Set Preparation for a Spamalot Production

I have been traveling on my annual buying trip for the store. My sister Rebekah goes with me so we go to her house first and then drive to Philadelphia for the show. We had an extra day before we had to go to the show so I volunteered to help Rebekah with creating set design for a production of Spamalot that she is currently working on. I did help in the past with set design and wrote a post about it here.

This was a bit different because we were actually making the set pieces. We started at the house making a “Las Vegas” sign. Rebekah had already created most of the lettering and pieces and we just needed to put it together.

We made the circles out of cardboard cake circles and covered them with aluminum foil. We used spray glue to apply the letters. There was a lot of spraying and stickiness all around.

Here’s Rebekah working on where the letters fit on the sign.

And here’s the partially finished sign. The welcome circles still hadn’t been applied and lights were to be fastened around the edge. But we had to go off to the school and start painting set pieces.

This is what it looked like when I arrived. The stairs on the left were my assigned job. You can see that they are lighter than the stairs on the right and don’t have any shadow or “depth” to the rocks.

So I spent nearly 6 hours painting the rest of the castle that needed “darkness” added.

This is a smaller piece that was sponged with a variety of colors of paint. The castle was done in the same way.

The builder guy was working on another castle tower. And Rebekah then drew in the stones and marked with what color paint they were to be sponged with. She did this for the entire castle. While we were working, there were at least 25-30 teens running around doing different tasks, working on lighting and various other pursuits to create the set. It was a bit crazy to say the least.

Here’s the Trojan Bunny. It will get more coats of paint but it has a few done one the right. Dry brushing is used to make it look like wood.

Here are more set pieces that have been created. My niece Lizzie painted the moose. If you haven’t seen Spamalot, it is a spoof of Camelot. It’s pretty silly thus the strange set pieces.

Here is the small piece of fiber art in the production. These are samples of dyed floor cloth. A large piece dyed with “water” colors will be for the Lady of the Lake to rise out of. I didn’t get a photo of the finished “lake”.

It was getting close to the end of the evening. I had been working up on the upper portion of the castle. The “crew” had been lifting up a very big, long pole thingee (not sure of its exact name) and had asked everyone to move out of the way in case it fell. They finished up and left. Rebekah, the builder guy and I stayed to clean up. You can see I was right at the front of the castle in the photo above. I walked down the steps and then helped builder guy to move the other tower. We stopped just short of the stair area and Rebekah went to the back of the castle to check if there was room to put the tower.

Then BOOM! This big, long pole thingee came crashing down on to the castle. We had all been under and around it before it fell. Luckily, no one was injured but it was a real scare. Amazingly, the set wasn’t really damaged. Working in theatre is more dangerous than one imagined.

The production is still going on and Rebekah is working hard to finish the set. If you’re in the Richmond area in early March, I would highly recommend going to see Spamalot. It’s a good show and the set is going to be fabulous, especially the part I painted.

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10 Responses to Set Preparation for a Spamalot Production

  1. What a mammoth task! The set looks great – the paint effect for the stones is fab – and the Trojan Bunny is great idea.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Lyn! It definitely is a mammoth task for sure. She is still frantically painting things to get it all ready. My favorite part of the Trojan Bunny is the ears πŸ™‚

  2. Kathryn Luciana says:

    That pole thingy is called a pipe, and you were very lucky not to be standing under it when it fell. I am a stagehand and someone apparently didn’t have it tied off securely. Usually they are holding lights, drops, etc and are extremely heavy. Glad you are all right. Nice paint work! Spamalot is a great show.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks for the information Kathryn. Yes, we all felt very lucky. I wish I could see the show but won’t be able to travel cross country again to see it.

  3. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    The set looks great. I can’t imagine how you find time to eat, sleep or felt. It’s nice you were able to help your sister.

  4. tracey2008 says:

    I hope after nearly six hours of painting, the audience find it hard to choose between watching the cast and staring at the set……. πŸ™‚

  5. Flextiles says:

    Artistic talent clearly runs in the family! Relieved to hear that nobody was hurt – hope the show goes well.

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