Making a Splash: GDS Builds a Pool

The GDS Swimming and Diving Team is not the only group of students set to don swimsuits and make a splash this school year. The sets crew, under the guidance of new technical director Christal Boyd, is taking on the challenge of designing and constructing a pool for the fall play, Metamorphoses.

Although past set designers and crew heads have not averted from complex schemes, scaffolding a pool requires extensive research ranging from finding chlorine treatments to materials such as water heaters that will prevent the actors from contracting hypothermia. For Metamorphoses, the sets crew’s research is critical for protecting the cast’s health and well-being.

“We have had to do a lot more work before the actual building starts,” explained sets crew co-head and junior Zoe Ferland. “We’ve been stressing for about a month now.”

After the cumulation of the research, there was only one month for the crew to complete construction, a daunting prospect since no one involved in the project had ever taken on a task close to building a pool.

Despite their lack of experience, the crew has yet to encounter any vexing challenges. That said, they have had to surmount some logistical and financial hurdles. One of these obstacles is how to secure the ten tons of water that will be needed nightly to replenish the pool.

“We are probably going to drain and refill it after every show because costume, makeup and sweat will be in it,” commented sets crew co-head and junior Maddie Rapelyea. “We are thinking of using a fire hydrant.”

Additionally, the budget for the set was set to $8,000, but to accommodate the hefty price of the waterproof decking, the crew borrowed a few hundred dollars from the costume crew who had remained under their assigned budget. The production crew relies on a variety of sources for meeting their revenue needs, such as ads, patrons and previous shows, but does not receive any money from the school. All shows are dependent on previous shows, and so while not every production produces a profit, those that do support shows that the Performing Arts Department does not make money from.

Overall, the process has gone smoothly, especially given the recent transition from Will Ley to Christal Boyd as the technical director.

“She’s been a real big support to us, for it is our first time as crew heads,” said Rapelyea.
“She’s helped guide us on the right path and kept us organized and sane.”

Boyd reciprocated the students’ appreciation: “It’s a very democratic process at GDS, and it’s really impressive to see how involved students are in the process and how much responsibility they take.”

In the remaining month leading up to the show, this relationship had time to grow even stronger as the crew began construction of the pool. The sets crew worked diligently through rehearsals and with the help of the performance design class were able to complete what has only a few times before been accomplished within the walls of the GDS black box.

Rapelyea reflected on their imminent accomplishment: “To be able to fully say that we built a waterproof set that could withstand all the shows will be pretty impressive.”

By: Mica Maltzman’20