Behind the Scenes of If We Were Birds  I  Sault Ste. Marie  I  In Your Eyes Projects 

Behind the Scenes of IF WE WERE BIRDS

The success of most theatrical productions is cultivated weeks and even months before the actual performance. While actors spend weeks exploring and discovering character and the fictional world they inhabit, others spend countless hours behind the scenes creating that fictional world. 

Erin Shields' award-winning play, IF WE WERE BIRDS takes place in a world that marries ancient myth with the stark realities of 20th Century conflict to explore themes regarding violence against women. The story unfolds in an expressionistic manner inviting a furious imagination to be on display when taking the words from the page to the stage.

Below are photos of those working behind the scenes to bring IYE's production of IF WE WERE BIRDS to the historic Shingwauk Auditorium at Algoma University.

Sculpture designed and created by Michael Burtch for In Your Eyes Projects presentation of Erin Shields' If We Were Birds
Sculpture designed and created by Michael Burtch for In Your Eyes Projects presentation of Erin Shields' If We Were Birds
Sculpture designed and created by Michael Burtch for In Your Eyes Projects presentation of Erin Shields' If We Were Birds

Michael Burtch, producer, scenic and sound designer for IF WE WERE BIRDS has created several sculptures for the production that are central to his scenic design for the production. The sculptures for our production were created from casts made from a polyurethane mold. The mold was twisted and contorted to represent human suffering and then cast in acrylic resin so that light could shine through. Their forms, upside down, are a spectral human presences suggestive of trees or birds in states of metamorphosis. These photos were taken while experimenting with the possible lighting choices available.  Lighting the sculptures and designing the lighting for the production is in the capable hands of Rob Rock.

Dan Nystedt flame staining wood for If We Were Birds, In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie
Dan Nystedt flame staining wood for If We Were Birds, In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie
Dan Nystedt flame staining wood for If We Were Birds, In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie
Dan Nystedt flame staining wood for If We Were Birds, In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie

Pictured above is Dan Nystedt (aka King Tereus) fire staining wooden crates that will be used by the performers throughout the production of IF WE WERE BIRDS.  He has also built wooden boxes that will house the lighting fixtures supporting the sculptures designed by Michael Burtch.

Shaping Dagger Blade, Dan Nystedt behind the scenes of In Your Eyes' production of IF WE WERE BIRDS.
Sword Handle Pieces, Dan Nystedt behind the scenes of In Your Eyes' production of IF WE WERE BIRDS.
Sizing sword pieces, Dan Nystedt behind the scenes of In Your Eyes' production of IF WE WERE BIRDS.
Dagger in process of being made.

Pictured above, Dan is meticulously working with various materials in order to fashion the weaponry needed for the production. In these pictures he is shaping the copper dagger, sizing sword pieces and working with the sword handle. The dagger is made out of copper & brass and the handle is a spruce cone in resin that was shaped on a lathe.  The finishing touches will include texturing the blade and giving it an aged patina.

Michael Burtch creating masks for In Your Eyes Projects presentation of Erin Shields' If We Were Birds
Michael Burtch creating masks for In Your Eyes Projects presentation of Erin Shields' If We Were Birds
Michael Burtch creating masks for In Your Eyes Projects presentation of Erin Shields' If We Were Birds
Michael Burtch creating masks for In Your Eyes Projects presentation of Erin Shields' If We Were Birds
Michael Burtch creating masks for In Your Eyes Projects presentation of Erin Shields' If We Were Birds

Pictured above is Michael Burtch creating theatrical masks specifically designed for this production.   The bird masks, created with Gordon Burke under his expert tutelage, are formed by creating clay slabs that are draped and formed over a rough form. They will be 'bisque' fired to allow us to paint and decorate them to suit the play and individuals wearing them. “If we were birds he would disappear below as the wind caught our wings like sails. Up up up we’d go, into clouds where our hearts could beat as loudly as they are.”

Masks in the kiln. In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie

Masks in the kiln. Another step closer before they

become stage ready.

Dan Nystedt painting, In Your Eyes Projects, Theatre in Sault Ste. Marie
Dan Nystedt painting, In Your Eyes Projects, Theatre in Sault Ste. Marie
Dan Nystedt painting, In Your Eyes Projects, Theatre in Sault Ste. Marie

Dan Nystedt channeling both Rothko and Pollock

in order to create a backdrop for IF WE WERE BIRDS.

IYE's production of IF WE WERE BIRDS begins their move into the historic Shingwauk Auditorium at Algoma University.

Scenic Design for IF WE WERE BIRDS, In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Scenic Design for IF WE WERE BIRDS, In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Scenic Design for IF WE WERE BIRDS, In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Scenic Design for IF WE WERE BIRDS, In Your Eyes Projects, theatre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario