By Julia Contarelli
Tyler Junior College students build the play’s scenarios.
“We are a 99 percent students-built shows,” said Rebecca Faulds, Tyler Junior College professor for theater and speech.
The theater department uses outside help on electrical for the stage, this being the one percent not made by students, according to Ms. Faulds.
Building the set brings students a feeling of connection with the play, exciting them to perform better.
“You just look at that and you think, ‘wow, I did that’,” said Britney Wallace, TJC student and Theater major.
“Working on the set makes me feel more connected to the play,” said Justin Collins, TJC student and Theater major.
A student can do both jobs — act in the plays and also build the set — it doesn’t have to be done by different groups.
“They will help build sets and paint in the afternoon, and at night, they will be rehearsing and performing,” said Fauld. “It makes them stronger actors because they understand the process.”
The first play of the year will be “Anne of The Thousand Days” which is a historic- based play. The designer of the scenery was looking for a way to build a castle.
“A historical play like this is based in England in the time of the Tudors. The designer of the set wanted a feel of the castle,” said Faulds.
The research gave her the idea of not building a full castle, but to make a wall of rocks representing the exterior of one.
The students can’t build the scenarios without training. TJC has classes to teach them how to construct and work the sound equipment. Those are: ‘Stagecraft I’ which focuses on the art of building sets and construction techniques and ‘Stagecraft II’ which focuses on sounds and lights.
The scenery normally takes two to four weeks to be done and the students/actors are able to rehearse a few times with the completed set before the opening night.
The students are also in charge of making their own costumes.
“They are in the learning process of how to use sewing machines, how to stitch and how to put it all together,” said Faulds.
The first production of the Fall season is “Anne of the Thousand Days” and it will be in the Jean Browne Theatre. It is free with a valid TJC ID and it will be from Oct. 7-11, every day. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The show has a duration of 2 hours.