While TAP’s productions have been lauded by both critics and audiences from across Wisconsin, the existing facility itself forces numerous compromises which have dramatically limited the ability of our actors, directors, designers, and other artists to realize their full vision for a performance.
The current Studio Theatre lacks wing space, backstage access for actor entrances and exits, and the stage itself is far too small for a theatre of this size. These limitations have forced TAP to compromise its artistic vision. One show that required an actor in a wheelchair to leave the stage in a dramatic fashion was simply impossible to do. The director was forced to alter the ending of the show.
The existing dressing rooms are woefully inadequate. They are little more than a landing area at the top of a flight of stairs, lack proper lighting, and have no bathrooms at all. It is a tribute to the actors’ dedication and loyalty to TAP that they overlook the current state of this situation.
The lack of a costume shop means that TAP’s inventory of costumes is scattered throughout the building, in areas that may not be climate controlled. This creates enormous challenges for costume designers as it is impossible to see the entire inventory when imagining a character’s wardrobe. TAP’s facility compromises the ability of the costume designer to properly realize their vision for the character.
The sets in many of TAP’s productions tend to be minimalistic. However, there are many shows in which the set is a key part of the production. Because TAP does not have a dedicated scene shop, sets are typically built off-site or in the basement. This limits the artist’s vision for the sets, since they must be designed to be portable. Unfortunately, when choosing shows to produce, many are eliminated due to the physical limitations of the space.
Effective lighting, sound, and other special effects should blend so seamlessly into a performance that the audience never even knows that they exist. Unfortunately, too many people who attend TAP performances notice the limitations that the facility imposes on the lighting and sound. Special effects are virtually non-existent because of the lack of proper theatrical technology.