No doubt many BLT News Blog readers have been wondering whatever happened to BLT’s car?When last we heard about it, the poor thing was in the process of being rescued from a blackberry patch in north Burien. Intended to be part of the set for our production of Jesus Christ Superstar, there only remained the task of moving the car and setting it into place.
Or so we volunteers naively thought.
Matt Gendreau and his business JunkThatCar.net lent us a tow truck to bring the car off the hill it was on, and tow it to the theatre:
Luckily, there were quite a few of us working on the set and fixing the theatre seats at the time. Pulling the car into the theatre took quite a few of us, even with the dollies placed under its wheels:
Still, after a whole lot of pulling, pushing, tugging, and cursing, we managed to drag the thing into position, where director Steve Cooper, set designer Nathan Rodda, and set construction tech Russ Kay discussed the task ahead of them:
As these photos shows, there was very little of value left in the car. While Ford Fiestas were never the most extravagantly equipped vehicles on America’s roads, this one was especially empty. The engine and interior of the vehicle had been removed already. This was fine for our purposes, of course. In our post-apocalyptic world, just about anything of value would have been removed and used long ago.
Of course, the next task was to pull all the junk and plants off the car and clean it. The car might be set in a post-apocalyptic future, but it was a future of our creation, not the random effects of actual wear and abuse. Here’s how the car looked a few days later, cleaned and in position:
It was looking better than it had in a long time, but the poor little Fiesta was about to suffer more indignities. After all, no star of theatre can go on without makeup.
Nathan used erosion cloth to simulate plant growth over the vehicle. Up close it’s not convincing, but he wasn’t done yet, and it already looks better from the distance an audience would see it.
Then Nathan applied coats of brown and reddish paint until it looked like it had been sitting outdoors for a century or two:
This is one of the reasons the car was still on its dollies. It’s a lot easier to prepare a piece like this when it can be moved. Finally, with its paint finished, the car was pushed back into place and removed from the dollies.
The car was placed on wood blocks so that it looks like settling had occurred underneath it. After decades of being in the same place, that’s going to happen.
One final touch was added by stage manager Sharon Adler and props manager Cyndi Baumgardner – smashing the headlamps to simulate the effects of decades of abuse and weathering:
All that was left was for Cyndi and Nathan to add some fake vines, and some fake ground cover:
and our star set decoration is ready for her debut.
UPDATE: As this article “went to press”, I didn’t know the identity of the person who lent us the tow truck. I’ve been informed that person was Matt Gendreau of JunkThatCar.net . The car, not coincidentally, was also donated to us for the run of the show by Matt’s business. Thanks for the assist, Matt. We couldn’t have done it without you.