Spring Play #2 2016 "RED"

Let's Make Art...

WG Drama's Second Spring Play of the 2015/2016 Theater Season

John Logan’s Tony Award-Winning biopic play RED is a story about the famous Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko. It was a great show to end our theater season. It was produced the end of April and into May. We presented for three nights in the Jerry R. Knight Auditorium stage in black box.
Was presented by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service., New York.

of our production by clicking on the link

This was an interesting project for the department. It took place two months after our first spring mainstage “You Can’t Take it With You”. Though a very small cast and crew, the show allowed for everyone involved to expand their talents and experience the many challenges involved in the wonderful process of theatrical production.  
The two actors (Logan and Elliot) who took on the challenge were both ready for this kind of rigor

It began at the end of the previous school year, where Mr. Schaefer had recommended the script as a must-read. It quickly became apparent that it would make a great project for the next year.

Most of the prep work was done in the first semester during an independent study hour with then Junior Hannah Leatherbarrow.

The Cast

The excitement surrounding the project was apparent in the passion we saw in the auditions, however some had clearly put in considerable thought and preparation, and these rose above the rest. It was not an easy choice to make, but we ended up with two dedicated actors who brought great instincts to the table, ready to take on the challenge of a very intense two-man play with a first-time director at the helm.

Elliot Williams

Logan Corzine

The Production Crew
Hannah Leatherbarrow-Director
Alex White-Stage Manager/Marketing/PR
Maggie Pool-Props Manager
Jonah Schnell-Light Design
Jacob Noce-Asst. Light Design/Op.
Rob Hood-Sound Design/Op.
Tea Gardner-Costumes Manager
Mr. Schaefer-Set Decorator
5th Hr. Adv. Tech-Set Crew
Nick Wylie-Master Carpenter
Bridget Kahrhoff-House Manager
Loren Kahrhoff-Concessions

The Rehearsals
The department had a very busy second semester and because we were producing multiple shows at once the rehearsals for this show had to be quite flexible. The first mainstage show luckily didn't involve many of the same people working on RED, and Mr. Schaefer really didn't get too involved as a coach until two weeks before opening night.
We even had an outdoor rehearsal on a day where we simply had nowhere else to go.
Luckily, it was beautiful!

Our rehearsal process involved a lot of discussion about these characters, as well as trying to understand the world they lived in (New York, in 1958).

We also had to research the art movements as well as the countless allusions and big words Rothko uses.

It was difficult to keep the staging exciting,
with only two actors on stage for the entire show.

A picture of the set when we first got hand railings secured
and readied the whole structure for the actors.

Luckily, the set had a lot of various levels and smaller acting areas designed into the floor plan. The space we decided to use already has some wonderful nooks and doorways that made it was easy to make the "secluded art studio in New York" that the story required.

Those levels worked out great and really allowed for lots of interesting movement to take place. In a play that has so much talking it helps to keep the actors moving and give them something to do while they talk.

The department had just started to move out a lot of the music department's stuff from when they were occupying the space 3 years prior and while the first Spring mainstage was in the Aud rehearsing this show was rehearsing in the old band room right behind the Aud stage (soon to be WG Drama's NEW Black Box Theater)

Elliot and Logan getting off book and working through a scene from later in the play...
Ken is finally yelling at Rothko.

When the actors start running rehearsals on the set it really starts to get interesting!

Logan, Maggie, Elliot and Tea...first day on the set!

The intensity of this text challenged us at every turn.
There were countless metaphors, symbols and complex ideas we had to wrap our heads around. We really had to take our time to make sure we executed the moments just as the playwright had intended. Whether it was a heated argument between the two characters, or a thoughtful, reflective monologue, it had to be staged and analyzed and eventually fine-tuned.

Watching with critical eyes as the scene plays out...

As the actors got to play on the set, Mr. Schaefer joined rehearsals and the deadline hung in the immediate distance. This was when our actors were pushed to their limits. They’d had immense amounts of dialogue to memorize, they had schoolwork keeping them taxed, and they had Hannah and Mr. Schaefer talking to them while they tried to run their scenes.

Once they really got off their scripts and started playing with all of the different character choices, the play became something really special, emotional and quite thrilling to watch. These two actors rose to the occasion, brought a bounty of energy and worked their buns off each and every night to give the best performances possible....and boy did they nail it!



Sound Design

The design for this show is rather complex at times and requires the operator to really be on point with the cues. Robert Hood did an amazing job with the sound for this show and hit every cue like a real pro!
Rob Hood did a great job playing all of the record player cues of classical music,
the illusion really worked (even with a totally fake record player on stage)
and each selection fit the moment perfectly.

