CenterPoint behind the scenes – the Scene ShopSep 07, 2023 03:09PM ● By Braden Nelsen
Organized chaos is the norm for any theater scene shop, with set pieces old, and new adorning the floor and walls. Photo by Braden Nelsen
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series that takes a look behind the scenes of what it takes to make a CenterPoint Theatre production.
CENTERVILLE—There are few places with a more varied visual landscape than a theatrical scene shop. Just walking around, the average visitor will be able to see snatches of scenes from dozens of different shows, past, present, and future, all made to be sturdy, and reliable, but extremely temporary.
It’s a constant cycle of getting designs, building elements in the shop, constructing the set on stage, then, likely starting on the next show before tearing down the set, and starting it all over again. Most patrons of the theater only ever see the finished product, amazing environments in which the actors present their craft, but there’s always more work that goes into these sets than perhaps meets the eye.
Truxton Moulton, shop foreman, and assistant technical director at CenterPoint Theatre oversees much of the work that goes on at the scene shop for the theater. Together with Silas Stott, the two do the bulk of scenic construction at CenterPoint, utilizing many different materials and techniques to bring these different sets to life.
“I love this job: people ask for things, and we get to make it happen,” said Stott, showing off one of their newest set pieces: a window seat with actual working rain on the outside of the window. With only a matter of days from the closing of one show to the opening of the next, both Stott and Moulton are constantly working on something.
That’s where experience really pays off. Truxton Moulton, who has worked at outstanding theaters like the Pioneer in Salt Lake, and most recently Tuacahn down south brought years of expertise to his role at CenterPoint. “I’ve picked up tricks and trades from all sorts of places,” said Moulton, in talking about some amazing practical effects for their most recent show, “Something Rotten.”
In addition to the constant building and striking (tearing down of a set following the run of a performance), Stott and Moulton are also working on improvements to the theater itself, including the Leishman Hall Black Box theater, which will soon offer more seating, and a functional turntable, converting the space into a thrust-style theater.
More than anything, however, Moulton hopes that people come to CenterPoint, and see in the set and construction, “The ingenuity of it all. There’s a lot of creativity and thought that goes behind (the set).” While the growth of the theater can be a daunting task, both Moulton and Stott expressed just how excited they both were for the future of CenterPoint, and to see what comes next in the world of scenic design, and construction.