About this time last year, I had the opportunity to design a new stage for the Annoyance theatre in Chicago. They use this stage for 14+ shows per week that include improv, sketch comedy, musicals and plays. It's been so amazing seeing shows like 'Swear Jar' and 'Co-Ed Prison Sluts' performed on it. Even 'Splatter Theatre' where they painted it completely white and by the end it was covered in blood- caddy and awesome!
Typically, a run-of-the-mill improv stage has a door and a window to maximize "play" opportunities. The final build above does not have a window, but of course, can be added later if they miss it. This wasn't the entire design. There were two columns of three windows each that would have stairs /ladder behind so that the players could utilize all three- inspiration for this idea was the scene from Wizard of Oz where they finally reach Oz and they're being asked for a password... looks fun with one, why not three? Here were the concepts for that.
Along with the window columns, there were the "kitten ears". These platforms were lower than the stage and would reach out into the audience. Ultimately, we didn't do these 'ears' due to taking up seating space although it would've been awesome (especially for the musicals!). Here were the concepts as well as how they could be hidden (which- looking back- may have been harder to make stable and safe).
I enjoyed working with everyone over at the Annoyance and continued throughout 2010 interning in exchange for improv classes. I'm pretty glad that these two things weren't built, though I was looking forward to painting the honker logo on the front but they've always had stairs there.
Aside from designing the stage, I also had the opportunity to work on their Christmas pageant helping with props and wardrobe for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "A Year Without A Santa Claus". The crew, cast, and director were wonderful and talented. I look forward to the great things that they will go off and do!