The San Francisco Free Civic Theater was the domain of a very talented staff member of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, who shrewdly utilized several San Francisco facilities, like the auditorium of the Randall Museum, to present provocative and often steadfastly political plays, while utilizing minimal resources.
For his production of Judgement at Nuremberg, I tweaked a dreadfully sagging folding table into a judge’s bench with black fabric and a Department of Defense shield, I built a representation of a witness box from thin plywood, and I fashioned headphones from plastic headbands, slices of foam pipe insulation, and silver-colored buttons.
A later Free Civic Theater production was a Goth conceptualization of All’s Well That Ends Well. I borrowed a throne from Pocket Opera that had previously been styled to seat Elizabeth I in Roberto Devereux. To the left is the velvet- and gold-embellished throne of the Virgin Queen, and in the center, the fairy tale French king’s black and silver throne, coordinating with a plastic crown from a party supply store that I painted and bejeweled. On the right is a banner, 48″x54″, of machine appliqued paisley brocade and tissue lamé.