Scenic Designer Christopher L. Sheley, who has earned awards from The Gazette, Denver Post and Pikes Peak Arts Council, takes his turn at blogging.
I remember, years ago, walking down Chicago Avenue with my then roommate Jay carrying a Christmas tree just selected from a vendor who was set up in an abandoned lot on the near north side of Chicago. We were bundled up, sipping lattes and laughing ourselves stupid. In the end, this became the inspiration behind my scenic design for A Christmas Survival Guide.
At the first production meeting, our director, Michael Gold, walked in and said “let’s make this fun and warm, easily recognizable to the audience with iconic Christmas images and warm memories." We then talked about sled riding, about picking out a tree, about shopping for gifts, about the smell of chestnuts roasting, about snow and all of the sense memories people often carry with them from year to year. We even talked about those memories we all have that are not so good, about the heartbreak and the loneliness that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives during the holidays. We put all of our ideas into the proverbial hopper, talked about the script’s needs, and as the meetings progressed it became clear we all felt we wanted the space to be warm and inviting almost to the point of actually roasting chestnuts.
In the end, this process for has been so rewarding and so upbeat that I am wearing a Santa hat even as I write this blog. Leslie Aldridge’s costumes are of a beautiful color pallet, Jessica Rose’s props…especially Santa’s puppet…look tight as always, Bret Christopherson’s sound effects are right on, and Holly Rawls’s lighting will have thousands of looks including some fifty strands of Christmas lights which I’m sure will offer a terrific warmth and glow to the whole show.
We watched rehearsal this past Sunday and the show has some remarkable numbers and characters. There is truly some big, big talent in this cast. And speaking of, Michael Gold’s talent and energy are always astonishing. His motor runs a hundred miles an hour (must be the sugar from all of his baked goods), and his passion and work ethic are terribly impressive. I have to say we are all very fortunate to have him here with us here at the FAC.
I must also say I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I have so much to be grateful for and so many loving and kind people with which to share the season. To Olivia and Holly…….I love you both more than words can describe. To the rest of you and the whole world….I wish you all the love and kindness your hearts can hold. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!