It’s been almost a week since High School Musical ended, and I was tired. So tired in fact that I was a sleep on the couch at 7 on a Friday night.
While we had gotten the entire set dismantled last Monday, the job was far from done. I had 25 walls and floor platforms, four flights of stairs, three triangle towers, and two dozen sheets of plywood and lauan that needed to be put into storage.
But where? The ramp and prop room were FULL. And a mess. Two high school and one middle school production plus a homecoming dance and numerous events and unknown clubs had accessed the room over the course of the year. It adds up and takes a toll.
I was reminded of going out in college when my “friends” would disappear minutes before the bill arrived. Everyone had had a good time but no one was interested in paying for it.
The easy thing to do is throw it all away. We’ve done it in the past. You rent a dumpster and throw it all in there.
That option practically guarantees a two hours or less set strike. It’s a tempting choice too. It’s always been easier to destroy than create. I was determined to save the modular pieces I built this year. Doing so would save me scores of hours with next year’s productions.
But before anything could be put away, space needed to be made. Over the years, a pile of scrap lumber had morphed into an unruly monster of unusableness that was consuming a massive amount of floor space. It needed to be removed.
With help from a generous custodial staff, we were able to remove the pile over the course of several days. With the newly cleared space, I now had a spot to park the stairs and the 4 x 8 platforms. As an added bonus both were being stored on rolling platforms so next year I can simply wheel them out of the ramp room onto the stage.
Previously each one had to be flipped on its side, slide through the door of the prop room, and then placed on wheeled platform.
While the ramp room is mildly more organized–it’s still home to PE and athletic department equipment both currently in use and forgotten by time. The prop room on the other hand is still a disaster. But that’s a job for another week…or maybe a different month.
Once again I was fortunate to have a group of very willing and eager to help students. In fact a few repeatedly approached me asking if there was more to do. Every time I said, “Yes.” I figured it would be their last. The work is miserable and heavy. I couldn’t be more wrong. They always came back for more. These are quality individuals. A dying breed in an age of cell phone distractedness while in a pursuit of Clash Royale trophies and maintaining Snpachat streaks.
All told, I’ve been working on High School Musical before school, after school, and the occasional weekend since winter break ended on January 3. I spent less time building the set for High School Musical than Arsenic & Old Lace but the clean up component put me over the top with 90+ hours.
When I wasn’t physically building the set, I was thinking about building the set. I thought about it driving to school and again on the way home. I thought about it while walking the dog almost every day at Silver Mine Park. In fact, I think I built that set in my head several times before I did it for real on the stage.
Of course, it was team effort. I worked with an amazing group that took my simple 2×4 structures sheathed with lauan and transformed them through the magic of paint and light into a high school and Victorian home. Not to mention the numerous students who aided either Scott Cantrell, Meg Lau, Patrick Nightingale, or myself.
It’s been a great 2016-2017 theater season. I’m looking forward to next year’s projects.
I’m not so sure about my wife though.