The scenery consisted of three main parts: 72 disheveled doors (to be lined up as walls), a decrepit Cupola, and a rotten hardwood floor. I received a set of gorgeous renderings from Reilly Miller, the designer. They were as such:
You'll notice that there are six treatments for the doors on the first rendering. These six treatments were mixed and matched around the entire show, across all 72 doors. Scenery discovered it was less expensive to purchase the doors at roughly $15 a pop than it was to build them. Besides, it was certainly faster to purchase them than it would be to build them or to paint each one with trompe l'oeil.
The first round of treatment for these fancy new doors was to sufficiently beat them with chains. I made three different styles of chain weapon designed to focus on distressing either the facing, edges, or moulding. Each of the crew members rotated between doors, until each of them had spent roughly 3 minutes on each door, totaling 9 minutes per door. Finding the right balance took some practice, since we needed to have enough time to beat 72 of them without a) demolishing them entirely or b) leaving them too pristine.
The crew going at it
Once the doors were sufficiently beaten we took them inside to get their first round of glazes. This was done carefully to ensure that the direction of the wood grain stayed consistent with how the door would have been built, were it hardwood. We further accentuated this by doing a spray frag grain as the second step. These doors were mostly just white- primed fiberboard, so we didn't have actual wood panels to match. That said, we did get a few nasty old hardwood doors in there which were wonderful to work with-- especially the ones coated with oil based paints; we got some wonderful effects out of those, with paint peeling back up and creating gorgeous textures.
The doors were finished out with various colored glazes to bring life to the wood, van dyke glazes for aging, and very light and inconsistent graining (some dark, some light for a sun faded effect) to make them really feel like old, nasty wood. Once the doors were painted, we covered them in white paper (using wallpaper paste so that we can remove the paper and use the doors in the future), which we proceeded to stain with various glazes, and peel back up with wire brushes, scrapers, and hands to create the wallpaper running across them all. The crew members had fun occasionally sneaking various animals into the scrapes behind my back. The designer loved it, and it led to a lot of fun staring and pointing at them during down time in tech.
By the time the doors were complete, we split into two teams, one tackling the Cupola, the other tackling the floor. The Cupola was relatively simple with various glazes applied for aging, and finished off with some white blocking. The biggest challenge with the Cupola had to do with the sheer amount of it. My assistant, Indiana Karmi, led this team as per my instruction, and did a phenomenal job busting the Cupola out well and in a timely fashion. We corresponded via text message and phone calls during this time. Technology is amazing.
The floor was quite intense, and a lot of fun. It was achieved by a team of 5 people in 20 hours. We started out with a brown paper pounce of one section of the star, which we rotated on a pivot point until we had the whole thing. From there we proceeded to use a snap line with white chalk to lay down each of the 3- inch boards. I began painting the star while the team laid out the rest of the floor, using tape to mask off each point, since the grain needed to remain parallel despite the angles. Once the star was nearly finished, the rest of the team began painting the boards, each a 2 part wet blend. We followed color percentages on the rendering for each area, and came back with a van dyke spray drag to lay in the grain. Next, we lined the boards with sash brushes and some van dyke mixed with a touch of sealer and water to help it flow. Afterwards, we threw down some very wet glazes with a decent amount of flat sealer mixed in so that we could get the proper depth one would see in hardwood, as well as the mold sitting atop it. Once this was complete, so was the show! Aside from a few touch- ups and last minute additions, such as scabs and supports, that is. The show was an absolute blast to work on, and I'd be quite happy to work with any of these team members again.