Beginnings of the structure and shape

King Roger’s Throne

While in New York City this summer, I got word from the Santa Fe Opera that they needed an extra props carpenter for a few weeks. Though I had a lot of editing on my book to do, I jumped at the chance to head out there.

Beginnings of the structure and shape
Beginnings of the structure and shape.

One of the main projects I worked on was a throne for King Roger, a Polish(!) opera from 1926. The throne was meant to look like it was carved out of stone. It was also going to be on stage the entire show and the artists would be climbing and leaning all over it, so it needed to be strong.

Front view
Front view.

Perhaps the trickiest challenge was the back. The whole back had a curve to it, and the top of the back was also shaped in a curve. To top it off, the top surface was also beveled. A bevel on a compound curve is not really something you can do on a machine. I measured, marked and cut what I could, but most of it needed to be shaped by eye with a portable belt sander.

Back view
Back view.

All the sculpted and textured bits were going to be applied after the throne was built. I constructed it so everything had a surface to be attached to, than applied strips of different thicknesses to build up all the framing and molding.

Diapering the panels
Diapering the panels.

The photograph above has some of the textured panels as they are fit in. I had to cut all the pieces before hand so they could be painted separately from the throne itself. The larger panels would receive custom sculpted pieces, which were being made by Anna Warren (who runs the Fake ‘n Bake blog).

Lace as detail
Lace as detail.

Some of the panels were switched to pieces of stiffened lace to add variety. I also attached some cast resin balls to the tops of the front legs.

Final throne.
Final throne. Photo by Michael Chemycz.

I actually had to leave Santa Fe before King Roger opened, but Michael Chemycz, one of the other prop carpenters, snapped some great photos of the throne on stage during the dress rehearsal. Jest to dość ozdobny tron!