Slideshow: Oregon Ballet Theatre's the Body Beautiful
October 9, 2012
Seattle artist John Grade is using a previous installation sculpture (pictured here) as his model to construct trees out of Tyvek (a material more commonly used to “wrap” houses for insulation), plywood, and string.
Artist John Grade.
The trees are constructed from hundreds of individually cut, scored, folded, and glued strips of Tyvek, according to a complicated plan OBT calls the “DNA.” Each strip has a different configuration of small holes and tabs that determine where it should g
Grade working with OBT Board Member Sue Horn-Caskey to demonstrate how the strips will get folded and clamped together using office binder clips and glue stick.
First the strips are cut and scored, with small holes added and tabs cut out. Then they are folded on a special jig created for that purpose. Scene shop expert (and annual Nutcracker child wrangler) Shari Goss works with a volunteer to demonstrate the fo
The skeleton of rings that form the ribs of the trees.
Here Grade assists a volunteer who is assembling the final components that will make the very top of one of the completed trees.
The trees are perforated both to allow light in and to allow light to shine from within the tree outwards.
Several of the segments come together, showing how the folded Tyvek panels are glued together to form the rings of the tree.
Production involved one artist, one director of production, several alert technicians, and over 150 volunteers logging over 1600 volunteer hours. In addition to OBT's board, staff, and volunteer corps, volunteers came from the Portland Art Museum Docent
The build took 13 days, with shifts beginning at 9 am and running through 10 pm.
The trees begin to come together...
...as the result of hundreds of little Tyvek strips, pounds and pounds of glue stick, some plywood rings, and a lot of care.
Brian Simcoe (foreground), plays Narcissus, a boy who falls in love with his own reflections, played by Lucas Threefoot (background). Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert
Brian Simcoe (right) and Threefoot (left) as Narcissus and his reflection. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert
Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert
Xuan Cheng plays Echo, the mountain nymph who is cursed by Hera to only be able to repeat the words of others. She falls in love with Narcissus, but is spurned by him in favor of his reflection.
Finally, a dancer exploring one of the finished trees.
In concert with the museum's stunning exhibit, OBT creates a night of dance around myth and the human form, involving mammoth sculptural trees. Opens this weekend.