By Justin M. Jones
At the peak of season, you can find FST’s Production team building sets, props, and costumes. Today, you will see them working as hard as ever to ensure that when we reopen, your theatre experience with FST rises to an all-new level.
We checked in with some of our Production team members to find them installing and testing new sound equipment, renovating performance spaces, and creating new fashion-conscious health equipment for staff and performers.
SETTING THE STAGE
Standard upkeep and maintenance remains a priority, even while the ghost lights are on. Fond and familiar instruments have been repaired and documented, sound equipment has been cleaned, and standard repairs have been made in each space. But this time for bigger projects is precious.
“We are updating the sound in the Gompertz Theatre, setting up show equipment for FST’s Green Room Café and veranda dining, and working on adding live, remote video in Bowne’s Lab,” said Production Manager Lizzi Nehls, about just a few of the upgrades her department is tackling. “The remote video would be used during a show, like in a concert, to follow the actors and project images on screens.”
The Production team’s latest forward-looking projects also include research for potential outdoor, family-friendly productions, a new stage floor for FST’s Gompertz Mainstage Theatre, and a new ghost light for the Goldstein Cabaret. In FST’s Bowne’s Lab Theatre, the lighting grid system has been secured and the floor has been freshly painted.
Not only is the production team improving your visual experience – they are also aiming to enhance your auditory experience.
With various digital tools, such as oscillators and sound pressure level meters, FST’s production team has mapped out a strategy for refocusing and upgrading sound equipment in our spaces.
With these insights and adjustments, members of the production team are excited about the enhanced sound experience audiences will enjoy for future shows.
“We’re doing all we can to make it sound great, and by the time the spaces open up, we’re going to sound fantastic!” said Sound Designer Thom Korp. And Nehls agreed, saying, “Updating the sound system will be especially great for the quality of our musicals.”
While the production team is getting ahead on upgrades and enhancements, Costume Shop Manager Adrienne Webber is designing protective masks for FST staff and artists to wear during upcoming events, as we open our restaurant spaces for dining with live entertainment sets in Improv, Sketch Comedy, and musical performances.
Each event will have its own theme, and the performance groups and staff for each event will wear them to bring a little extra fun and fashion into our “new normal.”
“For example, for the sketch comedy entrance and exit masks, females may wear masks made from fabrics that have lip patterns on them. Males may have a mustache or a goatee or both. These features would be part of the mask,” explained Webber.
While the decision to cancel FST’s Summer Season was a tough one to make, we cling to the silver lining – our patrons, administrative staff, and artists will have their health, and when the curtain rises again, audiences will enjoy plenty of exciting new advancements thanks to the hard work from FST’s Production team.