Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Into the Woods, Set Building, Part II

Shortly after word got out that Venture High School was performing "Into the Woods" for their first ever high school production, I received a call from a good friend of mine--a theatre teacher--who exclaimed, "Into the Woods?  You're doing Into the Woods? Are you serious?"  I have to admit, at the time of the call, I had my own reservations.  The students were given a vote on which play we selected and this was their choice. It was ambitious.  We had practically no budget and the students had little experience in performance or design. Honestly, it was an intimidating endeavor.  I worried it would be a production that parents would applaud, but that it would lack that little extra that makes a play special.

I was wrong.  

The directors pulled it together and the actors did an amazing job.  And the set...probably the most expansive, yet least expensive set I have ever worked on...turned out really well.  We built it out of 2x2s and cardboard . . . donated, used cardboard boxes, stripped down, cut, glued together, and painted.  I am proud of the final product and the work so many students put in to complete it.  Their work helped open doors, providing me with the opportunity to incorporate a Design Team class into my curriculum for next year.  So, it is with new confidence that I am looking forward to the opportunities we will have to design and build next year.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Into the Woods, Set Building, Part 1

Several of my students and I have been busy building set pieces for Venture High School's upcoming production of "Into the Woods."  We have a pretty limited budget, but I don't mind. I enjoy the creative challenges that a small budget brings.  We looked for materials that were readily available and settled on the an old favorite: cardboard.  Here are two photos of the fireplace for Cinderella's home (work in progress).  Showtimes for the musical are May 9th, 7:00 pm, and May 10th, 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Pine Cones in the Desert

In central Utah sits Capitol Reef, a beautiful national park sculpted in sand and stone.  I spent the last four days camping and hiking there with my family and several good friends.  On one hike in particular, at Burro Wash, we came across a number of pine cones and a large area that was literally covered with a blanket of pine needles an inch thick.  At first glance, you wouldn't think much of it, after all, pine trees are common in Utah . . . but not at Burro Wash.  The nearest conifers were probably a good five or six miles away.
So, how did the pine cones and needles get there?  I posed that question to my own children and they gave me a number of interesting responses.  I'm curious to see what you think.  Please, leave a comment with your thoughts.  And, yes, I know the answer, and but I want to see what you think.  Put on your thinking caps and go.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Venture High School Learning Intensive: Discovering Moab

Today we concluded our two-week spring Intensives at Venture High School.  This semester I teamed with our Adventure teacher to take a group of students to Moab, Utah.  Last week we spent five days at the Goldbar campground with over 30 students.  Half of the students worked on fitness credits while the other half were painting landscapes.  The art students and I hiked to locations such as Delicate Arch and Corona Arch, where we drew and painted.  We also spent a great deal of time Plein Air painting in the Goldbar area. We were privileged to have John Poon with us the entire week to provide input and to demonstrate Plein Air painting.  During our free time, we mountain biked and swam.  When we returned, my students had a strong assortment of drawings, paintings, photographs, and memories.  This week they had the opportunity to put all that reference together as they completed a set of final landscape paintings which they exhibited in their own art show this afternoon.  It was exciting to see it all come together.  Each student exhibited three paintings along with an artist statement.  It was well attended by students and families, and I would like to thank all those who supported these students.  A huge thank you to John Poon!  And congratulations to all my students for a job very well done!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Look What I Found!

At the expense of my smart phone, I discovered some old photos that I had never posted.  While coaching soccer a couple days ago, I carefully placed my phone in my coat pocket and laid my coat on a bench where it seemed safe.  I was wrong. A strong bump on the court sent a player flying into the bench, knocking it over onto my coat . . . and then the player landed on top of the bench, just for good measure.  I later discovered my Samsung Galaxy was destroyed in the incident.  When I returned home, I dug out an old my old phone and swapped SIM cards.  Today, while going through the old phone, I discovered a bunch of old photos I had forgotten about.  Among them were these photos of my students at DaVinci working on the set for Sweeney Todd in April 2012.  I had never posted them, so, as they say, better late than never. It was a fun set to work on. We had a small budget, but the students were creative and generated some great ideas. The Director, Adam Slee, asked us to design the set around the following lyrics from "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd":
Inconspicuous Sweeney was,
quick, and quiet and clean he was.
Back of his smile, under his word,
Sweeney heard music that nobody heard.
Sweeney pondered and Sweeney planned,
like a perfect machine he planned,
Based on the idea of the "perfect machine" the set evolved into an industrial looking concoction of gears and wheels and trap doors.  The Robotics Club even joined in and helped construct a revolving floor.  I am still amazed at what we were able to accomplish with a little money and a lot of ingenuity.