This past weekend was a very busy weekend for us here at VSC.
- Friday we opened A Christmas Carol
- Saturday, December 8 we hosted 150 scouts and parents for crafts and games for Girl Scout Day, plus two performances of A Christmas Carol
- Sunday, December 9 we hosted 150 more scouts and parents for Girl Scout Day 2, plus our 2 pm performance of A Christmas Carol.
In addition, we held two actor talk backs for the Girl Scouts. There were many questions about the cast and characters and yes, onstage the actors are the what the audience sees first.
But what about the folks behind the scenes? Who dreams up and constructs the costumes, the props, the lighting and the sounds? A Christmas Carol presents us a great opportunity to meet some of the design and production team on this very intricately designed show.
I asked our props master, costume shop manager, sound engineer and master electrician to give us a few thoughts about their jobs and how they have prepared for A Christmas Carol. Meet these hard-working people:
Howdy, all! Sam Flint here, from the Prop Shop at the ol’ VSC. A Christmas Carol is once again upon us, and we’re busy preparing some changes from last year’s show. Amongst the changes are an overhaul for our old friend The Ghost of Christmas Future, as he’s worn the same tattered ropes these past, what, four years? Hopefully, he’ll be a little more realistic and frightening (well, not TOO frightening). I mean, he is actually quite a jolly chap, given to bouts of silliness and dancing. And when you look into the deep, empty void of his velvety hood, just know that he’s probably smiling at you. I hope you enjoy the show!
- Samuel Flint, Props Manager
Gregor Paslawsky plays Ebenezer Scrooge
His tombstone is a prop as is the moving ivy that dresses it.
There are many other props throughout the show. The table settings and the food at the Cratchits dinner, Scrooge’s bed, all the tables, chairs, desks and more. Without these props the reality of the show would be sadly lacking!
(LtR) Andy Hernandez, Grace Beach, Casey Croson, Camille Robinson, Mary Elizabeth Curnan, Tom Prescott
The costume designer for our production is Jeni Schaeffer. She’s designed costumes for many of our shows as well as for our last play, The Comfort Team. Jeni works directly with Pam Prior, our costume shop manager, in bringing the designs into reality.
A Christmas Carol is a very exciting show for the costume shop… Many new costume pieces have been added this year including beautiful gem-toned skirts for Fred’s party, a new dress for Fan & a delightful male Mrs. Fezziwig costume (played by Ryan Clemens)…. Beautiful wigs by Jim McGough (wig master at the Virginia Opera) for Scrooge, Past, Present & some of the actresses. The new costumes make this show a visual delight from head to toe. In the costume shop, we have been busy with many fittings, constructing new costumes & altering costumes from years past. Many of our brave actors play 3 to 5 different characters over the course of the show keeping our wardrobe supervisor, Hannah Goldman, equally as busy with pre-sets and tracking items back stage throughout the production! Goldman also assists Jacob Marley (Michael Schaeffer) dress in 30 pounds of real chain. A Christmas Carol will transport audiences members back to the streets of Victorian London when men wore top hats and frock coats and women still donned a petticoat. Merry Christmas!
- Pam Prior, Costume Shop Manager
Sound plays a huge part in developing the atmosphere of a show. For example, every time the Ghost of Christmas Past moved his hands a loud shudder sounded across the stage. It gave the move impact, a scary effect and meaning. Without that sound, the movement would have just been a gesture. Each of the ghosts have specific sounds that accompany their movements. If you haven’t yet seen the show, look for the sound differences within each ghostly visit. The sound designer for our production is Danny Erdberg. He has done a handful of shows for us and they have all been spectacular. He works directly with Ryan Hickey, our sound engineer, to make the sounds fill the theatre.
The best part about A Christmas Carol is the set up. A Christmas Carol is usually our biggest show of the year in terms of outputs and speakers. This year we have 20 different speakers placed throughout the theater and stage. It’s great to be able to have sound come from above or below the stage and to be able to pan across the surround speakers.
-Ryan Hickey, Sound Engineer
Michael Schaeffer as Jacob Marley
If you look at the picture you can see that the fog and the lights give this photo a more sinister look than if they weren’t there at all.
Our lighting designer for this production is Bradley King. He has a history with us as well and we always enjoy watching him work his magic! Carolyn Thatcher is our master electrician and takes Bradley’s designs and turns them into beauty shows of light and color that highlight the sets and the characters.
My job as Master Electrician is to take what the lighting designer plans and make it happen. The LD will send me a drawing that notates exactly what kind of lighting unit he wants where. The LD also sends paperwork that lays out color, lamp wattage, and information about putting said units into our lighting console. I make sure that the LD has stayed within equipment inventory, under budget, and what they request is physically possible.
What makes A Christmas Carol different than other shows is our use of special effects which falls into my department. Some of the effects include various fog and haze effects. These fall into my dept. because the machines that make the fog and haze ties into our lighting console so that we can have control over amount and timing. With the added effects, I am then in charge of making sure these machines have the fluids and materials they need to operate smoothly.
- Carolyn Thatcher, Master Electrician
We hope that you’ll come see the show this year. While the set is has returned from last year with some fine-tuning, the cast is almost entirely new. We have more music, the narration from previous years has returned and the special effects are amazing. This is definitely a beautiful show both in the performance and in the design.
To learn more about our production designers CLICK HERE. This section of our website has the bios for our design team as well as our cast.
For tickets, call our Box Office at (757)627-1234 or visit http://www.vastage.com and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and news.
Thanks & have a wonderful holiday season!
Morgan Vaughan, Marketing Assistant
Written with the help of Samuel Flint, Pam Prior, Ryan Hickey and Carolyn Thatcher