Parlando: The COC Blog

12/7/2010

Inside the Scene Shop

While the smaller prop items for The Magic Flute 

are being constructed in the COC's Prop Shop, the larger set pieces are the domain of the Scene Shop.

UPDATE: Commenter Bruce McMullan below, former technical director at the COC, gives a corrected history of the building: 

"Just to correct your history about the former use of the Melita Street shop. The COC initially rented and ultimately purchased this facility in 1983 from a Mr Weinstein (not the NY producer). Mr. Weinstein was the "melon king of Toronto" and used the building for storage of all sorts of melons from around North America and then sold/distributed said melons to various chain stores in the GTA. (Much like the food warehouse on the Queensway.) At that point it had four truck bays for all the in and out movement. We closed off two of those bays in 1983 and the next year tore out the refrigerated rooms to open up the space. Overhead there is a 15 ton crane which still worked when we bought the place and it was helpful in transferring lumber etc. directly from trucks at the Northern loading doors to where it was needed in the shop. In 1987 we used the remaining funds raised to renovate 227 Front St to add a high bay in the centre of the shop to erect and test tall pieces of scenery. Unfortunately the crane was taken out of service as it had exposed electrical wires at 600 volts. (Think trolley cars) It was a very wise decision (on the part of John Leberg) to locate this building and convince the Board to buy it. One would have a hard time locating as suitable a structure in downtown anymore at the price we paid 27 years ago!"

The Scene Shop is where the sets and large pieces of stage furniture are built and where the scrims and backdrops are painted.


This maquette (miniature set mock-up) from The Magic Flute shows a large gate. 

  


Here's the gate as it appeared last month, mid-construction.




As it moves closer to completion, the details are being filled in.




Here's a closer look at the grille.




A few of the bars still need to be tipped with gold. 




The scrollwork, shown here, has yet to be affixed to the top.




This sphinx has been sculpted out of a large block of Styrofoam. In this photo, it is in the midst of having a veneer applied to it.




A number of finishes, and wire mesh for increased stability, have been applied to make it appear as though it was carved from stone. Here is the finished product.

 


In this maquette, you can see the garden setting for Act IV. 

 


Here's a look at the design document for the bench.

 


And here's the finished bench.

 


In this maquette for Act I, you can see a stage-within-a-stage.

 


Here you can see that piece removed and on its own—note that even details such as footlights, back ladders and upper catwalks are built into these miniature mock-ups. 

 

There's more to come! Next up: umbrellas and hobby horses.

Posted by Cecily Carver / in 2010/2011 / comments (7) / permalink

Gale Martin (12/7/2010 1:05:00 PM)
It's such fun to see how these pieces are made. Great post.
Bruce McMullan - former tech. dir. (12/8/2010 9:43:00 AM)
Just to correct your history about the former use of the Melita Street shop. The COC initially rented and ultimately purvhased this facility in 1983 from a Mr Weinstein (not the NY producer). Mr. Weinstein was the "melon king of Toronto" and used the building for storage of all sorts of melons from around North America and then sold/distributed said melons to various chain stores in the GTA. (Much like the food warehouse on the Queensway.) At that point it had four truck bays for all the in and out movement. We closed off two of those bays in 1983 and the next year tore out the refrigerated rooms to open up the space. Overhear there is a 15 ton crane which still worked when we bought the place and it was helpful in transferring lumber etc. directly from trucks at the Northern loading doors to where it was needed in the shop. In 1987 we used the remaining funds raised to renovate 227 Front St to add a high bay in the centre of the shop to erect and test tall pieces of scenery. Unfortunately the crane was taken out of service as it had exposed electrical wires at 600 volts. (Think trolley ars) It was a very wise decision (on the part of John Leberg to locate this building and convince the Board to buy it. One would have a hard time locating as suitable a structure in downtown anymore at the price we paid 27 years ago!
Barney (12/8/2010 9:58:00 AM)
Excellent post. I don't think the shop was ever a TTC facility though. I need to do some research on that.
Cecily (12/8/2010 10:00:00 AM)
Bruce and Barney: My mistake. Thanks Bruce for the corrected and detailed history! I'll update the post.
CC (12/8/2010 10:03:00 AM)
This is awesome! What an amazing sneak peek!
Jessica (COC ed & outreach) (12/8/2010 10:22:00 AM)
This post is so interesting! Thanks for sharing with us Cecily.
Barney (12/8/2010 10:53:00 AM)
It looks like the Weinsteins are still in the melon business, at www.canadianfruit.ws

Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001