Sunday, July 30, 2006


Junked Set Wars

One of the most entertaining events of the season doesn’t take place onstage, and many patrons have no idea that it exists. Every year, after the shows are built, the properties and carpentry departments face off in Junked Set Wars. Any materials left over from building the sets are fair game for the competition. A new challenge is devised every year and is announced to the teams the morning of the competition. Frantic planning, strategizing and building then begins. An esteemed panel of national and international judges assembles to award the prizes at the end of the competition. One is given for accomplishing the objective of the challenge, and the other for superior aesthetics and style. This year the judges were: John Conklin (associate artistic director), Robert Wierzel (lighting designer, Jenufa), Isabella Bywater (set and costume designer, Jenufa), and Jonathan Miller (director, Jenufa)

This year the goal was to transport twenty water balloons across the pond in front of Glimmerglass’ Alice Bush Opera Theater in five minutes. To complicate things, two riggers were put into the middle of the pond as pirates, trying to capture the balloons before they made it across. It so happened that this year both the carps and the props teams devised the same method of a basket attached to a pulley system, so it came down to whose construction was better. Baskets flew over the pond as the pirate riggers hurled cables at them trying to stop the balloons from reaching their destination. After a harrowing five minutes of yelling, cheering, and the occasional hurling of balloons at the opposing team, the final count was taken and the panel of distinguished judges made their rulings. The carpenters won the award for transporting the most balloons across and the props team won the award for superior aesthetics and style. A third award was given to the riggers for excellence in piracy.

Photos (from top to bottom):
1. David Benetello (Assistant Techincal Director) prepares for the carnage of Junked Set Wars.
2. The distinguished panel of judges confers about the rules of this year’s competition with Matt Kirby-Smith (production manager) and Abigail Rodd (techincal director).
3. The contraptions built for the challenge with the props team on the left and the carpenters on the right.
4. The company staff cheers on the teams.

The water wasn't too cold but the bottom of the pond was a bit mucky.
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