PCS Blog

Behind-the-Scenes: On the Set of The North Plan

Posted by Kinsley Suer | 17 January 2012

Our world premiere production of Jason Wells' The North Plan opened here on our Main Stage last week. For the past several weeks everyone at PCS has been busy preparing for the production - and we've got the photos to prove it! Before you see the show, check out these behind-the-scenes photos and read up on some insider tidbits detailing the production's rehearsal process, set construction, costume design process and more.

So let's get started!














Above are photos of our rehearsal space, located on the third floor of the Armory. Rehearsals began for The North Plan on December 13, so our cast has spent the last several weeks in this room. All of our productions rehearse in this space until the set has been completely assembled onstage and tech rehearsals begin, which is actually only a few days before the first performance. It's amazing how quickly the actors must be able to adapt to performing on the actual stage with the actual set!

But back to the rehearsal hall. It has the same dimensions as the Main Stage, so we're able to tape the exact measurements of the set to the floor to give the actors a sense of the space. Some of the pieces in the picture above are just being used as temporary props for the month of rehearsals, but several of the items will be used onstage for the real production. One major exception is the jailroom holding cells, pictured on the right. These are temporary models built just for the month of rehearsals. The ones you'll see on the stage will be much different (and more realistic looking), but in the meantime these models will give the actors playing Carlton and Tanya an idea how confined they'll be for much of ACT 1.












Pictured above are two photos of the 3D set model for The North Plan. Every production on the Main Stage has a set model created by the scenic designer to help the production team build the set and the actors visualize the space as they rehearse the play. However, for this production Scenic Designer Tony Cisek went above and beyond the call of duty! Even the people, flag poles and trash can are built perfectly to-scale - 1/4" for every foot on the Main Stage. Tony also designed the sets for last season's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the past two seasons' A Christmas Story - two sets that were equally as impressive and complex. 













With the 3D set model in hand, our fabulous production team went to work building the set. All of the pieces were built at our off-site scene shop, then transported to the Armory and put together on the stage. I have to say, the set for this production is kind of awesome. The massive set was built onto a motorized turntable, which will periodically rotate throughout the show to present the different scene settings. The turntable runs on a motor that was actually built into the stage placed near the rear of the theater. The photo above, to the left, shows two of the different settings being built on the turntable. On the right, several PCS crew members haul in different pieces of  the set in preparation for assembly.













Above are two more photos of the motorized turntable. Our fabulous sound designer for the production, Resident Sound Designer Casi Pacilio, was responsible for designing some carefully placed sound interludes between scenes, to cover the sound of the motor turning the set.




Above are a few of the costume designs (renderings) for the show, created by Costume Designer Deborah Trout. On the far left is the design for the character Carlton Berg, who will be portrayed by Brian Patrick Monahan; Brian was last seen here at PCS in Frost/Nixon. The center design is for Lotus Police Chief Swenson, portrayed in our production by Portland favorite Tim True. Tim also played The Old Man in our holiday production A Christmas Story. Rehearsals began for The North Plan back in December, meaning Tim was in rehearsals for one show and performances of another at the same time. Busy man!

On the right is the "work-in-progress" sketch for the character Tanya Shepke, portrayed by Kate Eastwood Norris. Tanya's costume was probably the most difficult to nail down, as she has to fool a few of the characters into thinking she's someone she's not in Act 2 - without being able to change her costume! 


The North Plan runs through February 5, 2012. Get your tickets here!



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