We are in the middle of another productive and enjoyable set build weekend! I have to go back and paint in about half an hour, but here are some pictures of what we did yesterday:
This is the fireplace panel. Meara, our color chemist, mixed the slate blue color for the upper wall, which I love and want to put in my own house someday. I have wondered what we are going to do with all these panels after the show is over. Maybe take them home and hang them up in my house. Some of them I like better than the actual interior design I’m living with. The fireplace will go in Act III, because Goring has to burn Cheveley’s letter there; it will also be in the morning room set, because you need a good fire in the morning, because England is so @$! damp.
Here’s one that Adam, our intrepid set designer and one-fourth of the Flying Hammond-MacGregors, calls “Portraits.” The currently empty frames will contain silhouettes of Lady Chiltern and a few other people. The colors for the frames were mixed by the delicate hands of Lady Chiltern herself, or rather, Michele, who also painted them. The wood paneling at the bottom was a group effort, although Kim has sort of become our wood paneling specialist. Kim says she enjoys doing this and does decorative painting for fun sometimes even when she’s not in this show. While painting, I shared with Kim my idea for a new action series starring her character, Lady Markby, as a special agent who shoots poison darts out of her fan while delivering razor-sharp quips about the failings of her society. It would end with her blowing up the House of Commons, about which she complains constantly.
While the panels were being painted in the sun, wind, and fortunately-never-entirely-got-going rain, Laura and Green Carnation extraordinaire Amelia were indoors working on the rug. Yes. There’s a rug in our set. You wouldn’t know, because I never mention it, but there is one, and it is made out of two panels of cheap basic carpet stitched together by myself and Michele, cut into a semicircle, and then painted with beautiful patterns designed by Laura and implemented by Laura and Amelia:
FANCIEST CARPET EVER. Thank you Laura and Amelia. I was going to start rehearsing with it this week, but it is too pretty to use for everyday, and we may as well not start walking all over it any earlier than we have to. I love this rug. It will, if I may paraphrase the Dude for a moment, really pull the set together.
The fleur de-lis panel, called by Adam “Opulence,” was also painted today but I didn’t stay long enough to get a photo of it. However, the big news coming out of Saturday set build is:
VENUS IS FINISHED!
But of course, every picture needs a frame! So after Leslie finished with the medallion, Meara got Leslie a beer and we put the panel on the lawn to finish up the border and the woodwork underneath. I was childishly proud of my own contribution to the magic, which was the mint-green color which surrounds the oval. (Or, as I said yesterday, “Hooray for my color that I made!”) But more credit goes to Kim, the wood-paneling MACHINE, for finishing up the woodwork on the bottom:Our Venus specialist and Green Carnation extraordinaire Leslie Halverson released Venus and friends from the Underworld of the Irregularly Shaped Blobs, and now at last she is floating free upon the sea foam, surrounded by cherubs and drapery. Paul also did a lot of work on Venus earlier in her lifetime. The “Venus” panel has taken us longer to do than any other panel…but you know what, she’s worth it. Thank you Leslie and Paul for the many, many hours your put in figuring out WTF was going on with my crazy tracing and turning that mess into something awesome.
This was the first panel we started, and at the beginning we were working with about 5 different shades of mahogany. Eventually we realized we only really needed three. Kim took over, and with singleminded determination, sorted all that out into this. So the “Venus” panel that will domiante the Act I set is at last complete. It’s too bad we don’t have a staircase to hang it over, but you know what, with a cast and crew like this you don’t need a million dollars to spend on your set, because we have ART!