Odds and Ends
Hugo was created for the Goodman Theatre's production of Feathers and Teeth in 2015. I started with a store bought medical skeleton, but I replaced the metal spine with rope so that it became flexible. Next came the paint job, followed by adding globs of dyed urethane rubber for the flesh. The skeleton was named after the character in the play, who got eaten by little monsters.
One of my first jobs at the Goodman was to remake the hanging geese for A Christmas Carol in 2014. The old ones were mad of rigid foam, so I replaced their necks with rope and covered the rope with a fleece "sock" I had made and glued it to the body and head. New wings were made with armature wire and loosely attached to the body, and then all six geese were completely re-feathered. The end result were geese that swayed and dangled when they were moved. Mission accomplished; people called to complain about the real dead animals onstage!
This nine foot tall snowman was created for The Santaland Diaries at the Goodman in 2018. The head and torso are giant plastic globes we had in stock, but the bottom is carved foam. Then all three sections were covered in batting. The hat is one inch foam covered in black felt. The arms and nose were sculpted on Free Form Flex FR and Free Form Air epoxy putties. The coal eyes and mouth are blocks of wood.
These were also for The Santaland Diaries and sat atop Santa's throne. We bought an actual giant gummy bear and I made a mold using Mold Star 16. Then dyed yellow Crystal Clear 202 was poured in.
These were a part of a flying set, therefore they couldn't be glass scones in case they fell. So, I made a mold of the original out of silicone, then roto-cast it in a clear resin, which gave it a frosted glass look.
Foliage and Rocks
The first set of trees were made for the Goodman Theatre's Father Comes Home from the War in 2018. Since they were going to be in the smaller theatre, close to the audience, the director requested that they look as real as possible. The Props Carpenter welded the basic shape from steel, then it was my job to cover it in foam and putty to make it llok real. For the bottom I used Free Form Habitat, and for the top I used Free Form Air. For the tin branches I used Free Form Flex. I made my own texture stamp out of silicone using bark samples we had at the shop. After that they were sent to the paint department for the finishing touches. The next trees were made for the Goodman Theatre's Uncle Vanya. The Props Carpenter had made a skeleton out of welded metal rods. I then covered them with pipe foam for girth, and textured them with muslin and white glue. Globs of Cellu-Clay were added for knots and other details. It's a much cheaper way of making trees, and since they were background pieces, super detail wasn't important. The tall hedge was made by zip-tying individual leaf bunches to a frame covered by chicken wire. The ferns were made by drilling holes into a PVC pipe and sticking branches into it. The rocks are carved foam, covering in Free Form Air and textured with a sponge.
These fun little guys were made to look like paper mache float decorations. I made the giant sea shell by first covering a plaster shell shaped planter in tin foil. Then, I covered that in paper mache. Thanks to the tin foil, the paper mache popped right off once it was dry. However, to add strength, I cover the inside with Plasti-Paste. The other sea creatures were made by carving the shape out of insulation foam, then covering it with paper mache.
Leather and Luggage
The first is a Civil War era backpack and a baldric holster made for The Goodman Theatre's Father Comes Home from the War in 2018. The Scottish Targes were made for the Goodman Theatre's Brigadoon in 2015. I patterned the brass work and custom made the leather handles. We lent them out to a theatre in New York, and they were sadly "lost." The "Nuclear Football" was created for the Goodman Theatre's 2018 production of Blind Date. It's the President's briefcase that houses a device to remotely launch nuclear weapons.
This was created for the 2018 A Christmas Carol. Carved foam covered in wood glue and craft paper, then I glued roped to it in a spiral pattern and added gold vinyl wrappings. The whole thing was sealed, then the paint department gold leafed it.
For the Goodman Theatre's Sweat in 2019 I had to make several foam bats that were to be used in stage combat. Initially, I was told the actors were not going to make contact, and that the bats needed to be foam as a precaution. Then they decided (without telling me) to put a hard plate under one of the actor's shirts, and the other actor hit the bat against it as hard as he could to make a load 'thud.' So, I had to make several versions to se which bat stood up to the abuse the best. The final version had a fiberglass rod interior so it wouldn't bend, Flex-Foam It III as the softest foam, and a dyed brown rubber skin so the paint wouldn't chip. I made four, and they all survived the run of the show. They used a real bat earlier in the show and slammed it on the counter to make a loud cracking noise. The real bat and one of the foam bats is in the last picture