What \\Washed Ashore// Astray
Technical Direction students assigned as jobs leads for a production are responsible for scenic fabrication, installation, maintenance, and strike. While they have input on budgeting and technical design, other TD students are assigned to these roles. Additionally, job leads take on project management responsibilities related to scheduling and management of spaces they work in.
Creative & Technical Team
Asst. Production Manager
Asst. Stage Manager
The set was composed of ten units:
(5) dock piles
(3) swatches of netting
The chairs were primarily handles by the props department, but I assisted in cutting the legs and applying primer. It was important that the chairs could support an actor standing on top of them and not wobble.
The dock piles were the main scenic units. There were to look like weathered square dock piles, and housed a wireless lighting fixture inside. The technical design was performed by Chase Trumbull. Each dock pile was a different height, but followed the same structural principles: A weighted base with a CNC-cut plywood 'skeleton' around a hollow core for the lighting fixture. They were then covered in a foam fascia that was carved and treated by the scenic department.
The netting was an interesting challenge. I was given approximate dimensions for each swathe and 48" Erosion Cloth from Rose Brand, which is very loosely woven and dimensionally unstable. Rather than trying to properly sew the bolts together, I found that small ties every 4-6" was a more effective and time-efficient method of assembly. I sewed bolts together to the envelope dimensions of each swathe, and then cut in the rough dimensions.
'Dock Pile' fabrication
The installation phase of the project was approximately one week long. My top priority was hanging the netting, since that interfered with the lighting and sound departments. I was able to hang the three units over approximately 3 calls.
The dock piles were freestanding, so they were placed at the end of the install period, since other departments needed the floor clear to move equipment and apply the scenic treatment on the floor.
During the lag time between finishing the hanging units and the end of the installation (when I could place the dock piles), I assisted in the assembly of audience risers and the tech table.
What \\Washed Ashore //Astray was set to have its first production at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama at the end of March 2019. As part of the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, CMU announced on March 11 that university classes were all moved online. This was 1 week before tech was set to begin, 2 weeks before opening. We did not return to campus until the beginning of the next academic year. As such, I did not have the opportunity to maintain the show during its run, or strike the set afterwards.
Despite that, I feel what I did have the opportunity to accomplish was successful. Both the fabrication and installation phases went smoothly, with few issues popping up that were all resolved easily.