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The Making of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH: The Set

May 27, 2014

The title itself is a bit of a spoiler. It’s not James and the Big Peach or James and the Pretty Large Peach. It’s James and the Giant Peach! Right there, that tells you that something giant has to appear on stage.

Dome and coverThe stage directions in the script suggest that a spotlight can be used for the peach. Some theaters have painted a peach onto flats (“flats” are the wall pieces, often 4′ x 8′, that are standard use in theater set design) or they have cut out a large circle to represent the peach. But director David Sousa wanted more—he wanted a giant peach on stage, one that the characters in the story could actually enter.

Using models found online for dome construction and dome cover calculators, David designed and built NBYT’s giant peach. There were plenty of challenges and limitations—and we’re certainly not going to fool anyone into thinking that it’s an actual giant fruit onstage—but we hope that it will be impressive.

Here are some facts about our giant peach:

  • The peach is 8 feet high and 16 feet in diameter
  • It is constructed from 329 feet of PVC pipes, 26 PVC connectors, and 130 cable ties.
  • Nearly eight gallons of paint were used on the the 200 square feet of canvas covering the inside and outside of the peach.
  • The dome is modeled after the designs of architect Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) who popularized the geodesic dome as an efficient shape for homes. A dome contains the smallest possible ratio of surface area to volume, making cooling and heating a dome home more than twice as efficient as a standard home.

Now doesn’t that make you want to see it?

James and the Giant Peach will be performed at Trinity-on-Main Performance Center, located at 69 Main Street in downtown New Britain. Performances are Thursday, May 29 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, May 31 at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, June 1 at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $13 for adults and $11 for children, students, and seniors. Tickets may be reserved by calling New Britain Youth Theater at 860-515-8115 or may be purchased online through Brown Paper Tickets.

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