12 Chairs and 2 Actors = 1 Enjoyable Play

 

I saw a play last weekend that I’d like to recommend.  It’s called 12 Chairs (not to be confused with the Russian story with a similar name), and it’s playing at Buttonwood Studios  in the Callowhill or Loft District just north of Chinatown.

12 Chairs, a one-act play written by John O’Hara, tells the story of  daughter Louise and her mother Ann from the time Louise is seven years old until Ann dies in a nursing home years later.  While there is nothing extraordinary about these women’s lives, the play manages to be compelling, heartrending and humorous.  The script is tightly written, the direction is expertly paced and the acting is a real treat.

1220chairs20theatre20philadelphia

The two actors who make up the cast, Marcia Ferguson and Amanda Schoonover take on an additional ten roles between them (besides the mother and daughter).  Using a minimum of costumes and props, they bring the additional characters to life with their acting skill.  And they are very skilled.

The set consists of 12 folding chairs on a low proscenium a few feet in front of the audience, and nothing more.  The actors make the story come to life.

You still have time to see this production of 12 Chairs which has three performances left.  You can buy tickets HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Opera on the Mall and Bok Party

Lots going on in Philadelphia arts-wise last weekend.  First up was Opera on the Mall a broadcast of La bohème in front of Independence Hall  Opera Philadelphia.  The event  kicked off to their Festival 019.

Two Screens
Plenty of room to stretch out, two screens and great sound.

CheckInWasEasy
Check in ran smoothly
TheCrowd
Some people brought their dogs.  I am sure there are Canine opera lovers.

 

FoodTrucks
Lots of food trucks

FamiliesEncouraged
And activities for non-opera lovers

 

OpeningScene
Act I begins.

 

BugRepellantAnkletsJustInCase
Bug repelling ankle bracelets just in case.

 

The next day was the family day block party at the Bok Building.

Glory Hole on9th Street!
Glass blowing on South 9th Street

Pottery2

Pottery
Pottery for the kids who could have their finished product fired and mailed to them.

 

OutsideBok

InsideBokDrawings

No block party iscompletewithoutone
No block party is complete without a bouncy house!

 

 

Fleisher 121st Annual Faculty Exhibition

exhibit

I’ve started a new semester at the Fleisher Art Memorial but can’t do much in the pottery studio because of my hand (surgery next month).  But I went there today anyway  to check out the 121st (yes, you read that right) Annual Faculty Exhibition which is in full swing  and will be open for another week.  Here are some highlights from the show.

Bermudez
Henry Bermudez The Girl
TheGirlDetail
Detail

 

Budayev
Aleksandr Budayev Two Figure Drawing
Stirton-Broad
Carol Stirton-Broad  Dashes and Dots
Woods
Joni Woods Shuttle
Brett Lukens
Emily Brett Lukens Near or Far

 

There are many other fine works in the show which closes on September 21, 2019.    Don’t miss it if you are in South Philadelphia.

Cheap and Easy Photography Studio

And I really mean cheap and easy.  OK, not free.   I did have to buy some plastic place mats on Amazon. But I got 12 for $18.00 which leaves plenty left over to use as place mats and as traveling work surfaces for polymer.  That, packing tape and white card  stock which I had (you could use printer paper too) and I was all set.

1PlasticPlacemats

I have one of those cloth photo tents like this one  and they are great for taking pictures of vases and bigger items.    But it’s big and unwieldy in my studio and I actually had to watch a video on how to fold it and get it back into its storage bag.    I wanted a smaller photo cube for jewelry and similarly sized items.   I could have bought something, but could not find the size I wanted.  It seems like these things come in two sizes:  tiny and enormous.

That meant making one.  I didn’t want to have to buy special paper.  I didn’t want to have to find the right size box and saw the sides out of it.  When I was finished taking pictures,  I wanted to stow the box in a drawer or on a bookshelf.  So here’s what I came up with:

2Placemat photo setupHere’s the photo setup.  I cut the place mats to size with scissors and used packing tape to make this triptych-like screen.  4open

Here’s the set up with white paper behind the triptych under it.  You can use paper and the other mats to make any kind of configuration you like.  Just tape them together.  You can put the lights anywhere to get the effect you want.  The light I am using here is nothing fancy.  It’s an LED desk lamp I bought at Five Below and it uses three AA batteries which means you can move it anywhere and not be fighting with wires.  You can get something similar on Amazon here.  Don’t pay more than $5.00 per lamp.  They’re great for traveling to which is why I originally bought them.   And don’t think you need to buy  lights if you already have something you can use.

 

So, how do the pictures look?  Let’s see.

Shooting Earrings

Here’s a setup to shoot a pair of bronze clay earrings suspended on a piece of floral wire.

The image on the left is unlit.  I used the lamp on the image on the right.  I didn’t use any photo editing software.

Here are the same images Gimped.  Click on the images a couple of times to view them full size.  Gimp is a free open-source image editor that I have used for years.  It can do anything you want.  Did I mention that it’s free?

3Folded up

This is the photo studio folded up and ready to be put away.  It hardly takes up any room at all.  If you need something bigger,  just tape on another mat or two.  If you want something smaller, cut one down.

Here’s another idea.  The plastic drawers in this storage unit are also made of translucent plastic.  Before I started using the place mats,  I got some pretty good shots using empty drawers. Plastic drawers

1Tassel on box

Here’s a tassel I laid on one of the empty drawers.  You don’t have use a place mat on the drawer like I did; simply turn it over if the underside is free from markings.  You can try putting your small, battery-operated lamps inside or outside the drawer.  Experiment.

 

2Tassel on Box closeup

Here’s a shot of the tassel with some light from the battery-operated lamp.  Not too bad.  One of the great things about these photo setups is that they are small and cheap enough to take outside into the natural light where you should be able to get some pretty good results.  Experiment!  And don’t forget to have fun.