Leon Cooley built the stage colonnade frame structure in January so Sis Brenner (a tiny, talented fireball) and I could create via cardboard, paint, and 42,638 staples (some ended up in odd places...:) a real colonnade. Then he built out the stage an additional 12x40' using steel scaffolding. Amazing! Thank you Bro Cooley.
So his quilt represents the cross-beamed steel scaffolding and the interlocking wood frame components for our five door colonnade.
|The quilt almost matches our carpet. Too cold to take a pic outside...|
He built the colonnade as sides, headers, etc so by removing 5 screws per unit, they could be stored flat and compact. Brilliant. And he delivered all the colonnade components 2 wks EARLY, allowing us to begin covering them with cardboard we had painted to look like stones, bricks, marble, etc.
The morning he delivered the 5 colonnade doorways we were so surprised and thrilled. We were cheering and chanting his name and it embarassed this quiet, good man. He returned to check on things that night and discovered we had covered and painted 3 of the doorway units. He just laughed at our industrious transformation of 2x4 & 2x6s into a believable townscape.
The next morning he came back to help us assemble those sections and get them upright. Then as we would paint more, he would set those up. And so it continued until the entire colonnade was upright and filling the stage with a credible facade that the actors and singers could move in and out of with ease and safety.
Here he is setting up the colonnade.
|Four days after his early delivery we only had the top of the doorways to cover. We had the interior side panels attached and this stage was starting to look authentic.|
See that boat? Another man and another quilt will be discussed on another post!
|While we continued to paint the side panels, doors, reversible interior facades, city scapes, arch, etc Bro Cooley|
tackled the massive 12'x40' build out constructed with scaffolding.
He put a 5/8" plywood subfloor on top of the scaffolding units
That same night we painted it and attached cardboard stone facades so the scaffolding was hidden from view.
When he came back in the morning to measure
for the 3 sets of stairs he was building
he began to see the transformation from basketball court
to a theatrical event.
He laughed and asked if we ever slept...
But his task was not over yet... He built rock solid stairs, 2 side and one 10' wide front stair from which the whole cast would enter and exit.
Why do I have such deep regard for his willingness to build the impossible dream with us? Because for 7 wks the cast could only practice in a smaller cultural hall with blue and green painter's tape used to mark stage positioning for various scenes. Bro Cooley's massive effort to transform & expand the Stake Center stage was a significant turning point for the cast.
Just 7 days before our first public performance the cast and crew saw the Stk Ctr's stage set and build-out. Suddenly, the magnitude of the musical became real to each of them. Lines were said with meaning, songs were sung with heart. The stage & the build-out constructed by Leon Cooley, changed everything for all of us.
Leon, you made it possible! Thank you!