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The King and I

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Designed by Christopher Beeching

The False Proscenium is black with a band of red and gold surrounding it. The legs are 18ft flats, with top-ups from 16ft. For certain scenes, as indicated on the ground plans, an extra set of legs with half borders flies in. TWO further sets of black masking flats are provided. All backcloths are 17’6” x 38ft aprox. There is a Show Gauze of the same dimensions. Backing many of the scenes there are midnight blue, wool serge tabs, with metallic stars on them.

The Ship set consists of flattage which can be flown or braced. TWO sets of flown rigging/rope ladder are provided. The packing cases are forced perspective and in semi-relief. The capstan is trucked, as is the gangway unit. The flat representing the window section folds as indicated on the plans, so as to make the change out of this scene easier. The set is painted as if lit from these windows, which can be back-lit.

The centre section of the Interior Front Cloth (the section painted to represent curtains) is semi-translucent, and it is possible to back-light this thus giving a lighter feel to some Front Cloth scenes.

In The King’s Library, the US border ‘tenting’ is also semi-translucent. There is an extra border for the main backcloth for those venues that require more height. The first three sets of pillars each side are in semi-relief. The downstage set, with their border, flying in for certain scenes only. A table-top is provided for SL on which the globe, which is also provided, sits.

My intention design-wise with these first three scenes, is that we should move through from the very dark colours of the Ship, to the rich dark colours of the Interior Front Cloth, to the brighter yellow, golds and reds of the King’s Library. Used this way, timed correctly, and lit sensitively, the device is intended to be a ‘claptrap’. [Old theatre parlance for a moment intended to get a round of applause.]

For The Schoolroom the Bookcases and the King’s Dais are removed, the Centre Arch flown in, and the Map-Stand placed in position. The World Map is in a ‘Kabuki Bag’, within the top of the stand and only requires a pull on the tasseled rope hanging in front of it, to allow the map to roll down.

In Anna’s Room, the larger windows and the bed, which is provided, are on a truck. Also provided is the screen. The very DSL flat ideally should be flown. The slatting in the window openings will give opportunities for atmospheric lighting. There is a small table top in the corner of the main flats for a lamp [this lamp is not provided]. For Anna’s Room in Act II, the window curtains and furniture are stripped out during the interval.

For Act II Sc2, there is a split cut-cloth. The section on SR is of hanging leaves attached to netting, again giving ample opportunities for lighting.

In the Ballet sequence, the Blue Tabs open to reveal “Buddha” on his ‘ladder throne’, backed by a section of more dark blue star covered tab. For the Prologue to this section, the Interior Front Cloth should be used. The ‘Small House of Uncle Thomas’ is provided in the form of a flat which is designed to be supported by members of the cast.

For the night scenes within the main set there is a night version of the main backcloth.

A Floor cloth, which is painted as per this brochure is provided with the set. Also included is a Daybed (palanquin) for the King’s Death scene.


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