Sneak peek at Cinderella and The Emperor’s New Clothes: Sets!

If you’ve visited the Dress Up Theatre in the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed that the familiar square stage has been replaced by some new sets and platforms of all shapes and sizes.  Chris Fitze, Exhibits and Operations Associate, and Shawn Cole, Exhibits and Operations Intern, have created these pieces for the upcoming productions of Cinderella and The Emperor’s New Clothes, running in February and March. (Get your tickets here!)

In addition to working on Exhibits and Operations at the Museum & Theatre, Chris Fitze has done behind-the-scenes work for local theatres. He’s been involved in the design, construction or installation of the sets for every onsite production since the Children’s Theatre merged with the Children’s Museum. I asked him a few questions about how these versatile sets are created, and he gave me some very enlightening answers!

Who comes up with the idea for the set?  Is it the playwright?  The director?  The people who build it?

Friday, 2/5: Chris and Reba (Theatre Artistic Director) try out the turntable that supports the rotating throne.

It’s a little of all three. Every playwright that writes a play has a setting in mind. Even if it’s a general as “the woods” or “in a house,” the playwright needs to know where the characters are, so she can know how they will interact in with their environment. Some playwrights will be very specific and even include a detailed drawing of the set!

The director, having read the play, will also come up with ideas for the set. Some directors may want to pick a different era that the play takes place in. Or they may want to use a particular style. At the Children’s Museum & Theatre, we meet early on with the director (usually before the play is even cast!) to talk about set design.

The people who build the set here at the Children’s Museum & Theatre have much more say in the overall design than at other theaters. Partly because the set needs to be built in such a way that it will hold up to the rigors of day-to-day activity at the Museum & Theatre, and partly because the people building the set probably helped to design it! Continue reading “Sneak peek at Cinderella and The Emperor’s New Clothes: Sets!”

Meet Claire, an actor in The Emperor’s New Clothes!

Claire has been acting in our plays since 2008 and she is so fun to work with. Seeing her grow through the years has been amazing and I asked her to share a little about her acting experience. Here’s what she had to say:

Claire, an actor in our Theatre productions

“Joining back in autumn of 2008, I acted in Raggedy Anne and Andy and Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s summer show, Tomato Plant Girl. Raggedy Anne and Andy was my first real theatre experience. I was, of course, very nervous when I went in to my audition. I was soothed by Reba’s calming manner and my audition began immediately. My mother met us after, and, my nerves returning, Reba led me upstairs. She saw my mom and broke into a jabber about scheduling, rehearsals, and show times. My mom looked at me. “Does this mean she’s in?” Beaming at me, Reba stated, “She’s in like Flynn.” I broke into a wide grin. Continue reading “Meet Claire, an actor in The Emperor’s New Clothes!”

Sneak Peek at The Emperor’s New Clothes!

When a new show is coming up in our Dress Up Theatre, I try not to let myself see too much of the rehearsals – I love to experience the show for the first time with a live audience full of families. However, I couldn’t resist sneaking down to the lower level for a quick peek at what the cast of The Emperor’s New Clothes has been up to.

The cast was bursting with energy, and I caught a couple of very funny scenes featuring the sneaky tricksters, the Emperor, the Empress and their court.

They were trying out their costumes for the first time, so I got a hint of what the production will be like, but the real magic will happen when lighting, sets, music, and audience are all in place. I’m looking forward to March 4th!

The Emperor and Empress address their court
The tricksters, Anna and Karl, come up with a plan to swindle their way into some money
Emperor Frederik and Empress Sophie
Stefan, the Imperial Chief of Staff, and Hans, the Imperial Speechwriter

Tickets for this show and Cinderella are on sale now! Call the front desk at 828-1234 x231 or click here to get your seats!