Transforming Productions Design and special services
Design is the most crucial part of the presentation. Coming from a theatrical background helps to transform any occasion into an event, and any event into an epic experience. The elements of the room should immerse the attendees in the theme and pull focus to the product, presenter, or luminary. Balance, timing and movement of scenic elements, people, lights and sound all move focus around the room from the moment the attendees enter, thru the presentation, and afterwards toward their exit.
We work with a large group of scenic shops, costume shops, make-up and prosthetic fx shops, special FX teams, and high end equipment houses to provide everything from one special element to anything that your budget allows. Coming from a long stint with non-profits we have done so much with so little for so long that we are now able to do a lot with a little, or with a lot stay in budget and spend it in the most efficient way.
Carmina Burana at Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
For this show Orlando Ballet collaborated with The Bach Festival Society Choir and orchestra. We needed to fit two hundred choral singers upstage, sixty five orchestra members in the pit, and the entire Orlando Ballet company onstage between. Robert Hill wanted a two story structure so I had to design a system of normal risers on the deck up to a two story truss structure to hold them.
Epic does not begin to describe it.
Coppelia at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
For the most recent presentation of Orlando Ballet’s Coppelia the backdrops were still beautiful, but the houses were an older design with multiple repairs, and had not stood up favorably to the changing temperatures of the Florida weather in the warehouse, or as we call it “Air soup”. Larry Rayburn designed the two downstage houses to fit seamlessly with the style of the drops. Canavan Scenic & Light built them to precision and Rebecca Pancoast brilliantly painted them.
Coppelia at the Garden Theater
Larry also designed the backdrop for the presentation of Coppelia at the Garden Theatre in downtown Winter Garden. This design was taken from an extensive search of houses from the period and region of the original story. Because of the significantly smaller stage Larry designed it to look like a town center without the onstage houses. Eddie Frank Fernandez sewed the seamless drop to size. Bill Langford loaned the ballet enough wooden decks to line the floor of the warehouse. Rebecca Pancoast stapled the cloth to decks to stretch it for painting. The process took over a week with numerous layers of paint. Rebecca again did an amazing job of painting. The end result was visually stunning.
Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel was a fun design for Larry. The candy treatments and icing dripping from the marshmallow roof was the bait on the good side. The back side interior had an ominous, rustic dirt mixed with blood red, and the back of the candy door looked like a satin lined coffin lid. A simple turn of the cart and the children were taken from delight to fright. It was not too scary since it was for a family audience. Other elements included backdrops from Mid Summer Nights Dream forest, and an easy bake oven made for cooking children, but spoiler alert it was big enough to hold a Witch played by a danseur. The paint on both were done by our at the time Facilities Maintenance man Fernando Gonzalez.
The oven was a fun project. Larry also designed it and our late friend Kevin Purdy made both in the Ballet shop. The wood structure was covered with two inch Styrofoam and hand carved out by Larry with a hot knife before being painted to give age and even more shadow. The doors were functional with a landing deck behind. The landing area was masked with duvatine so that the children foiling her plans for baked kiddies could push the witch in and escape. A fog machine and a series of smoke channels sent the smoke up thru the chimney and clouds of smoke poured out of the doors each time that the witch opened them. The fog machine was a twenty-dollar Halloween store buy and worked for a minute then had to rest a minute. Not always the minute needed for production timing, but the audience never knew the operators frustration.
Vampire’s Ball at Bob Carr Performing Arts Center
More of Larry’s favorite designs were for Vampire’s Ball. This was an original ballet conceived and Choreographed by Robert Hill. It was presented three different times over four years and each time Larry added to the design. In the final presentation he added the Grand Ballroom mirror, which was one of the most rewarding pieces to design. Taken totally from original sketches and brought to life by Rebecca Pancoast with wood, foam, and special treatments. It became a beautiful addition to the overhead pieces.
The next rewarding piece was a true to life scale pipe organ. Larry scoured the Internet for the perfect look. In the midst of designing he realized that the Vampire would be standing at the organ where you would traditionally sit. He had to find a pipe organ in person to make sure that the placement of the keys would work since he had to leave out the foot pedals. He got permission to view the pipe organ at St James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, and in a fortuitous surprise was presented with the exact organ that he had chosen from a random chapel on the Internet. The keyboards he used were Casio, and Yamaha toys from thrift stores, and the pipes made of carpet tubes collected from several gracious sources including Freeman Orlando. It was also built by our late friend Kevin Purdy
SFO Orlando Pow Wow at Hyatt Regency Hotel
The San Francisco Board of Tourism design by Larry was a Trade Show private party. This design was all encompassing. The entrance unit and the bar wraps were made with milk Plexiglas and backed with color changing LED’s and topped with header graphics. The stage area was lit by Tim Eggers of 25 Lights and featured a DJ, band, and runway complete with landing lights. The DJ was in a mock control tower set next to the stage with an angular top and warning beacon on top. This design was built by Larry mostly with the help of Frank Sleeman in shop Mike Edling had at the time. The control tower and runway sides were made of panels covered with brushed aluminum.
Giselle at Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
The newest presentation of Giselle by the Orlando Ballet was Larry’s last design before moving on. Coincidentally it was his first show five years before when he took over the position with only three weeks before the main stage production. At that time it was presented from stock scenery from the warehouse. This time Larry got the chance to redesign the downstage houses. Again Canavan Scenic & Light provided the building services for a heavily discounted charge. Richard Dean who is an excellent costume designer and prop artist did all the finish work using Vacuform pieces Larry purchased from a web company. Richard is now the ballet Production Assistant. Eddie Frank Fernandez their Costume Director is a world class sculptor and brilliant artist. In his spare time preparing the wardrobe for the show he applied his brilliant painting skills and brought the houses to life.