We are privileged to have four amazing interns working with us this summer. Their duties range from making costume pieces and painting sets, to stage managing and performing in several of our shows this season! Mara Flynn, Kaitlynn Newcomb, Sarah Rasey, and Shelby Tyler have been a major part of what has made our 2019 season so successful!
PPH: What has been a memorable experiences working with props so far?
Mara: I really enjoyed making the fake fish for the dinner scene in Gentlemen’s Guide. I make it completely out of newspaper and duct tape. I drew out a general outline of a fish and then cut it out through two pieces of paper and then stuffed it and taped it with newspaper while covering it in duct tape.
Kaitlynn: Making the pig ears, tails, and noses was definitely interesting. They were the first props/costume accessories that we had to figure out how to make. I was in charge of making the ears, and a lot of pinterest looking took place. After around three attempts I finally got a good pair of ears made that looked great from the stage. I felt very accomplished with that.
Sarah: I really enjoyed making the saw for Gentleman’s Guide from scratch. I rarely have an opportunity to make a prop from start to finish, so it was really refreshing.
Shelby: Fitting a color scheme for Gentleman’s Guide has been a good challenge, and definitely fun to try out. We’ve done a lot of paper mache and used a lot of duct tape to keep to a grayscale scheme. I’ve picked up a lot of new tricks that way.
PPH: What has been the most challenging aspect of making or pulling props for the shows you have worked on?
Mara: For something like Gentlemen’s Guide you have to make sure it looks age appropriate so everything has to look like it’s from the early 20th century. There are a lot of props that have to either be adjusted to look the time period, or just be completely made from scratch.
Kaitlynn: I think the most challenging was painting the props and such to match the color scheme for the show. It’s all based on old political cartoons so it follows the black, white, and grey color scheme of those. We had to get creative on how to mix those colors and such for all the props used.
Sarah: The director of Dixie Swim had a very particular vision for her props, so things as small as the glasses they were drinking out of went through many drafts before we were able to finalize them.
Shelby: Any time there is any really detailed lettering or art of any kind, I get really nervous and shaky because I’m not very good at drawing or that sort. Things like our beach signs for Dixie or just tracing for Gentleman’s Guide. We have done a LOT of it, so I’ve gotten a lot better, but still. It always makes me nervous.
PPH: You worked on the set for The Dixie Swim Club earlier this season. Describe your experience transforming the Parkway Playhouse stage into an Outer Banks beach house!
Mara: Myself and another intern Sarah put up a lot of the walls. We started with one wall and worked our way around. Each having to be flush with another, and it became difficult when the walls had to branch out in a “V” formation from upstage to downstage.
Kaitlynn: I kept forgetting how much actually goes into decorating a real house to make it home-like. Pulling all the set dressing and wall decorations definitely got creative to make sure the beach vibe was still apparent in the house.
Sarah: I spent 2 straight hours one day painting the floor as the others were working on other projects. Despite it being tedious, it was a great workout!
Shelby: Set dressing was a time and a half to pull together; decorating a set is already pretty difficult and when an entire beach theme, we definitely had to get creative, designing and painting some of the signs ourselves. It was a fun challenge, and I think it paid off really well.
PPH: The set design for A Gentleman’s Guide for Love and Murder is very interesting and detailed! What are some aspects that you enjoyed working on?
Mara: There was a lot of painting involved in this show, especially the color gray, and I really enjoy painting so I had a good time doing that!
Kaitlynn: Tracing the periaktos was interesting for sure. They’re so tall that making sure that everything is sized correctly took a hot second. We went through a lot of black markers.
Sarah: Working with Steve on the giant sketches was a lot of fun. I really enjoy visual art when I’m not on stage, so it was very cathartic.
Shelby: The periaktos, no doubt. You really start to think outside of the box when you have a limited amount of space to project tracings into a 10 foot tall periaktoi. They’ve turned out so well, big thanks to Steve and his crew of artists who turned our tracings into something so pretty.
PPH: Our touring show – The Three Little Pigs- has to have a very specific set since we travel all around the tri-county area. What are some details and challenges that came up while preparing that show?
Mara: I enjoyed painting the houses! Especially the inside of the brick house with making the stew pot and the fire.
Kaitlynn: Making sure that the houses fell quickly when the Big Bad Wolf “blows down the house” took a second to figure out, but it worked out!
Sarah: I really enjoyed the detail work on the houses, especially the stew pot in the brick house. It looks super cartoon-ey, like it’s coming out of a story book. I always get a kick out of watching the houses come down every show, it’s truly different every time.
Shelby: I think just figuring out how exactly to paint them was a bit difficult with the fabric being paint resistant. We ended up figuring it out though, and they look really nice!
All of the interns have had experience creating and maintaining the costumes for our MainStage season.
PPH: You all built the costumes for The Three Little Pigs pretty much from scratch. Tell us about that experience?
Mara: I really enjoyed making the owl costumes, and making sure the fabric was put on in a specific pattern to make them look like feathers.
Kaitlynn: We didn’t have to build much beyond accessories since the theatre basically had everything we needed for base costumes. It came together pretty quickly.
Sarah: We tried to go for a more patchwork style, pulling inspiration from iconic characters we all knew. For example, Mother Pig’s costume is heavily inspired by Mrs. Turnblad from Hairspray.
Shelby: It was pretty simple, just making the accessories for the pig tails, nose, and ears. We used a lot of hot glue, elastic, and felt. We also got to make the wolf’s hat, which was based on a pair of shoes we already had from 3 Bears, so we really just used the same fur.
PPH: How has working on costume crew stretched your knowledge of how a show runs?
Mara: This is my first time on a costumes crew and it has been such a learning experience, especially in terms of quick changes. Strother has a total of 12 costume changes, not all of them have to be done quickly but over half need to be changed rapidly from one to the other. There is one change where myself and the other costume crew member Tegan have to get him out of one costumes while he is barefoot and put a dress on over a suit and add his shoes on him all in under two minutes. So, then he has to run off stage and shed one costume and go on immediately after and be the character under the dress. That has been our biggest challenge. But, it’s been a lot of fun!
PPH: People may not know how much preparation is needed for a show. Describe how much prep work went into The Dixie Swim Club each night!
Shelby: A lot of prep work for Dixie really was just making sure that all of the food was in the right containers,certain glasses had the right beverage, and keeping it all in an orderly fashion so set changes didn’t run long. We had around 15 glasses backstage that were used constantly throughout the show, and we needed to be really aware of what needed to be in what drink and where it needed to be placed.
Kaitlynn: A lot went into preparing the drinks and food that got eaten on stage. We also had to make sure that all the cups used throughout the show got cleaned every night including the coffee pot. Just make sure everything was clean and fresh for the actors every night.
You can catch all of their hard work anytime you see one of our productions this season. Even if you don’t physically see them working-they have each put hours and hours of work into making our shows as wonderful as they are!