July 31, 2010

South Pacific - the musical

It's quite the challenge to pull off a show like this in the middle of an empty field. But Maui grants us good weather and beautiful surroundings, especially at the Maui Tropical Plantation, where there is a gently sloping clearing they call the Field of Dreams.

It does have a small stage in the center and the field is ringed with a variety of tall palm trees. There's also a windmill off to one side that helps to irrigate the 60 acres of garden.

The musical was put on by The Maui Academy of Performing Arts under the direction of David Johnston.

We met at their offices months earlier where set designer Caro Walker brought in a mock-up of the stage set.

When load-in began, some authentic WWII vehicles were parked near the stage. This army truck's bed held the musical director. A vintage military tent held the props and wireless mics and a classic jeep flanked the audience.

The lighting design was very simple, and I hung instruments from scaffold towers placed out front and on the corners of the stage. 

The towers were draped in camo material and two towers on stage had wheels that allowed the actors to spin them in between scenes to create different locations within the play.

Once lights were hung, patched and gelled, I climbed the towers to focus under a beautiful starry sky.

Blocking began at dusk and rehearsals followed as the sun went down. 

The show was magical and the weather held up nicely, except for one brief downpour, which happened appropriately as the song "Wash that man right out of my hair" was being performed.
During the song Bali Hai, I bathed the ring of palm trees around the field in green, yellow, and red. I also lit the windmill and the towers. It's a blast to light objects in ways that nobody would ever expect!

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