The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood has two main locations: Sherwood Forest and the Castle of Nottingham.
I chose Sherwood as our first major project since a majority of the show takes place there. This will give the cast more time to rehearse with it.
My original design involved constructing one giant 24 foot long set piece. This set piece utilized our preexisting 4×8 platforms to create a multitiered set.
However after talking with a Jeff Marsh, a co-worker with years of theater and directorial experience, he suggested something different.
Instead of one large piece, the design was split into thirds. This alteration allows for easier movement and storage. It can also be reassembled in different combinations to represent different forest locations. Brilliant!
Last year I built (and painstaking stored) numerous 4×8 and 8×8 flats. That investment of time in building and storing them should pay HUGE dividends not just this year but hopefully for years to come.
I did have to buy some materials to build the raised triangle platforms and the lauan to sheave the castle.
These right triangle platforms turned out to be another one of those moments that vindicated everything your math teacher attempted to teach you. It also poked yet another hole in the argument of every disgruntled math student, “When am I ever going to use this?”
Listen up! This is your future self talking. You’re actually going to use the Pythagorean theorem.
Using the Pythagorean theorem I calculated exactly how long to cut those 2x4s. Just in case you were wondering, it’s 8.95 feet or 107-3/16 inches.
With the everything cut to size, my band of Merry Men (and Women) could start building. We spent Wednesday framing out platforms for the Iron Throne to sit on, prepping the Sherwood Forest platforms, and raising 1/4th of the castle.
Wednesday’s turnout surprised me. I found 12 students waiting for me at the doors to the stage when I arrived. That’s three more than the previous week, where all we did was the miserable job of moving heavy things from one end of the school to another. So many students turned out in fact that I didn’t have enough power tools to equip them all.
Friday’s build session looked like the training scene from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves when they build their base camp deep in Sherwood Forest. We assembled six triangle platforms, added legs to two 4×8 platforms and the six triangle platforms, raised the walls for another quarter of the castle, and put two 4×8 platforms on top of the castle for what will become the second floor.
It’s amazing how much you can get done with a small army of help. I had 14 students help on Friday. Two had to leave before the picture at the end and at least two more had other commitments that night and couldn’t attend.
Having 14 people show up also means that I have to be super organized. I need materials prepped, detailed drawing, and multiple jobs that can run simultaneously.
I spent every free moment I have prepping for these build sessions. It’s a lot of work but the payoff is huge when I see how much we can get done in under two hours.
Next week we’ll be assembling the platform to hold the Iron Throne and adding lauan and plywood ramps to finish Sherwood Forest.
In addition as part of Operation #SoldOutShow, we have a costumed photo shoot with the cast for the show’s poster on Tuesday. We even got professional photographer Chad Harnish to donate his time for the session. It’s going to be epic!