Working stage magic

06 Jun 2017

With just three weeks to opening night, cast and crew alike are all systems go conjuring the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to brighten a dull mid-winter.

Staging Singin’ in the Rain, the ultimate feel-good musical, has created some interesting technical challenges, says Director of Drama David Chambers. “You can’t do Singin’ without the Rain, and a lot of planning has gone into constructing a safe and efficient system to achieve the effect.”

The whole process has relied on the technical wizardry and design flair of Technical Director and Set Designer Grant Bennett. It is a puzzle he has enjoyed working on.

The floor has been waterproofed and sloped so the “rain” can run to a central point, and then be siphoned out to the river. Members of the audience who have chosen to sit in the Splash Zone will be relieved to know the water will be warmed through a gas califont before being pumped to the sprinkler delivery system, and the flow will be carefully controlled.

Because water flows down, the orchestra pit is out of bounds and the orchestra has had to move up. A special platform, built above the main stage, will accommodate the musicians.

The production will also make full use of the new state-of-the-art lighting and sound system being installed. Four specially commissioned large sliding doors filled with colourful LED lights will help set the scene and – as it is a musical about the movies – several films, directed by Media Studies teacher Peter Hewson, will also feature.

With as much going on behind the scenes as on stage, it will be all hands on set come show time, with Grant and his team of willing helpers, including student leaders Brent Criglington, Henry Seaton, Nick Stevens, Harry O’Neill and Toby Brooker-Haines, making sure everything runs according to plan.

Singin’ in the Rain will be one of the most complicated shows ever staged at College, says David. “It’s been a tremendous team effort and so rewarding to be involved – it’s delightful, lighthearted fun and a guaranteed great night out.”