August, 2017 Issue

From the Chair...




The College of St. Benedict & St. John's University- TD
Carleton College- Designer & Instructor


NBS Fall Conference
Meeting Minutes from March 2017 Member Meeting
Annual Conference and Stage Expo
Newsletter Archive Links
 Time to Renew Your Membership?


Productions Around the Region
Student Scholarships to attend National Conference
2018 Annual Conference & Stage Expo



• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

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From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd     Our summer season ended and it was time for the annual process of cleaning, putting stuff away, sorting out what needs to be kept and what will be thrown out, and general tidying of our spaces.  It always makes me sad to see that construction dumpster filled with stuff.  But we can only re-use and recycle so much material.  We have, like I am guessing all of you do, a finite amount of storage space.  When we are sorting things we will keep a 4 x 10 flat, but  a 3’9 ½ x 11’2 is heading for the dumpster. 
    I am rather happy that I will be recycling a set from the summer season for our fall performances of Rent.  For our summer production of The Full Monty I created a sort of factory looking, industrial grunge design, with lots of texture and structural elements.  I would drop hints to the director at times “I bet this set would work well for Rent” or “If we used this for Rent you could have it early in rehearsal.”  Eventually he agreed with me!  As long as I made sure there was scaffolding- he wants scaffolding.
FullMontyFull Monty, Prairie Repertory Theatre, 2017

    Now I am not going to simply plop down the exact same set, throw some scaffolding in front of it and call it Rent.  The flats and platforms will get rearranged.  I don’t think Seasons of Love would look right with a giant FULL MONTY sign with 196 light bulbs flown in and flashing away upstage.  Everything will get repainted. I needed to figure out how I would actually reuse the set.
    One of the problems with Rent is that it is a very familiar musical.  I have seen it on stage a couple of times, and am familiar with the video of the original Broadway production that I have frequently shown in an Intro to Theatre class.  The look of the design is kind of stuck in my head.  And a lot of people expect it to look like the original production when they come and see it.  So setting Rent in the old west, Victorian England, or ancient Rome is probably not going to work- for many reasons, not just scenically. 
    So I sit down to work… start drawing…  platform here, move these flats over there, some scaffolding over yonder, and….  Hmm, it looks a lot like the Broadway version.  Scratch that one.  Another version – move those, add these, some scaffolding…  Getting better.  A few more variants and it fell together.  Large portions of Full Monty reused saving time, resources and money.  Additional scenic elements, scaffolding and a new coat of paint to make it specific to Rent.  Win and win!
Rent ConceptRent design concept sketch

    However, Before Rent goes on stage at SDSU, we will all be getting together for our NBS fall conference.  I am so excited to be going to Mankato this year and I want to give a big thanks to everyone there for making this happen for us.  We will be seeing a performance Friday night, followed by an incredible day of workshops and sessions on Saturday.  I would like to encourage all of you to bring a friend to our conference this year – another design/tech faculty member who normally does not attend, a first or second year student who has not come to the conference before, or a freelance professional who may not know what NBS is.  Let’s grow our membership and fill the rooms at Mankato this fall!    [ ]