Roses and Newspapers

This post is the fourth in a series of guest posts from our 2016 Stage Door Project students at Rochester’s own School of the Arts! In case you missed the Stage Door Project: To Kill a Mockingbird introductory post that explains the exciting details of this year’s Stage Door Project and what all the students involved in this partnership between SOTA and Geva are up to, you can read it along with the previous guest posts from Tali Beckwith-Cohen (playing Scout in the SOTA production), William McDonough (playing Atticus in the SOTA production), and Yolanda Santana (the student graphic designer for the Project) here.

My name is Katherine Fuss and I’m one of the design students involved in the Stage Door Project. I’m part of the props crew for SOTA’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird, so I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with Geva’s props department. It’s a great experience to see prop design on a professional level and to see where and how everything comes together. Early on, we got to attend several production meetings at Geva and tour all of Geva’s prop rooms and prop shop – and it’s really quite amazing! They fill every available space with countless books, table settings, luggage, and weaponry, which gives them options and helps create authenticity and consistency in their plays. For Mockingbird, each of the props students has been given the front page of an old newspaper that we have to edit in PhotoShop so it applies to Maycomb County, Alabama in the 1930s. These newspapers will be used onstage in the SOTA production of Mockingbird! Additionally, the students in the tech classes at SOTA were taught how to create the yellow roses that surround the set, and we helped create most of them. They are part of both the Geva and SOTA productions.

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Using wire and mesh, Geva’s Props Master Mark Bissonnette helps SOTA Stage Door design students Emmett McKinze-Lewis, Gianni Barbero, and Avi Fisher-Wachspress learn how to make the roses and leaves that surround the set of Geva’s To Kill a Mockingbird

I’ve been a part of some shows at school, but being able to work with the Geva professionals gives a whole new perspective on theatre and everything that goes into a production. I’m also glad that it is this show in particular, because it is such an iconic piece of American literature. I’m sure both Geva and SOTA will do an outstanding job of making this story come to life and honoring Harper Lee.

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A Stage Door Project design team meeting between SOTA students focusing on props, scenic, lighting, sound, and costumes, and their Geva staff counterparts and adult mentors from School of the Arts

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