Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Clean Lobby

Posted by Bruce Miller
When you come to see The Clean House, opening this Friday, you’ll notice that our theatrical house is, in fact, noticeably cleaner. After a few weeks’ investment of sweat equity, our hardworking Board is about to complete a redesign of our downstairs lobby.

This is Phase III in the gradual renovation of our Willow Lawn theatre facilities. Phase I was the installation of our new sidewalk awning at the top of the 07-08 Season. Phase II was the addition of our new exterior signage last spring.

As you’ve no doubt discerned, we’re transforming our duckling into a swan step by step, as time and contributed funds allow. We began with those components that you first encounter when walking toward the theatre from the parking lot. Now we’re making our way indoors.

Phase IV will be the cosmetic renovation of our elevator, and then we’ll move onward and upward to our box office and, thereafter, the atrium that surrounds our stairway as it ascends to the theatre proper.

The work on the downstairs lobby is not yet finished, but we’re promising completion of at least the painting before the end of the week.

All thanks go to the two guiding lights of this noble effort:

John Moon (actor, director and past Board President), who has organized and implemented the work. When not laboring in theatre, John is engaged professionally as a designer of exhibits and installations at museums and other cultural institutions nationwide.

David Crank (set and costume designer and former Board member at TheatreVirginia), who has shared with us his design expertise. David just won an Emmy Award for his Art Direction of the John Adams miniseries. Before John Adams, David worked as Art Director of last year’s multiple Oscar-winning film, There Will Be Blood.

Both men have generously donated their time and talents to this project, and we thank them for their gracious contribution to the cause.

You may remember that the downstairs lobby was originally painted a peach / cream color. Various viewers have described the particular tint and its twelve-year patina as “Silly Putty” (Phil), “Band-Aid” (me), and “Nipple” (Page Bond).

Since last the roller met the wall in 1996, the interior surface has become markedly scratched, dinged and smudged, so it was time (past time really) for Extreme Make-Over: Barksdale Edition.

The new color is a deep, dramatic crimson, serving as an elegant background for new photo displays enhanced by new track lighting. A good deal of clutter has been removed from the lobby. We’re creating new, more coordinated and informative interior signage, and constructing a new, comfortable seating area opposite the elevator.

The work was performed on a volunteer basis by Barksdale Board members (ably assisted by Emily Cole from our development staff). David Powers, our Tech Director at Hanover Tavern, is constructing the new seating. Many thanks to all those who made this renovation possible.

As you experience our spruced up digs, please let us know what you think. The theatre’s public spaces are always a work in progress, just as are our continually changing stage sets. We welcome your input, and look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

(Notes on photos: top right - today's view of the wall where our photo boards will go, the church bench will soon be replaced with other seating; top left - the new "etched" logo on our glass front doors, reflecting this morning's sunny parking lot; mid right - Pardon Our Dust; lower left - new lighting outside the box office window; lower right - our staging area in the atrium, the vintage Barksdale sign will soon be re-hung by the front door with a plaque explaining its history.)

--Bruce Miller


Jacquie said...

You must call John Glenn to get the full story of why the old tavern sign is in three pieces. I am fairly sure that someone important in the community hit it with their car right before we moved to Willow Lawn. Do you know the story Bruce?

We took it with us anyway because it was too valuable not too.

The lobby looks lovely! Can’t wait to see it in person.

Joy W. said...

It's beautiful! Very striking!
Break a leg on The Clean House!!

Robinitaface said...

Looks great! Love the red!