By Christina Diabo
While opening night looms amongst musicians, artists and dancers, Lynn’s woodshop has sawdust in the air, nails hitting the floor and paint brushes applying the last coats as they finish the pieces that make up the set for Celebration of the Arts’ main event.
“The objective of scenery is to enhance the performance and to focus the performance on the performers,” said Adam Simpson, technical director. “Really what I want is for the audience to walk away thinking about the overall experience of the whole show and how good it was and how awesome the performers were.”
Toward the end of February, after months of designing, planning and creating – Simpson, students and volunteers began to construct the set that will take the stage alongside the performers.
“Making the sets is a lot of hard work,” said Tuquane Stevens, volunteer. “You put your back into it and a lot of the times it can be stressful because you are worried about how it is going to look at the end of it because you don’t really know until you are right on the verge of finishing it.”
With 20 numbers and 13 different scenes built for this year’s annual show, each number has at least one handmade piece, ranging from 40 to 50 hours of labor spent on construction.
“Almost each number has something, some of them are huge like a gigantic house or an orphanage and then some are sort of abstract like the spiral staircase that we made for the finale and then others are small like a lamp post,” said Simpson. “Most of [the material] is actually recycled from the barn in the Laramie Project.”
As the designs undergo the transformation from concept to paper and structure, the team must be strategic when putting the pieces together.
“We run into challenges all the time,” said Jacob Andyreas, assistant technical director. “We are always playing with things that we have never done before, or we might do something that does not work and then we have to go back to the drawing board and redesign it.”
As the stage will be set up days before the show, seeing the musicians, artists and background all come together on opening night will provide a blanket of gratification for all involved.
“It is really rewarding to see the end result of everything you have just ended up working on throughout the weeks of getting ready for the show,” said Stevens. “Finally being able to see it on set and the actors singing and dancing and using all of the stuff you have made, for me it is just really fulfilling being able to just see how it all comes together.”