$750 buys the decorative elements for one wall of a living room set. Home improvement manufacturers provide us with many of the specialty moldings, banisters, turned railing posts, niches, wood veneer, door knobs and plaster medallions that you’ve seen on sets such as The Hopper Collection or Sisters Rosenswieg. These items often come in wood, plastic, or plaster in order meet the unique demands of flexibility, durability and weight that theatre productions require, and it’s cheaper to buy them than it is to manufacture ourselves. The railings, stair parts, and door hardware on a set such as our 2006 production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (photo: T. Charles Erickson) might run as high as $8000.
$300 will allow us to add rubber soles and heels to the shoes of 7 actors. Most shoes come from the store with slick leather outsoles, which would be dangerous for actors onstage and off. They therefore almost all get "rubbered" by a shoemaker, except for sneakers and other shoes with adequate traction. Union requirements specify that anyone who dances in our shows must have brand new shoes for each production. The shoe bill for our 2004 production of Bad Dates was exceptional. (Photo: T. Charles Erickson)
$1300 buys an unpainted full stage muslin backdrop. A blank full size painter's scrim costs about $1900. Our scenic artists create all of the Huntington backdrops here on site, such as the reproduction Fragonaurd painting in Liaisons or the sky drop in The Hopper Collection. Right now and for the next 4 weeks Roberto and Lori and their crews are painting the drops, trees, and interior set for our January 2007 production of The Cherry Orchard as seen below (photo: Ralph Funicello). They are working in both our Huntington Avenue paint shop, and in one of WGBH's old studios. This show takes up a lot of floorspace, and we need every inch. I'm hoping to have lots of progress photos for you over the next month or so. Scenery, Props, and Costumes all have cameras and will be clicking away during their builds. Paints will have a camera at each of the shops they are working in.
And one slightly off topic note. Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire was in town on Sunday to see our production of his Rabbit Hole and speak at the Humanities Forum following the show. Literary Manager Ilana Brownstein passed on the following comments from him to the staff in an email earlier this week:
"David is thrilled with this production in its entirety - cast, design, direction, and support - and wanted me to specifically thank all of you for the wonderful experience. He particularly enjoyed being able to see his play with a cast who found different highs and lows than his NY cast did; he felt it revealed brand new things to him about the play and its inner life. He's felt very well taken care of, even though he was only involved minimally and from afar, and offers his gratitude to the entire Huntington family for the success of this show. "
It's nice to get a rave review from the playwright! Thanks to you, too, David. We've about 14 performances of Rabbit Hole left. Don't miss it. Kitchen Cupboards, from Ikea, $3600.