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Shows, Interrupted: Block Party 2020

Go into our Costume & Prop Shop and Behind the Scenes of Two Productions Halted by COVID-19

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Resident Assistant Costume Designer Kat Patterson working at The Shop on the Ear for “The Art Couple.”

Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

Two of the most vibrant and wonderful spaces at Center Theatre Group rarely come into view for our audience members but are crucial to the art we put onstage: our costume and prop shop and warehouse in Boyle Heights (known as “The Shop”) and the backstage areas at our venues. These spaces are at their busiest and most exciting when they’re filled with members of our talented and hard-working Production department in the weeks leading up to a show (or shows’, as is often the case) opening.

Late February and early March found them deep in preparations for Block Party, our annual celebration of Los Angeles theatre. This year we were planning to remount Sacred Fools Theater Company’s The Art Couple, about Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin’s ill-fated co-habitation in the south of France, and IAMA Theatre Company’s Canyon, about a crisis that erupts for a young married couple and the Mexican father and son who work for them.

It seemed like the perfect time for one of our long-time subscribers, photographer and author/editor Sara Jane Boyers, to photograph The Shop and our backstage preparations at the Douglas just before Block Party began for a fine art exhibition and book project.

None of us knew just how poignant those images would be in the weeks and months that followed, as the state mandated we cancel all current and upcoming productions just days before The Art Couple was to begin performances. As we find new ways to come together virtually and ensure that #ArtGoesOn, we’re sharing a few of Sara Jane’s photographs with you to celebrate the work that went into these productions, the people of our community who make the theatre magic happen (and will again!), and the hilarity of a human-size dancing ear (belonging, of course, to Vincent van Gogh) that would and should have brought many moments of joy and laughter to the Douglas this spring.

Props at The Shop awaiting load-in at the Douglas for “The Art Couple.” Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

Costumes for “The Art Couple.” Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

Wigs, facial hair, and hats for “The Art Couple.” Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

Painting the “Canyon” set at The Shop. Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

The sketch by Resident Assistant Costume Designer Kat Patterson that will eventually become a larger-than-life-size version of Vincent Van Gogh’s ear for “The Art Couple.” Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

Patterson working on the foam structure of the ear. Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

The finished ear! Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

The plans for “The Art Couple” as they are about to be executed by Production. Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

The crew installs the set and props for “The Art Couple.” Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

Our crew sets up the lights and preps the stage for “The Art Couple” at the Douglas. Photo by Sara Jane Boyers.

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