Time and Place
Much of the work I have done has been unconventional, after work, into the night, and almost always with and for people I felt were personally integrated with their work in such a way to produce a high quality product and something that serves the region it belongs to. I never have felt that this work was the type of thing I was doing for myself. Mark Spencer runs Westside Theatre Guild in Gary, Indiana. I met Mark through my friend Denise who was working with Mark as a lighting designer at the time. I was too busy to take the job and worked late into the evening after work. Immediately I could tell there was something very special about the place.
During the time that I did most of the work that I actively participated in as a ThingMaker (designer and craftsperson, CAD, welding, painting etc..) I was continually stunned by what Mark could bring to the region by simply being personally motivated. He had kids that would work on every production, considered the Theatre their home and are some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Guy Rhodes’ lighting on the projects there is incredible. When most people were just learning to use the Hog boards, he was still working his way through high school and was already an expert at it. The theatre in Gary has a rig of automated lighting fixtures any house would envy. Any performance I have attended there has been packed to the gills. It is one of the most positive environments I have ever been associated with. Mark has made and produced films, hosts super star guests in his venue, all the while teaching kids excellent work ethic and stagecraft skills. The above photo is a combination of stud walls, lauan and plexi fascia, lots of silver paint, sonotube with windows inserted, lights within, AV and video managed and produced by in-house staff and Guy Rhodes’ amazing light rig. I have always done working drawings for this venue, as well as the design when I present a project. If the TD chooses not to use them, Mark has always asked that I provide them as I do these on a regular basis for my everyday work. Westside is a place of active and integrated artists. Many of it’s students have gone on to work as professionals in the industry due to the mentoring they received there. Most importantly, it stands as a place that is a haven for the arts and the surrounding communities.
The photo above is a huge foam head mounted on a large frame, and a very simple Egyptian structure. The Sphinx head flew in and out, and was replaced by a moon in some scenes, nothing in others. The stage is 60′ wide and allowed for a ton of actors, musicians and all the special effects that could be used.
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