Play’s props coming together



April 21, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Cliff Harris’ mission: to grow a forest in a matter of weeks.
With the help of some canvas, chicken wire and Allen County Community College students, Harris is on schedule for completion.
The forest is the scenery for the upcoming ACCC Theatre production of “Robin Hood.”
Harris detailed the effort for the series of large trees that will provide the setting for Sherwood Forest.
As director Tony Piazza explained, a simple two-dimensional wooden tree idea was nixed early in the process.
“The play features characters hiding behind trees, and it wouldn’t look right that way,” Piazza said.
So Harris took long wooden boards with chicken wire shaped in a semicircle to create the skeleton.
A piece of canvas was wrapped around the frame, as had been suggested in books about creating play scenery.
“But the book tells us to stop there,” Piazza said. “Cliff had the idea of putting on a second layer of canvas.
The second layer allowed Harris to add several wrinkles to the outer canvas, creating the illusion of bark.
“We’re pretty happy with how it looks,” Harris said last week, as he and students applied several coats of brown stain to the canvas.
The scenery isn’t the only piece of authenticity.
Crews from General Repair and Supply welded elongated pieces of steel to handles to create the swords.
The actors have been rehearsing for the past several weeks on tightly choreographed fight scenes. Every lunge or jump is done in precise sequence to prevent an actor from being clipped by the heavy steel weaponry.
“The swords aren’t sharp, but I’m sure they’d still hurt,” Piazza said. “But safety has been focus throughout.”
The production tells the story of the swashbuckling hero, Robin Hood, as he “steals from the rich and gives to the poor,” with the assistance of his band of Merry Men.
Isiah Smith is assigned the lead roll.
“Robin Hood” will be presented at the ACCC Theatre at 7:30 p.m. April 28-30. Tickets sell for $6 for adults and $4 for students. Advance tickets also are available at Iola Pharmacy.

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