and add water. Stir the photos at intervals to move the gravel and other materials together.

After letting sit for a few days, Shanley has pulled the photos up and out of the muck to dry on a clothes line, very similar to what will happen to them on the set. It may take a few more dips and some clever use of paint but I know the set will be perfect like always for the opening of The Furniture of Home, playing March 6th-29th. Don't miss out on this great show, call the Box Office at 334-271-5353 or visit for ticket info. Try out our Loveseat Special and check back here for more insider info from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dressing the Part - The Furniture of Home

We have news on the quickly approaching The Furniture of Home, our fifth show and second world premiere of this season. Following the outstanding success of Bear Country which broke attendance records for our Octagon stage and brought a new audience to the theatre, this new comedy mixes laughter and tears, fear and romance, youthful exuberance and proven patience to our stage. Addressing the continuing effort to rebuild the Gulf Coast after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, these characters, like the people they mimic, don't give into self pity about the circumstances they've found themselves in. With lively banter and realistic situations, these characters struggle to rebuild and face the choice to stay in the broken community or leave for a new home.

The Costume Shop shared scans of the costume designs for the four characters with me and I'm sharing them now with you. Enjoy!

Dottie, the tough loving grandmother of Kendall, tries to keep the remains of her family together and all their heads above water.

Kendall, clever and intuitive, she ignores the love of her only stable family member and instead favors the imagined love of her absent mother.

Butch returned to Bayou La Batre after the Hurricane and finds his old friend Dottie. Was it the Hurricane that brought him back, or the winds of change?

Boone, a quiet young man and friend to Kendall. These two strike a deal to help each other find the pieces of the past that might help them find a future in the battered Bayou La Batre.