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My Fair Lady

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Designed By Christopher Beeching

The inspiration for the various decorative elements in the MY FAIR LADY designs – the floral motifs on the cloths, the ‘rolled down’ corner of a design, the top profiled edge of the STUDY set - all these came from an Edwardian Photo Album. From this same source material is borrowed the design idea for the False Proscenium.

The FALSE PROSCENIUM flats are 18’ high by 4’wide. The soft border is fully adjustable in width, using a centre overlap. The stage area should be masked out completely in Black legs and borders. [N.B. This masking is not provided with the set.] All Back-cloths are 17’6” x 36’ approx. The exceptions to this are the UPSTAIRS HALL BACKING at 30’ wide approx. and the PROMENADE GAUZE at 34’ wide approx.

For many of the exterior scenes there are 2 Trucked Towers, all four sides being used at different times and working in conjunction with the back-cloths. There is an extra flat which hooks onto the SL Tower for the opening scene.

Most scene changes in this MY FAIR LADY design are intended to be carried out ‘live’, that is with an appropriate change of light, and the audience watching the moves. Naturally this requires a little extra effort and rehearsal, but the effect is well worth it!

Act I Scene 1, OUTSIDE ST.PAUL'S CHURCH, COVENT GARDEN, consists of a back-cloth (with translucent portions), the 2 'Towers' and 2 half-¬round Columns flown on tracks, mounted on 10” high bases. [Should there not be enough room in your rig for these, flat canvas leg Columns can be supplied.] For the change to Act I Scene 2, TENEMENT SECTION, TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD, the half-round Columns are tracked to SR. The TOWERS [the SR one already having the “Seven Dials” pub sign slotted into its bracket on the Tower] are then turned to their correct positions for the scene, and the TENEMENT back-cloth flown in. When the Columns are in the wings, they are flown out with their tracks, not being needed for the rest of the show.

The STUDY set, comprises of 4 Trucks, which, given enough depth of stage, is best stored Up stage. To move from Act I Scene 2 to Scene 3, the TOWERS are trucked off-stage, the cloth flown and the STUDY set is moved D.S. into position. Crew [dressed as servants possibly – or indeed the Higgins’ Household Staff chorus members] bring on-stage the necessary furniture for the scene. 8 Crew would be needed to move the STUDY set D.S. and U.S. For best effect, the STUDY set should be backed by either Black Drapes [not provided] or the black back wall of the Venue.

The transitions from Act I Scene 3 to Scene 4 and Scene 5 are as above.

Act I Scene 6, NEAR ASCOT is a front-cloth. Behind this Scene 7, INSIDE A CLUB TENT, is set up with its cast tableau, waiting to be revealed. So that the original excitement of seeing the Black and White ASCOT costumes for the first time is re kindled [should they be being used] colours throughout the first scenes tend towards softer shades. When the ASCOT CLUB TENT scene is revealed with its vibrant reds, the effect is Theatrical and striking.

For Act I Scene 8, the WIMPOLE STREET back-cloth is flown in D.S. of the ASCOT Cut Cloth, and the S.L TOWER is trucked on with its treads attached. There is a handrail on the U.S. edge only of these treads.

The change to HIGGINS’ STUDY for Act I Scene 9 is as before, the TOWER exits, cloth flies, and the STUDY is moved D.S.

Act I Scene 10, THE PROMENADE OUTSIDE THE BALLROOM, is a gauze. From this there can be a “bleed-through” to the BALLROOM itself. For this scene two sizes of treads are available, as shown in the plans and the set-model photographs. The larger treads are constructed so that they stay as one unit in the wings [plus separate get-off truck]. The smaller treads breakdown into 3 units for off-stage storage.

Should your director wish, the change from the STUDY to the BALLROOM has been designed so that a direct transformation is possible. The BALLROOM treads "break through" between the door and window STUDY trucks whilst the set is struck, the back-cloth and drapes fly (or wipe) in, and the false perspective Chandelier flies in. Again, more rehearsal is needed to achieve this effect, but the result is extremely worthwhile! In this case the PROMENADE scene would be played in the BALLROOM set.

Act II Scene 1 sees the STUDY pre-set. The change to OUTSIDE HIGGINS’ HOUSE is as before. During this scene, THE FLOWER MARKET is set up-stage of the cloth, the SL TOWER being moved into position after the cloth has been flown out. The SL TOWER has a pub sign – “The Coal Hole”.

For Act II Scene 4, THE UPSTAIRS HALL OF HIGGINS’ HOUSE, the SL TOWER is struck, and the Cut-cloth and Back-cloth flown in down-stage of the FLOWER MARKET cloths. During Scene 4, the CONSERVATORY back-cloth is flown in up-stage. Furniture being set as the UPSTAIRS HALL cloths fly out.

Act II Scene 6, WIMPOLE STREET, sees the furniture struck and the S.L TOWER trucked as before.

The final scene, Scene 7 returns to HIGGINS STUDY as in other changes.

Should you have any queries about the set, please do not hesitate to contact PROSCENEIUM.


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