12 Me Booming a Scene

Crewing on Mikael Kreuzriegler’s New Film, Ibsen’s HEDDA GABLER

This time the film is Mikael’s modernized version of Hedda Gabler.  First published in 1890, Hedda Gabler is a play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, who also penned Peer Gynt, A Doll’s House, and Ghosts, to name a few.  Ibsen, often referred to as “the father of realism,” is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre.  After Shakespeare, his dramas are the most performed works is the world.  James Joyce was such a fan of Ibsen’s work that he tried to learn Norwegian so he could read the plays in their original form to better understand the untranslatable wordplay that Ibsen is known for.

As if the material wasn’t reason enough to be eager to work on this film, it was also a chance to work with some of my LMU friends.  On this set, I had the opportunity to work with many of the same people from last summer’s film as well as a few new people.  Among the familiar faces were actors Kris Park and Laura Long who starred in last summer’s production of The Gods of Garbage.  Kris plays Eric Lowenthal and Laura is in the role of Thea.  Starring as Hedda is Kate MacCluggage, with Deiterich Gray as Hedda’s husband George, Sarah Benoit as George’s Mother, and Darin Cooper as Brack.

I was on the Grip and Electric Team for Hedda Gabler, which meant my responsibilities were specifically related to the lighting equipment.  I even got my first battle wound on this set.  I was rigging a light which hung from the greens (catwalk above the set) and got a very minor burn while trying to lock the barn doors on with a safety chain.  When we were shorthanded on crew, there was a lot of swinging (doing multiple jobs on set) going on.  A few days, due to a shortage of sound guys, I operated the boom mic which made me very glad to have participated in that workshop with Oscar-winning sound engineer David Macmillan when I was a freshman, because he showed us how to properly hold and maneuver a boom mic.  I was also used quite often as a stand-in while the lighting was set because I was the same height and had the same complexion as the lead actress.

Crew members were sometimes used as extras and I had the chance to be directed by Mikael and appear in the film as an extra; I’m one of the construction workers in the house at the beginning of the movie.   Hedda Gabler, like The Gods of Garbage, was shot on a RED.  Most of the film was shot on one large set that took up the whole soundstage.  It was three rooms of an almost fully furnished house that was being renovated.  Because the house in the story was meant to look as though it was under construction, it was a little hard to tell when the set was actually finished.  The furniture was designed to be moved around easily and, by rearranging things, we often made one room look like another.

Below are several pictures taken during the filming of Hedda Gabler.  Working on this film was a highlight of my summer and I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished project.  Stay tuned for more information and a look at the trailer as soon as it’s available.

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