Impressive Aquatics with Illinois Theatre
The March 2016 Illinois Theatre production of The Grapes of Wrath required a little theatrical magic, which just so happens to be a specialty here at Krannert Center. The show’s technical director, third-year MFA student Brian Gonner, explained the intricacies of creating a facsimile of the Colorado River and of engineering the show’s rain effect. The “river” sits atop the upstage lift (a moveable piece of flooring on the apron of the stage), which was moved to a down position for the scenic design. Within that space, a 1700-gallon pool was created, complete with a membrane and a filtration system. Daily ph and chlorine testing ensured water safety for the actors whose roles demanded a dip. To make it rain on stage, piping with holes throughout was fitted with hose connections that were fed by an IBC tote (a large bag typically used to transport honey and agricultural products). Gonner and his team installed a gutter beneath a slanted piece of flooring to catch the nightly 20-gallon stage rainfall and recycle it. Check out more great scenic design in the upcoming seasons from Illinois Theatre and Lyric Theatre @ Illinois.