One of the biggest challenges in conceiving my approach to a show is creating the world in which the characters are going to live and move about.

Wagons swinging out with benches on pit lift.
Stage Left Elevation

So as I puzzled over The Hunchback of Notre Dame over the last several months, I cataloged inspiration on a Pinterest board and then printed out all the photos that “spoke” to me and spread them across my dining room table at home and started grouping similar photos until a concept started to form.  Well, actually, in this case – as is often the case – several concepts were formed. For “Hunchback” I narrowed it down to about four different approaches and then started whittling away “what do I want” from “what do I need” and “what would be cool” from “what can we actually build” and “what would be fantastic” from “what can we afford” and “what would be a new approach” from “what have we done previously.”

I next start drawing out what I think the set is going to look like.  I usually start with rough pencil sketches that then evolve into digital versions with exact measurements.

Wagons swinging in with benches on platforms
Stage Right Elevation

Sometimes the only way I can solve the design challenges of a show is to build a model – particularly if the set I have in mind has moving parts like I plan for “Hunchback”.  So I spent Memorial Day weekend with my T square, architect ruler, x-acto knife, cardboard and glue and set about creating the world of the Notre Dame.  This is a great way to discover new ways to utilize the set and learn the problems you may encounter before going to the expense and effort of building things full size.

When it comes time to actually build the set there will be changes made but even then the model gives me and the rest of the team a “jumping off” point of reference for the set building, the costumes, the choreography and the music of the production.  It also perhaps most importantly gives the actors an idea of the world they will be working in long before they have actual steps and platforms to perform upon.

Trey Peterson as “Jafar” in the NHHS production of “Aladdin Jr.” earlier this spring.

This month the PAC Kid Spotlight shines on Trey Peterson. Trey’s talents have been highlighted on the theatre stage as well as the basketball court and he will be playing a lead role in this summer’s Youth Theatre production Thoroughly Modern MillieLearn more about Trey and our other PAC Kids.

And finally, our Hocus Focus program survey winner was Ron Masoni. Congrats sir on your $20 PAC Gift Certificate!