Construction has begun on the next production of Center Players’ season. Tony LeBue, Tony Dentino, Jonathon Rothman and myself, Jeff Caplan are hard at work building the set. Set construction is an interesting aspect of theater. It all begins with a design, an idea of the setting of the piece. Generally a director or set designer or both read the play and come up with a plan, then the design is drawn out to scale or sometimes it’s just a sketch on a piece of paper. Either way it’s the start of the process. Then in steps the construction team. They take the design and carefully lay it out on the stage using tape to make sure it all fits together perfectly. The next step is building out the walls using studs. Generally we measure out the studs to 48 inches on center to accommodate the luan pieces we use for the walls.
Many theater incorporate pre-built flats which is a lot easier and modular. However, because of the size and nature of our theater we custom build our sets. After building out the studs for the walls, we put up the luan sheeting. In this particular production a platform is called for to represent the bedroom. We framed out the width and length of the platform and built a frame. We then attached the legs to the frame and attached thick plywood to the top of it and ensured that it could hold multiple persons. We always go by the rule measure twice cut once. Detail is paramount to this theater group.
Next we put up the sheets of luan. This creates the illusion of interior walls. Careful attention is paid to adhering to the set design plans.
The next step in the process will be to add the moulding and finishing touches and then to paint. The last step in the process is to dress the set with pictures, statues, furniture and nay decorative pieces that fit the design. All of this must be done to period. Since Brighton Beach memoirs is set in the 1940’s, we need to make sure all of our pieces our consistent with that period. Thsi can be a challenging task. In a space as intimate as this is, everything must be as authentic as possible. Clothing, props and set pieces all must have the look and feel of the era.
There is a lot that goes into the production of a “period” piece such as this, but in the end it’s all worth it. The final product shines as we strive to present the most detailed show that we possibly can. We hope you will join us for this fantastic production of Brighton Beach Memoirs opening April 17th and running through May 17th. Check our website for details. www.centerplayers.org