Creating the Scenery

Unlike other shows, Cinderella relies heavily on set pieces to tell the story. The stairs aren’t just used to walk up and down and as a set piece – they are how Cinderella makes her grand entrance into the ballroom, where she leaves her glass slipper for the prince to find. 

In order to achieve this, set crew began planning before the show was cast. Senior Kate Waltman, head of set crew, along with woodshop teacher Mr. LaBrot and theatre director Ms. Gehrke met to draw out a plan for a bigger, more exaggerated set that would stand out on the stage. 

“There’s a lot more use to the set [in Cinderella]. We rely on it heavily throughout the show,” Waltman said. “We wanted the [stepmother’s] house to be bigger, the carriage to have a majestic transformation from the pumpkin, the stairs and bridge to be big since the stairs are a big part of the show.”

A grand bridge and staircase, made to represent the castle, stays on stage for the duration of the show. Movable set pieces and a fly system (set pieces that hang from the ceiling) set the scenes that don’t take place in the palace. 

“The house was the hardest [to create] because it was so tall,” Waltman said. 

The stepmother’s house extends high enough to brush against the top curtains. It’s reversible, moved on wheels by the deck crew so actors can interact with its interior and exterior. 

Two days before the show a wheel broke off of the newly completed house. The next day it broke again. Dealing with a large set can lead to a number of mishaps, but the crew quickly fixed what was thrown at them, allowing everything to run smoothly by opening night. 

Perhaps the most impressive piece is Cinderella’s carriage. The audience sees a row of pumpkins behind the actors, possibly believing that they’re purely there for decoration. However, with a wave of the Fairy Godmother’s wand, fog fills the stage and the deck crew spins the piece around to reveal a golden carriage. 

When rehearsals began, Waltman was nervous to take on such a tech-heavy show, especially since the majority of the people on set crew didn’t have experience. However, in the final months, she has left a legacy on incoming crew members, watching them grow independent after teaching them what she learned.

“I’m proud of the people I work with,” Waltman said. “We’re in good hands.”

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