Tommy Arthur Dirks
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Music & Lyrics by Pete Townshend
Book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff

Produced: October, 2000
Bridgewater State College
Director: Stephen Levine
Scenery: Arthur Dirks
Facility: Campus Center Auditorium


I think I did four complete drafted design ground plans and sketches for this show before one hit all the things the director wanted to do. I started thinking seriously about CAD.

The design included two large rear projection screens (with projection towers behind), two levels right and up right with a multiple-approach center stair and a small pie-tread stair down right, a kitchen set that slid out from under on a teflon pallette, a working door that slid out down right to establish an exterior to the house, a wardrobe unit that flew in with a partially silvered mirror on which cracks could appear (from a gobo), a car front, a second 2-level playing space down left, and an opening wide enough to run in pinball machines and crowds of people. All structure was painted black.

We built two pinball machines and borrowed a couple from an amusement vendor (properly accounted for to the state gaming commission). The orchestra was in another room (our shop behind the stage) playing from a video feed. It allowed them to play loud and still be under control of the audio desk.

One of my early sketches made the entire stage a pinball machine, but the director wanted simple (with projections). I don't know how we would have built it.

The director Americanized the script, setting it in New Jersey and related to the Viet Nam war. It worked, but reviewers were not comfortable with it. The show also was presented at the Region I American College Theater Festival in January 2001, in Dover, N.H.

Tommy Tommy
Tommy First design sketch
First design sketch
Tommy design sketch
Near-final design rough

All original content © 2007 copyright Arthur L. Dirks