Construction at Theatre Simpson: this time in prepartion for Eurydice

The opening meeting...the day is about to begin

“Heads up. . . book coming in!”  “Bring it over this way!”  “Welding!!” 

It is another Saturday work call here at Theatre Simpson and the building is bustling with activity.  Students, faculty, and staff arrived before 9:00 a.m. to begin working on the production of Eurydice that opens March 25.  I am sure that Theatre Simpson alumni have fond memories of the Saturdays they spent working in the theatre!  Forty people are hanging out (well working) in BPAC today, much in the same way they have for a number of years. 

Today is like other work calls with people up in every corner of the building. Walking into the costume shop it looks a bit like a sweat shop–though the workers are smiling and lively show tunes are playing.  There are five people lined up at the machines and more working at the cutting table cranking out pants, vests, a long trench coat and other various costume pieces.

Sewing machines buzzing in the costume shop.

Upstairs there are multiple projects going onstage.  Sparks are flying as the frames for the three back walls are being welded and sanded.   A large raked platform is being completed with another group of students “weathering” the wood.  Perhaps one of the most interesting set projects going on is the painting of the floor tiles for the stage.  While the scumbling technique is working well, what makes it particularly interesting is the work location.  Because the stage is so full of other projects the painters have been moved out into the lobby.  We are taking advantage of the fact that the green carpet in the lobby will only be around about a week more, so if a little paint drips off the drop cloth it is no big deal.

Painting in the lobby.


We are even testing some of the tricks for the show–but I can’t share anything about those–you’ll just have to come see what happens in the production.

Props designer Heather Powers checking on the location of something in the cats.


Theatre students excited about the BPAC addition. . .even the renovated bathrooms

Senior theatre major Tiffany Flory has been checking out some of the changes to BPAC.  Here is what she has been finding:

The renovations of the Blank Performing Arts building are slowly starting to take form.  As I’ve been wandering around the theatre, I’ve been getting excited for the parts that have been showing up.  First the seats gradually came in, followed by the carpeting, and Pote Theatre was transformed.  And one day I decided to pop into the bathroom in the upstairs lobby and it was like it had a complete face-lift. It was a beautiful experience.  However, I’m not the only Theatre Simpson student who is eager for the new building so I asked a few other students what they thought.

The fresh new sink area in the renovated women's restroom

Third year student, Heather Powers is “thrilled and think[s] it will be the coolest building on campus when it’s finished.”  Second year student, Caleb Carver believes that “this is a big step in the community and for Simpson College in supporting the performing arts and speaks for the growth of the department.”  And first year, Ethan Newman is just “excited to see it all come together.”

The overall consensus that the students had about the work going on at the theater is that the construction can get in the way sometimes with the noises of drills and other machinery, and space is somewhat limited, but it’s all a small price to pay for what the new spaces will bring to the community, the students, and to Simpson College.

–Tiffany Flory

Meghan Vosberg is amazed by the transformation of the bathroom.

Theatre Seminar…the Senior Experience

Senior theatre major Tiffany Flory will be contributing to the Theatre Simpson blog this semester.  She is a major from Des Moines.  During her Theatre Simpson career she has appeared on stage in many productions, including Antigone: Speaking Truth, Henry 5, and The Learned Ladies.  Last spring she was the lighting designer for Spring Awakening and this year she was hired as the Undergraduate Assistant in Lighting.  Now she is designing the lights for the music department’s production of Albert Herring and also directing one of the projects for Festival of Short Plays 2011.  Tiffany’s first blog entry is about Theatre Seminar and the Festival of Short Plays. 

Kelsey Swanson, Tom Woldt, and Emily Ledger in discussion about John F. Kennedy

Theatre Seminar happens in the spring semester for senior theatre majors.  This year there are three of us in the course: Emily Ledger, Kelsey Swanson, and me.  The class is taught by Tom Woldt.  Each year the seminar class has a different theme. Some of the past themes have included “Theatre of the Absurd,” “American Theatre Between the World Wars,” and “Disturbing the Peace.” This year the seminar will be focusing on “The John F. Kennedy Center: Fifty Years at the ‘Nation’s Performing Arts Center.’”

In this discussion-based class we are studying the importance of John F. Kennedy’s actions in supporting the performing arts and what the Kennedy Center is continuing to do to inspire arts in America.  We will complete two reports on a wide range of topics from the history of the Kennedy Center to current people still involved. One report is shorter so that more topics can be discussed, and the final report will be a substantial research paper that we will present at the Theatre Symposium at the end of March.

The three seniors, Emily Ledger, Tiffany Flory, and Kelsey Swanson enjoying their discussion in Theatre Seminar.

The last element of the seminar is a full production project. We have chosen one-acts and have divided the production assignments.  This year there are two one-acts, Bunnies and Fall From Grace. Emily and I will each direct one show, Kelsey is the lighting designer, and Tom is the advisor for the project.  The entire production is student run with student directors, designers, and of course actors! Theatre Seminar is an intense investigation and application of the performing arts, but it’s also full of opportunities and fun.

The three team members--Emily, Tiffany, and Kelsey--ready to tackle Festival of Short Plays 2011