Bridget, Loren, Aidan and Tea prep for an audience before a performance

We had a great turn out for the show and the house management team was spectacular! We sold some snacks and drinks that people brought in with them because we did not have an intermission.


Alex White ('17) nailed it with all of the marketing materials he generated for the production. We had posters, t-shirts, banners, display cases, announcements and a great video teaser specifically made for our show!

Watch the teaser that fellow thespian film maker Simone Moore made for our show.
Click on the link to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeGqDovxUWs

Here are some of the showcards created for the show.

We had the school covered in these amazing posters assembled by Alex White.

We also ran a special ticket price for all any student taking an art class on campus.

The cast and crew loved getting baseball shirts with a color logo. When you have a smaller group of people involve in the show it's a bit easier to be fancy.

This was a show that had a significant number of props, but none of them were too difficult to come by or build (arts and crafts style). We really tried to incorporate everything the playwright asked for, but we had to accept a certain amount of distance from things being the exact period.

Like a good set dresser Mr. Schaefer mixed actual vintage items with some handmade items to help the illusion. We also had dimmer lighting in the show and everything had paint all over it - so that helped.
Jacob Noce (lights) and Maggie Pool (props) taking a break on the set.

Maggie Pool kept her team going and everything prop organized and accounted for each night. The set was dressed with a lot of props that were preset before the show and many were used during the show (like food and beverage). The actors also brought stuff in from offstage duriing some scenes. Lots to track and map. There were also several very fast scene changes with props being moved and arranged while actors quickly changed costumes.

Hannah and Maggie

This show had many props to be managed and the props team was on top of them all and the actors never had to worry. It was only when they were really thirsty and they would drink all of the liquid on stage and then try to eat peanuts... MORE WATER PLEASE!!!!

This was the initial rendering of our set (a collaboration of ideas from Nick Wylie, Mr. Schaefer, and the Director), which used mostly stock platforms, step units and railing. Then we added some of our stock furniture, props, ladders, band shells and some old drop cloth fabric to create an abandoned, dark, and neglected warehouse feeling. The actual radiators that hang on the auditorium wall helped sell it!

The video screen with projected images of the paintings was a late addition and looked great!

Mr. Schaefer did an excellent job decorating this set. By the end it truly looked like someone had been painting there for 15 years, and that made the play so much more believable.

The burner and paint mixing station

The finished set

Rothko gives Ken a lesson in life and art... 


Tea Gardner did a great job getting all of the costumes pulled and organized for the show. The actors looked great in each scene. The palette worked when with mostly browns, blues, black and white.

This was no small task. The show required several fast changes and we tried to achieve the period of the play as well. The actors brought some stuff in from home to help, we shopped a little, and we used some of our stock clothes/accessories

Make-up was also used to make Logan look older and to add facial hair shadows on the actors to make them also appear older.

"What do you see?" - Rothko


Jonah Schnell ('16) and his lighting crew put in the hours and brought a wonderful atmosphere to the warehouse with his lighting design for RED. The way the areas were individually given their due attention made for very intense depths to the space.

It was full of shadow and mystery

Jonah watching rehearsal and thinking about his list of things to get done.

The actors were always lit in the scene, no matter where they stood on stage, and the picture had some much dimension it almost looked like a painting from the earlier periods of art that Rothko referred to throughout the play.

A picture of the beginning of focus and getting the set dressed.
Jonah and Jacob did an excellent job giving us lighting
that help make the show more theatrical.

The Cast and Crew of WG Drama's production of RED

We ran three nights with great houses, and excellent performances. We paid our bills, but more importantly the audiences left thinking about life and art. They left with conversations being started. It was an interesting lesson for our drama department students to hear as well. Stories about how we are the creators of story and sometimes it can be based on truth or not. This bio-play is such a wonderful example of rigor for actors as well and for the students to witness two actors go the distance on stage like these two did makes others do the same.

It is always good to open up a conversation about why we make art
and the effect it can have on us.  
Opening night, Mr Schaefer gifted the production a four-leafed clover he’d found.
It brought us some luck!

Mr. Andy Throm (art teacher on campus) hand painted a Rothko for us to use and hung the piece in the lobby help get the audience ready for the show's unique topic

We are immensely grateful to everyone who contributed their time and effort to this production!
It was a great experience.  

Aidan and Kate say GO SEE A PLAY!!!

                              VISIT WWW.WGDRAMA.COM for more info on what we do

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