Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Apocalypse of John- Meet the Artists

The Serious Theatre Collective has formed a special contract with acclaimed Philadelphia Artists Ursula and Norman Stuby to create masks, puppets, and additional surprises for the Apocalypse of John.

These hand made art pieces have been loving crafted by Ursula and Norm to be ridden hard and put away wet by the cast for your entertainment!

Critics agree, the masks, puppets, and set items created by the Stubys are nothing short of awesome:

"...the show is a riot of zippy one-liners and laugh-out-loud set pieces..." —TimeOut NY

"...Excellent masks and puppets by Ursula and Norm Stuby are effectively used when the four horsemen of the apocalypse, aliens intent on Earth’s annihilation, and flesh-hungry zombies are introduced..." —Nytheatre.com

"...the titular burnout must weather no fewer than six global cataclysms—zombies, aliens, plague, nukes, storms, and the devil—all skillfully rendered by prop, puppet, and mask designers Ursula and Norm Stuby." —Backstage

Behind the Scenes Interview with Norm & Ursula!

Making awesome props and masks in five questions....

1. Hi Ursula and Norm. Thanks for doing the interview. Just to let our audience know a little bit about who you are, who are you? What do you do in Philly?

N: We both work in arts related jobs, but generally don't get to be creative at work. Ursula works for a public art exhibitions program installing the work of local artists and institutions. I work in a shop that does small scale commercial sculpture (toys, xmas ornaments, occasional internal organs of the body).  We like to make things on the side that we can really sink our creative teeth into.

U: Norm said it. I love being challenged to solve art problems.

2. How did you guys get your start in art/theater/prop-making/things that look good?

N: I majored in sculpture in college, and went on to working in a few scenic and exhibit shops in the city before landing where I am now. It's really my need to make things combined with my love of all of the detail that makes movies (even really bad movies, which I love) interesting and fun to watch.  Doing props for the theater is sort of a different animal because there are no close-ups in theatre and everything has to be big and bold.

U: I studied Art History, but have never stopped making things since kindergarten.  I enjoy learning new mediums and techniques. The challenge to make props that looked good while being functional was great.

3. And you're husband and wife? What 's it like to collaborate creatively with the One you love?

N: It generally works out well because when one of us hits a wall, the other one is there to pick up a sledgehammer.

U: Working together on art is some of our happiest times.  We like being a team.

4. Reviews have celebrated the props and design of the show. What inspired you in making these items? What was one of the most fun and/or challenging pieces?

N:They're all fun... we both love Halloween, mythology and sci-fi, so the subject matter is perfectly suited to our interests. The masks were took some trial and error with the papier mache, but turned out to be really good.  The nuclear bombs were probably the most challenging, as shadow puppetry is tricky when the puppet, scrim, and light source all have to be hand-held by one person.  We agree that they turned out much better the second time around with the color images of the mushroom clouds painted on the back of less translucent material.

U: I really enjoyed painting Blackstock's portrait.  It had been a while since I did an acrylic painting and I had forgotten how relaxing that sort of painting is.

5. What's up next for you guys as artists?

N: Hopefully somebody will see this play who is working on a sci-fi B movie and decide that spending 60% of thier budget on props made by me will make their movie 85% better.

U: I want to make some masks for myself, do some more painting, design us a set of dishes, finish my quilt and the list goes on. 

Below are exclusive behind the scenes photos of the making of just a few of masks and props featured in our show.

Don't forget to purchase your tickets here to see us lovingly destroy these works of art!

BONUS FEATURE: See more work from Norm Stuby

Cutting lightening bolts from foam core.
FUN FACT: foam core is utterly flammable and therefore prohibited for use on stage. Ursula and Norm have since reconstructed all props that could potentially burst into flame whilst we are performing! You're welcome, Audience!

In it's finishing stages- the Pestilence horsemen mask.

Creating the Death Horseman Mask.
Sowing Nuclear Explosion scrims in the studio.

Creating our very own Nuclear Bombs.


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