The Craft Project

Who Knew Crayons were so Crucial for Set Design?

The last week has been a whirlwind – it started with me spending the day fishing with my dad (let’s just say that in a hunter-gatherer society I would be relegated to the position of gatherer); went on to the Klondike Trail of ’98 International RoadRelay (I don’t care what anyone tries to tell you – a half marathon is a long way…my legs still hurt days later); then into a three day roller derby bootcamp (Hustle Rose of the Montreal Sexpos came up North to whip us into shape – she was amazing and ensured that my legs would keep hurting); then into my first two days of really teaching at the college (my class’ homework today was to go outside at night and determine their latitude using the North Star); and finally into continuing rehersals for The Boys – the play which opens at the Guild Hall on September 30th that I’m the assistant stage manager for (you should come if you’re in Whitehorse) .

Rehersals led to one of my stranger Craft Project assignments yet, which I took on today.  In the play one of the characters is given a set of papers that turn out to be drawings he made when he was a little kid (you know the type – crayon and construction paper that somehow managed to survive multiple rounds of purging stuff from your house, so that when they’re rediscovered years later it feels like you’re finding a precious treasure).  My director, Brad, asked me to make multiple sets of identical drawings (because over the course of the production they will probably get wrecked) to be used for the production.

That led to me sitting on my studio floor today, surrounded by construction paper and crayons, trying to figure out how a little boy would capture “This is my family.  My mother is big.  My father is beautiful.  My brother is loud.  I am happy.” in an image.  In the end: big became round, beautiful became muscles on a stick figure, loud became a round mouth and a talk bubble, and happy set up the background – including a bright yellow sun and a house with a front door and smoke coming out the chimney.

I then had to figure out how to draw the images as if I was a little boy – this is way harder than you think – for all of you out there thinking, “yeah right, how hard can it be?”, I dare you to try – try to sit down and draw like a little kid.  In the end I had to grasp the crayon in a complete fist to make it messy enough…and it hurts to write that way…so yeah harder than you think.  And of course – then you need to make multiple, identical sets – go ahead, give it a try.

So here’s your preview of one tiny section of the set for The Boys, to see the rest I guess you’ll have to come to the show.

One set of drawings to be used as prop pieces for The Boys. Who would have guessed that I'd ever be asked to draw like a little kid ever again? Or how hard that would be?

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