David Larrick's technical theater portfolio

March 1993:  The Pirates of Penzance

Producing organization

Sudbury Savoyards

Director

Sally Osborn

David's role

Technical Director and Set Designer


The coastal cliffs of Cornwall for Act I included a 16'-tall pinnacle, a cave for the Pirate King's headquarters, and many paths for adventurous choristers to climb and explore.  For Act II, the tall piece tipped down to form the side wall of the ruined chapel.



March 1997:  The Yeomen of the Guard

Producing organization

Sudbury Savoyards

Director

Bruce Miller

David's role

Technical Director and Set Designer


I was struck by how cinematically Gilbert's libretto is organized, in the sense that the action takes place in multiple locales without formal divisions into scenes.  In order to tie these locales and their transitions together, I designed a single large set-piece that could be arranged in various ways to form part of each required setting.  This set-piece was a massive platform on tall legs, 12' x 8' x 30" H.

The piece was shifted by cast members, in character.  Most of the configurations listed above (and drawn below) were used multiple times during the opera.

Tower Green configuration:

The platform is USR, stood up on end with its legs hidden upstage, forming the keep of the Tower.

Meryll's Quarters configuration:

DSL, on its side, legs upstage, forming a wall of Meryll's home.

Jester's Stage configuration:

SC, upright on legs with its long side downstage, with festive pennants on poles plugged into sockets in the platform top, and short flights of steps attached to either end.

Bench configuration:

USR, upright on legs with its short end downstage.

Wharf configuration:

far DSR, upright on its legs, and a nautical facing fitted around it.

Chopping block configuration:

similar to the Jester's stage, but with railings and a beheading block instead of festive pennants.



Middlesex Community College Theater Department

The MCC theater is quite a small one.  Located in an historic warehouse building in downtown Lowell, MA, it features about 100 seats around three sides of the acting area.  Exposed lighting equipment hangs from the eleven-foot ceiling, making it easy to work on lights and difficult to light shows effectively.  Set design challenges include almost-in-the-round sightlines, close proximity of all audience members, limited entrances, and four structural columns around the perimeter.

The Theater Department staff is similarly small:  one full-time person serves as Chair, teaches classes, and directs the shows.  Part-timers and faculty borrowed from other departments teach other classes.  For most of my shows at MCC the entire adult staff was the director and me, assisted by student crews.

November 2005:  Little Left of Center Fest '05

Producing organization

Middlesex Community College Theater Department

Directors

David Zoffoli and Karen Oster

David's role

Technical Supervisor and Production Manager, also serving as Set Designer, Lighting Desiger, Master Carpenter, Master Electrician, and Sound Technician


An annual tradition at MCC, LLoCF consists of several very short plays.  Emphasis is on quick changeover from each play to the next, requiring crisp stagecraft and multiple-use set pieces.  The 2005 edition featured eight plays directed by two faculty members.

March 2006:  Threepenny Opera


Producing organization

Middlesex Community College Theater Department

Director

David Zoffoli

David's role

Technical Supervisor and Production Manager, also serving as Set Designer, Lighting Desiger, Master Carpenter, Master Electrician, and Sound Technician
Also 2nd keyboard in pit band


The Threepenny Opera set included large mirrored surfaces upstage, to envelop the stage action in audience faces all round.  My favorite set piece was a jail wall made of flexible drainage hoses above and below, joined by long pieces of threaded rod.  MacHeath was "arrested" by cast members carrying this wall on stage and surrounding him with it, and securing the ends to each other with carabiners.









November 2006:  Our Town

Producing organization

Middlesex Community College Theater Department

Director

Karen Oster

David's role

Technical Supervisor and Production Manager, also serving as Set Designer, Lighting Desiger, Master Carpenter, Master Electrician, and Sound Technician


Following the devastating Mother's Day flood of 2006, which destroyed everything in our basement storage areas, we chose to keep things simple for Our Town.  Two black-painted stepladders and tightly focused spotlights served as upstairs windows for the two young lovers thinking of each other by moonlight; a simple window gobo and a few chairs created the church interior for their wedding.




November 2007:  The Crucible


Producing organization

Middlesex Community College Theater Department

Director

Karen Oster

David's role

Technical Supervisor and Production Manager, also serving as Set Designer, Lighting Desiger, Master Carpenter, Master Electrician, and Sound Technician


Our Crucible production was designed to tour:  we performed in a nearby high school auditorium as well as in our own much more intimate space.  The set design consisted of low platforms, realistic furniture pieces, and rolling walls, all constructed from weathered boards salvaged from a demolished fence.








November 2008:  A Midsummer Night's Dream

Producing organization

Middlesex Community College Theater Department

Director

Karen Oster

David's role

Technical Supervisor and Production Manager, also serving as Set Designer, Lighting Desiger, Master Carpenter, Master Electrician, and Sound Technician


We set out to design a unit set which would serve effectively as both Athens and the wildwood.  Further, rather than distinguish between the two scenes by adding specific set-pieces, we wanted every detail of the unit set to be suitable for either setting, thus allowing the director to play off the ambiguity.  So we decorated the USC pole to pass as either a column or a tree, and provided raked platform levels, which could be either the uneven forest floor, or an Athenian courtyard or interior.  The unifying scenic element was cheesecloth, which we attached to all the walls and  platforms, lending a dreamlike quality.  We used lighting, and the demeanor of the actors, to distinguish between the two settings, or to make that distinction ambiguous.









February 2009:  Little Left of Center Fest '09

Producing organization

Middlesex Community College Theater Department

Directors

John Bachelder, Robyn Ginsberg, Chris Kosiavelon, Karen Oster, Michael O’Malley, Ashley Sullivan

David's role

Technical Supervisor and Production Manager, also serving as Set Designer, Lighting Desiger, Master Carpenter, Master Electrician, and Sound Technician


By 2009 LLoCF had evolved into an opportunity for multiple student directors.  This year had six plays, directed by five students and one faculty member.

November 2009:  Ring Round the Moon

Producing organization

Middlesex Community College Theater Department

Director

Karen Oster

David's role

Technical Supervisor and Production Manager, also serving as Set Designer, Lighting Desiger, Master Carpenter, Master Electrician, and Sound Technician


We transformed the MCC Theater into Anouilh's “winter garden” complete with a painted “stone” floor, a practical fountain, trellises, and foliage galore. We solved the perennial problem of the poles by transforming two of them into palm trees, and the other two into elegant columns. But my favorite scenic detail was the “crystal” chandelier, made from dollar-store faceted plastic cups pronged onto dowels.













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