Building Junk City, Part Two

by Esther Emery

This is the third installment in a weekly series on our rehearsal process for THE LISTENER, by Liz Duffy Adams, the next and final offering in MOXIE Theatre’s season three.  Also see The Rules of the Game and Building Junk City.

Our scenery load in starts in five days.  On Monday, we’ll load Junk City onto a rental truck.  On Tuesday, we’ll unload it into the Lyceum Space theatre and start putting the pieces together.  I stopped by the shop to see how the magicians of MOXIE are getting us ready for the move. 

That’s Amy Chini, our scenic designer, on the left.  She’s working on making our plastic-grocery-bag rope look like it has been in existence for more than a couple of weeks.  Standing is Delicia, who has just come from negotiating the rental contract and is now getting ready to spray paint some junk. 

Want to know who lives on the other side of that fence?  Click here.

Seriously.  Here it is again.

This workspace has character.

The yard and shop are rented and maintained by three of the most interesting carpenters in town.  When Dave Berzansky isn’t playing his pedal steel guitar for The Hacienda Brothers, he makes quality metal planter boxes.  Rogelio Rosales is a custom furniture man, between building scenery for the Welk Resort Theatre and riding down Bachman Place on his bike in total darkness.  And the third one?  Is my husband.  Nick Fouch just this week went from full-time freelance to full-time Technical Director (TD) over at Cygnet Theatre.  He also has ridden his bike down Bachman Place.

Rogelio and Nick are splitting TD responsibilities for The Listener.  Rogelio built the structures (those wooden platforms that we hope only you, the educated, will notice supporting the layers of futuristic junk.) And today Nick is working on the specialty pieces: a ceremonial chair for Namer, the keeper of intellectual order, and Listener’s mysterious machine.

Meanwhile, scenic designer Amy Chini is working on junk.  And the junk has come a long way since it left my recycling bin.  Here’s the original pile, before sorting.

Here’s the “as is” junk, headed without alteration into the 27th century:

The spaceship junk (spray-painted bottles and cans):

And my favorite, the rusted metal junk:

I think that’s my egg carton.

Shopping list: 100 square feet of chicken wire and 1000 zip ties.

We have ten hours to put Junk City together in the theatre before we start rehearsing on it.  (I’m sure of that because I just edited the tech schedule, lest you think that blogging is the only thing I do around here.)  That means our junk needs to move as efficiently as possible.  When they’re done painting, Amy and Delicia start using the plastic zip ties to attach bottles and cans to the chicken wire, creating what they call “junk blankets.”  I ask why we’re doing this.

Nick answers, “To defy gravity.”

Um, cool.  But it turns out to be less sci-fi than it sounds.

“They’ll stretch between structures, so we can turn a wall into a heap without filling it in from underneath.  And they’ll save us time during load-in, so we don’t have to place each individual piece of junk.”

But someone is placing each individual piece.  I leave Amy and Delicia stitching together a giant junk quilt.

For more of Amy Chini’s cool art and designs, check out her web shop.