Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Quartet of Heroes

The set, dressed and ready to go.

This last Friday I went to see the opening of Heroes, and it was fantastic! It was at once hilarious, yet touching, and sometimes tragic as you got to know these French veterans of the first World War. I would like to acknowledge that the finishing touches to the sculpture were not my own. To that end, it was painted by Anita Stewart, the set designer and Portland Stage's Artistic Director, and fixed with a layer of cheesecloth and some paste-type material to preserve it by Chris Hourclé; who also created the set along with Ted Gallant and Chris Reinhardt. And the set looks awesome!

The first scene of the play; the quartet from left to right: 
Philippe (Philip Goodwin), Gustave (Edmond Genest), Henri (Munson Hicks) and Jacques (the dog).

From the moment I was brought onto this project by Andrew Harris, the Production Manager, to the end of it has been a blast. I believe I've clearly been spoiled by having Portland Stage as my first client, because they were so easy to work with and encouraging every step of the way.

Philippe has an interesting quirk.

The dog moved!

I was given the chance to see the play twice, the second time I was invited to go up on stage after the play for a little Q&A session with the audience. I must say, it was quite the honor and a great opportunity for myself professionally to connect a person with the work. I am happy to say that everyone involved and witnessing the play was quite pleased. I am also happy that Jamie Hogan, who helped set me up with this opportunity was in the crowd that day.

Jacques is made of Styrofoam. Gustave had to pretend it was 200lbs of stone. 

I was told that after the first preview of the play audience members were walking by the dog, who is then at the edge of the stage, and reaching out to touch it and find out what Jacques was really made of. If he was actually made of stone, this may not have mattered, but as it was they put him back on his pedestal at the end of the play for future performances.

Jacques is brought in by Gustave for consultation.

The quartet plan their getaway.

During the second half of the play, I really felt the chance to vicariously experience being on stage as the characters, especially Gustave, acknowledge the dog as a member of their quartet and make plans to bring Jacques along on their adventure (though Henri won't have it).

Getting roped up.

Henri reads dog's journal entry to thunderous laughter.

If you take nothing else away from this blog entry, I want it to be this: go see the play, it was fantastic! Seriously... get out to the theater and support some of the amazing arts in Portland next time you get a chance! It'll be worth it.

The play ends on a serene note of hope and inspiration.

My thanks to Chris Hourclé for providing the photography above.


  1. Tom, it was a fantastic production. I'm thrilled your work played a role. Portland Stage is indeed an amazing client. They are a truly intrepid team of visionaries and doers.

  2. Nice work, Tom. A great way to get going. The show was terrific, and your dog was a star! Portland Stage definitely is a magic place to work...